Durham Murder Suspect Agrees To Plea Deal, Avoids Death
Posted January 21, 2006 1:06 a.m. EST
DURHAM, N.C. — A man accused of killing a Duke University employee agreed to a plea that may have saved his life.
Thomas Pitt faced a possible death sentence for killing Curt Blackman two years ago. He pleaded guilty in court Friday to first-degree murder. Instead of a possible death sentence, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Blackman's family members were allowed to address Pitt in court.
"When I received the call from my mother that my cousin was missing, I felt the range of emotions and immediately prayed for his safety that he would be found alive," said Garth David, Blackman's cousin. "This was not the case as his body was discovered a couple of days later."
Police say Pitt confessed to killing Blackman at a Durham apartment. When Blackman, a Duke University recruiter, did not show up for work May 20, 2004, police searched his apartment where they found him dead.
Investigators say Pitt tied up Blackman, bound him and then stabbed him repeatedly.
Authorities say the two had a relationship, but they will not elaborate on the nature of their relationship.