Man pleads guilty in 1999 Tuscaloosa killing

Arrest

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A Tuscaloosa man jailed in the 1999 slaying of a 21-year-old Tuscaloosa woman has pleaded guilty to murder, finally resolving the cold case crime.

Authorities say 40-year-old Eric Harton entered the plea Monday.

The Tuscaloosa News reports that Harton had been charged with capital murder. By pleading guilty to a reduced charge of felony murder, he avoided a trial and possible death sentence.

Harton will serve life in prison for killing Stephanie Collins in 1999.

Tuscaloosa police say a big break in the case came in 2009, when Harton was found at St. Clair Correctional Facility serving time on drug charges. A grand jury issued a capital murder indictment against him last month in the killing of Collins. She was found dead on Moody Swamp Road in west Tuscaloosa in September 1999.

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Information from: The Tuscaloosa News

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