Yesterday, Thomas Paolino admitted to killing his ex-girlfriend—concocting a plan to cover it up in the process—and dumping her body in NJ's Pine Barrens. Paolino, a 20-year-old who lived in Staten Island's Tottenville section, has been in custody since being arrested in April 2008 for the murder of Jessica Tush. Though Tush and Paolino had broken up, police suspected that Paolino lured her into his car by offering to drive her to the site where a friend recently died in a car crash. After killing Tush, Paolino used her phone to text one of her friends with "A black man is following me." However, the friend was suspicious, because the text message addressed her by her full name, not a nickname. The Staten Island Advance says Paolino apparently agreed to a plea deal—23.5 years in prison— because of the weight of the evidence. Tush's mother said, "I'm not happy with the 23 and one-half years. He'll only be 39 years old when he can get out," but appreciated the work of NJ prosecutors. She added, "The outcome doesn't change for us. My daughter is dead, so it didn't matter whether we went to trial or not. I just didn't want to see him walking."