Curtis Brinson, 31, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 1999 slaying of Rodney Austin, whom authorities said was a local drug dealer. A kidnapping charge was dropped against him as part of a plea agreement.
Austin's skeletal remains were found Dec. 7, 1999, in some woods off Wilmington Road near Garner by a man walking his dog. Authorities said Austin, who had been reported missing 10 months earlier, had been beaten and taped to a tree.
Brinson, who is serving a federal prison sentence on an unrelated weapons charge, has agreed to testify against others charged in the crime. His sentencing has been put on hold until after those cases are resolved.
Rodney Riggins was charged in Austin's slaying in February 2006, and Andre Walker was charged in December 2006.