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Greenwood man sentenced to 19 years in prison for strangling woman in crawlspace of house


GREENWOOD, South Carolina — A Greenwood man has been offered a plea deal in the strangulation death of a woman just before jurors were sworn in for his murder trial.

The Index-Journal of Greenwood ( ) reported that the judge told jurors that prosecutors found additional evidence just before the trial and decided to make the deal based on the new information.

Forty-nine-year-old Jermel Tompkins pleaded guilty Tuesday to voluntary manslaughter. Tompkins was sentenced to 19 years in prison. He would have faced 30 years to life in prison if convicted of murder.

Authorities say Tompkins strangled 38-year-old Erica Wideman in the crawlspace under an abandoned home in Greenwood in February 2012.

Prosecutor David Stumbo says his office rarely offers deals just before trial, but thought it was the right thing to do.

Information from: The Index-Journal,

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