Manning Pleads Guilty In Pink Hill Child's Death

A Lenoir County man, accused of killing and raping a 7-year-old girl two years ago will spend the rest of his life in prison.

John Manning pleaded guilty to first degree murder and first degree sexual offense with a minor in court this morning.

Manning was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of Chastity Sumner.

The body of Sumner was found in a ditch near her Pink Hill home in April 2007.

In court Manning's head hung low as the state read the factual basis of his plea. An assistant district attorney said Manning was the little girl's uncle.

Manning also pleaded guilty to four other counts of first degree sex offense with a minor. Authorities say a polygraph determined Manning had sex offenses with four other children as well.

He was sentenced to 96-118 years for the sex offense counts.

According to Sumner's family, Manning was staying at the home on a temporary basis while he got back on his feet. An autopsy showed the girl was smothered to death.

Prosecutors did not seek death penalty in return for the guilty plea.

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