EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The suspect in a murder case in Emerald Isle, which took officials to Corpus Christi, Texas to bring him back to face charges, has pled guilty and was sentenced on Monday.

District Attorney Scott Thomas said in a release posted to the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page that Patrick Whitley pled guilty to first-degree murder and first-degree arson in the murder of Carl Eugene Jones Jr. in 2020. Whitley, 28, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Thomas R. Wilson Monday afternoon.

Whitley confessed to the murder of Jones after his arrest, investigators said. Officials said on Jan. 9, 2020, Jones was found shot to death inside a home on Melanie Street in Emerald Isle. Officials said Jones used to work for Whitley.

Whitley was arrested in Corpus Christi, Texas days after Jones’ body was found inside the destroyed home.

A trial began July 11 where a jury was selected and evidence was presented. Thomas said Jones changed his plea to guilty on Monday.

“I appreciate the great work of ADAs Ashley Eatmon, David Spence, Legal Assistant Michelle Gillikin, and the entire prosecution and law enforcement team on this case,” Thomas said in a statement. “Their preparation and presentation led to the defendant pleading guilty prior to the close of the State’s case.

“Our prayers remain with the victim’s family as justice has been achieved in the courtroom in this trial.”