MANTEO, N.C. (WAVY) — A man pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in connection to the 2020 death of a Kitty Hawk woman.

32-year-old John Curtis Tolson, who had been charged with second-degree murder in the case, entered a plea on the fourth day of his trial, District Attorney Jeff Cruden announced Friday.

“My office, with the assistance from the Kitty Hawk Police Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, worked tirelessly on this case to give the jury the information they would need to convict Mr. Tolson,” Cruden said. “After the third day of trial, the possibility of a plea to voluntary manslaughter was discussed with the family. If the family had not agreed to the plea, we would have continued the trial to verdict. Only after each family member expressed their desire to resolve the case by plea was the offer extended to the defendant.”

Judge Jeffrey Foster sentenced Tolson to 56 to 80 months in state prison, which was within the guidelines for the level of felony and prior record level of the defendant, Cruden said.

LeeAnn Fletcher

The victim, LeeAnn Fletcher, was found unresponsive in a bathtub at her home in July 2020 and died three days later at the hospital. After the medical examiner ruled her cause of death was “complications of blunt force trauma to the head with hepatic cirrhosis with clinical hepatic failure contributing,” Cruden said his office authorized Tolson’s arrest.