Rockingham — Sanford minister Melvin Bynum was scheduled to plead guilty Tuesday to strangling his wife more than two years ago, stuffing her body into the trunk of her car and dumping it in Richmond County.
Authorities found the body of Marnita Bynum, a substitute teacher, in the trunk of her Chrysler Sebring convertible, which had been abandoned on a rural road north of Hamlet, on Aug. 2, 2004.
As part of a plea deal reached with prosecutors, Melvin Bynum was to plead guilty to second-degree murder and received a sentence of five years in prison, according to defense attorney Robert Reives and Marnita Bynum’s mother, Jacquelyn Carter.
Melvin Bynum, the pastor of Cry Out Loud Ministries in Sanford, was originally charged with first-degree murder in the case and could have faced the death penalty if convicted of that charge.
Investigators said marital difficulties were the likely motive in the slaying.
Melvin Bynum filed for divorce in June 2004. The couple had been legally separated since late 2001, but investigators said they continued to live together in Aberdeen.