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Man charged with killing co-worker during hike

A man has been charged in the death of a woman he worked with at a popular North Carolina inn near the state's famed Blue Ridge Parkway. Federal authorities say the body of the woman, who worked as a cook at the inn, was discovered several hours after she was reported missing on July 24. The incident occurred at a time when the area is normally bustling with vacationers and outdoor enthusiasts from across the country.

The nature of the defendant's federal criminal defense strategy isn't clear since he has not given a specific reason for his actions. Initially, the 20-year-old inn employee returned from the hike and told his managers his 29-year-old co-worker had simply gone missing. The next day, however, he confessed to the killing to one of the inn's managers. According to court documents, he told investigators that he has no memory of the incident, claiming he blacked out and awakened to find the lifeless woman.

The cause of death hasn't been disclosed; although, there were reportedly no signs of knife or gun wounds. The inn routinely hires seasonal workers from April through October. Employees work and reside at the inn in dormitory style housing. It's not clear if the two workers involved in this incident shared living quarters. The man who confessed to the killing has been charged with second-degree murder. The maximum for this charge in North Carolina is life in prison.

Even in instances where a defendant confesses to a felony crime, there may be other factors involved. A criminal defense attorney often reviews details of the investigation to determine if there are circumstances that may not have been considered. In some situations, for example, a defendant's mental state at the time of the incident may determine whether or not they can be held legally responsible for their actions.

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Super Lawyers Board Certified Specialist | North Carolina State Bar | Federal / State Criminal Law
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