CLINTON, N.C. (WNCN) — Nearly three years after the murder of William “Jimmy” Graham, a man has plead guilty to his murder and a judge has imposed a sentence of no less than 23 years in prison.

History of the Case

Graham was 61-years-old when he was reported missing by his family on Dec. 15, 2019.

CBS 17 file photo of Jimmy Graham and his white truck which was also reported missing.

The remains were found by investigators nearly a year later, in November 2020, according to the sheriff’s office. The discovery took place in the Newton Grove area, in a wooded spot on Corbett Road, Lt. Marcus Smith said.

On May 6, 2021, the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office received confirmation from the NC Medical Examiner’s Office that the remains were that of Graham.

As a result, enough probable cause was established for law enforcement to serve a murder warrant to 21-year-old Anthony Corbett, the sheriff’s office said. At that time, Corbett was already being held in federal custody on unrelated charges, a release said.

Guilty Plea and Sentencing

Corbett appeared in court on Thursday morning, bringing a conclusion to the years-long case.

Anthony Corbett booking photo (Sampson County Sheriff’s Office)

Inside a Sampson County Superior courtroom, Corbett officially plead guilty to the murder of Graham, according to the sheriff’s office.

A judge sentenced him to a minimum of 23 years and a maximum of 28 and a half years in prison. At the time of sentencing, Corbett was already serving an unrelated federal sentence for a kidnapping charge, the sheriff’s office confirmed.

As the case reached it’s final stage this week, Sheriff Jimmy Thornton made a statement.

I would like to thank all agencies and the District Attorneys Office for their hard
work in bringing closure and justice in Graham’s murder investigation. It is my
hope this sentencing will bring some closure to Graham family.”

Sampson County Sheriff, Jimmy Thornton

The sheriff also thanked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the NC State Crime Lab, the NC State Medical Examiner’s Office and the NC Governor’s Office for their assistance in the investigation.