Man gets 45 years for killing Sumter woman

SUMTER, S.C. (AP) — A bartender has been sentenced to 45 years in prison in the stabbing death of a woman after the two met at a Sumter bar.

The Item of Sumter reported that Samuel Henderson submitted an Alford plea to murder on Wednesday in the August 2011 death of 33-year-old Melissa Haley. A defendant in an Alford plea doesn’t admit guilt, but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction.

Henderson says he doesn’t remember what happened to Haley. Prosecutors say she was stabbed six times and left at a state park. Her cellphone was found beside her, the last text message she sent a friend reading “Help” eight minutes after surveillance video shows her leaving with Henderson.

Blood found in Henderson’s truck and on a knife in his home matched Haley’s.