A Catawba man accused of a 2012 murder pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder and other charges as his trial was set to begin.
Jermaine Wilkes, 36, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, concealing/failing to report a death and burning personal property in the death of Brianne Mary Ginty, 22.
A judge in Catawba County Superior Court sentenced Wilkes to serve 20 to 26 years years in prison.
Firefighters responding to a fire on June 7, 2012, found skeletal remains inside a smoldering vehicle. DNA samples and her parents confirmed Ginty’s identity.
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Wilkes at first denied wrongdoing, prosecutors said, but later admitted that he had moved Ginty’s body to the wooded area and burned it after she allegedly fell and hit her head when he struck her.
Wilkes, in a statement he read before he was sentenced, said “I wish I had handled things differently,” according to prosecutors.