Man pleads guilty to killing Phaba Lemon and torching her home

A Lizella woman's boyfriend pleaded guilty today to killing her and burning her home, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Herbert Hart Jr., 36, will serve a life sentence for the February 2007 killing of 39-year-old Phaba LaDon Hollingshed Lemon, said Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Bobbitt.

Hart pleaded guilty to malice murder, arson in the first degree and criminal attempt to commit murder, Bobbitt said. Hart received a life sentence for the killing and an additional 30 years of probation for the arson and criminal attempt to commit murder, she said.

"He's gone to prison for life, basically," she said.

An attorney for Hart could not immediately be reached for comment.

Hart was accused of beating Lemon to death Feb. 21, 2007, and then burning her home on Ruby Lane. Lemon, the mother of former University of Georgia football player Michael Lemon, died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Her other son, Marquez Lemon, who was 15 at the time of his mother's death, escaped the fire after a Telegraph newspaper carrier saw the flames and alerted him to the blaze.

Information from The Telegraph's archives was used in this report.

For more on this story, come back to and read Friday's Telegraph.