Richard Michael Guin, 30, entered the plea on Monday to avoid a trial in the Jan. 25, 2004, murder of Parbhubhari C. Patel. Guin could have faced the death penalty had the case gone to trial.
Guin's girlfriend at the time of Patel's murder, April Marie Britt, of Maxton, had already pled guilty to second-degree murder in Patel's killing. Britt, an exotic dancer in the Fayetteville area, agreed to testify against Guin. She will be sentenced in January.
Assistant District Attorney Stan Todd said Guin confessed to luring Patel to his room at the Sands Motel and beating him to death with a tire iron. About $200 was stolen during the robbery.
“Mr. Patel evidently was making noise struggling, and Guin continued beating him because he was afraid he might alert the people in the next room,” Todd said. “They got his keys and went up to his office and robbed the office. Mr. Patel's wife was sleeping nearby in an office when Guin walked by and robbed the office. She was lucky because if she had woken up she might've been killed.”
Guin and Britt were arrested about three months later in front of the same motel after they allegedly stole gas from a Laurinburg convenience store.
Guin's defense lawyers Woodberry Bowen and Sue Berry could not be reached for comment.
Patel, who lived at the motel, had managed the business for about eight months. Patel's murder was the first in Rowland since 1988, when two managers of the Rowland Motel, Timothy Oxendine and Roger Strickland, were killed.
Daniel Gardner pled guilty in 1993 to the murders and is one death row, but earlier this year he appealed his conviction, arguing he was given bad advice by his lawyers.
Gardner was a sergeant in the U.S. Army when the murders occurred. Dana Denise Adams, a stripper at a nightclub in Fayetteville at the time, accepted a plea bargain and was convicted of accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.