Roanoke Rapids, N.C. — A Roanoke Rapids man pleaded guilty Friday to killing the manager of an Applebee's restaurant during a robbery three years ago.
Joshua Lindell Rouse, 25, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole, Halifax County District Attorney Melissa Pelfrey said.
Prosecutors had planned to seek the death penalty against Rouse if the case had gone to trial.
A co-worker found Sandy Denise Riedel, 29, dead on June 15, 2009, inside the Applebee's she managed at 210 Premier Blvd. in Roanoke Rapids.
Police said Riedel, who had gone to work early to open the restaurant, had been stabbed and that an undisclosed amount of money had been taken.
Rouse worked at the restaurant at the time of killing, Riedel's sister said after his arrest.
According to state Division of Adult Correction records, Rouse served more than four years after being convicted of attempted armed robbery and assault charges in Halifax County. He was released in May 2008 and was on parole until February 2009.