A Phoenix man with a history of domestic-violence-by-biting pleaded guilty late last week to the 2011 murder of his girlfriend, whose body was found beaten and bitten in a pickup truck.
Paul Hamilton pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, as well as kidnapping and threatening, as police said at the time that Hamilton forced another woman to drive around with Stephanie Joyce's body.
Police were called to a broken-down pickup truck at a convenience store at 2740 West Northern Avenue early on May 24, 2011, thanks to a suspicious passerby.
Hamilton apparently had gotten out of the truck and forced the woman to drive down the street to get gas, but the truck wouldn't start after she filled up, and she flagged down that passerby.
The passerby thought he saw a body in the truck, but the woman assured him that Joyce was just passed-out drunk.
That woman ended up abandoning the truck there, and the passerby called the cops.
The woman, who lived with Hamilton and Joyce, eventually told police what happened -- that she'd heard Hamilton and Joyce arguing, and Hamilton later came to her and said that Joyce was dead.
Police found that Joyce had been killed by blunt-force injuries.
Police also noticed Hamilton's history of domestic violence -- in one case, the victim had bruising all over her face and body, as well as a bite mark on her stomach.
Joyce's body had similar injuries, and police said one of Joyce's nipples had been bitten off.
Detectives determined Joyce's injuries were consistent with sexual abuse, but Hamilton insisted they were the result of consensual sex.
He denied killing Joyce at the time, but now he's pleaded guilty in the case.
Hamilton's sentencing is scheduled for April 19.
James King contributed to this post.
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