Prosecutors say Jerome Montgomery, 32, gunned down Jammie Street outside the St. Augusta Missionary Baptist Church in Fuquay-Varina on the morning of October 7, 2009.
Montgomery plead guilty to second degree murder as part of a plea deal Monday and before learning his sentence, he apologized to the victim's family for the pain he caused them.
"If I could take it back I would, I'd rather it be me than her," he said.
Street had just called 911 about Montgomery after dropping off her two oldest children at the before-and-after school care center. She had planned to take her youngest child to a nearby daycare.
Montgomery is the father of that child.
Street's family sobbed and Montgomery hid his face, as authorities played in court the 911 call that captured the final moments of Street's life.
Records show the couple had a rocky relationship and Montgomery had been previously accused of domestic violence.
Relatives said Street and Montgomery were separated at the time of the shooting, and he was upset about it.
Those closest to Street said they have forgiven Montgomery, but asked the judge for justice.
"We don't hate, but we just hate what he did," Street's cousin said.
"He should never step back foot on the streets, especially not while his child is still around, because his child can never see his mother again," a Street family friend said. "I don't think a slap on the wrist is what he deserves. I think you should give him whatever the law allows, the maximum. I really feel that he need it."
A judge sentenced Montgomery to a maximum of 24-and-a-half years in prison. He was transferred to central prison, after the sentencing.