FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office says a Fayetteville man will serve 10 to 13 years in prison after he agreed to show investigators where he buried his ex-wife after he shot her to death.
Fayetteville police say Jimmy Proffitt ambushed Heather Carter in a gas station parking lot off Hope Mills Road in July 2017.
Police say Proffitt also shot Carter’s friend, but she was able to drive away and get help.
The friend later died in an unrelated incident.
Police said after the shooting, Proffitt put Carter’s body in his car and drove off.
Investigators say blood was found in his car, and shell casings that matched those on scene were found at his home, so they arrested Proffitt in 2017.
Despite this evidence, they did not have a witness or a body, so the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office decided to make a plea deal with Proffitt to avoid possibly losing in a jury trial.
In exchange for telling investigators where Carter’s body was, the murder charge was dropped and Proffitt pled guilty to lesser charges.
“With no witness and no body, we were very limited of what we could actually prove to the jury,” said Cumberland County Assistant Attorney Rob Thompson.
Carter’s body was found last week near property that her family owned in Robeson County.
With credit for time served, Thompson said Proffitt could be out of prison in about seven years.
“We would like it to be more, but it beats an acquittal and it beats him walking out of the courtroom and jeopardy attaching with no conviction,” Thompson said. “You have to make hard decisions; you have to base them on objective facts, and the law.”
Proffitt has a lengthy criminal history including an arrest for involuntary manslaughter, and for domestic violence crimes against Carter.