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story.lead_photo.caption David Houston-Harvey of Jacksonville

A Jacksonville man pleaded guilty Monday to putting a woman's dead body into a suitcase that he left near a central Arkansas lake in August.

Court records show David Houston-Harvey, 24, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after being charged with abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence.

Houston-Harvey's trial was scheduled to begin Friday, but he pleaded guilty at his pretrial hearing in Lonoke County.

Arkansas State Police troopers were notified Aug. 20 that Laramie Cline, a 23-year-old woman reported missing from Dale County in Alabama, was last known to be with Houston-Harvey, according to an affidavit.

The same day, authorities traced Cline's cellphone to the area of Pinnacle Mountain State Park west of Little Rock, the document said. Pulaski County sheriff's deputies went to the park and found Cline's car.

A search of the vehicle revealed a large amount of dried blood in the spare-tire compartment area, authorities said.

State park rangers maintained surveillance on the car, and about 6 p.m. Houston-Harvey came off a hiking trail alone, the document said.

Authorities took Houston-Harvey into custody on outstanding felony warrants from the Jacksonville Police Department, according to the affidavit.

Houston-Harvey, 24, told police that he and Cline had traveled to Colorado and spent several days there, the affidavit said. When they were traveling on an interstate the previous week, he said, Cline tried to rob him with a gun, which resulted in a struggle over the weapon. The gun fired and Cline was shot, according to court records.

Houston-Harvey then placed her body in a suitcase and transported her remains to Arkansas, he told authorities. He led police to the levee of Lake Pickthorne in Holland Bottom Wildlife Management Area north of Jacksonville. Agents recovered a large black suitcase with decomposing human remains inside in a wooded area near the levee.

Arkansas has not charged Houston-Harvey in Cline's death.

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