- Associated Press - Thursday, June 29, 2017

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina man has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of a woman whose body has never been found.

The New Hanover County jury handed down the verdict Thursday in the trial of 54-year-old James Opelton Bradley. He was charged in the death of Shannon Rippy Van Newkirk, who was reported missing after failing to show up for her birthday party in April 2014.

Bradley was charged with first-degree murder after Wilmington police detectives found a woman’s nude and bound body from a shallow grave in a Pender County farm field. The body turned out to be that of another woman who had been missing since August 2013.

Bradley was sentenced to a maximum of 37½ years in prison. His attorneys said they would appeal.

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