Local News

Camp Lejeune Marine pleads guilty to killing wife

Posted September 13, 2010 9:04 p.m. EDT
Updated September 14, 2010 6:26 p.m. EDT

— Camp Lejeune Marine Cpl. John Wimunc pleaded guilty Monday to killing his wife two years ago, Cumberland County District Attorney Ed Grannis said.

The charred remains of Holley Wimunc, 24, a nurse at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, were found July 13, 2008, in a shallow grave in a wooded area near Camp Lejeune. Her apartment in Fayetteville was found ablaze three days earlier, and she was nowhere to be found.

An autopsy determined that she had been shot and dismembered before her remains were burned and wrapped in an air mattress.

John Wimunc, 23, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, second-degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson in his wife's death. In exchange for the plea, he avoided the possibility of a death sentence. He will serve the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole, Grannis told WRAL News.

Holley Wimunc's father, Jesse James, said Tuesday that he preferred the case being resolved through a plea deal than having to endure a capital trial.

"Those things go on endlessly, with endless appeals and opportunities to be overturned," James said from his home in Iowa. "This, at least, closes out the legal aspect of this tragedy with him going to prison for life."

The slaying created "a wide wake" and destroyed many lives, James said, noting he hears the anguish in the voice of John Wimunc's father whenever the two speak to each other.

Marine Lance Cpl. Kyle Alden, 22, still faces charges of being an accessory after the fact of a felony, second-degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson in the case.