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Durham man gets life sentence for 2007 murder

PITTSBORO — Louis Ephraim Wilson III will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty today to killing a Chatham woman whose bruised and beaten body was found in her home in 2007.

Wilson, 31, pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of Tracy Lynn Baldwin, 38, who police found dead and mostly naked, tied up with fishing line in her bedroom.

A sheriff’s deputy found the body after Baldwin’s mother called 911 and said she hadn’t spoken to her daughter for about a week.

Prosecutors contend that Wilson and Baldwin knew each other from Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Wilson somehow gained access to Baldwin’s ATM card, stole her money to buy crack cocaine and eventually raped and then beat Baldwin to death with a baseball bat, prosecutors said.

Wilson’s defense team said the defendant was mentally ill and addicted to crack cocaine. In court, Wilson disputed the prosecutor’s contention that there was a violent struggle before the murder.

Baldwin’s mother, Lynn Hill, said she has been waiting nearly three years for justice.

“I have waited so long for this,” Hill said, “This feeling that he can never harm another person as long as he lives.”