On the day his trial was set to begin, Christopher McCormack pleaded guilty to a first degree sexual offense. But that doesn't begin to describe the horror of what he did, according to new details released by the Kill Devil Hills Police Department.
In a rare, detailed news release, police described the night McCormack beat his girlfriend so badly that "the first officers on the scene, who knew her from previous encounters, did not recognize her."
That night was over a year and a half ago. Officers have now released photos of the inside of the car, where the horror unfolded.
Police say McCormack began by verbally abusing his girlfriend, then quickly escalated to physical violence.
He drove down Route 158 until he "stopped the car near the entrance of Nags Head Woods, yanked her out of the car, then forced her into the trunk."
He then dragged her to a gated cemetery and threw her down on a tombstone. There, police say, he told her to get used to it because "in about 15 minutes, that's where you'll be."
Instead, police say McCormack beat her for an hour or more. She later told investigators, "I pretty much knew I was going to die."
McCormack then shoved her back in the trunk again and drove to another location in Nags Head Woods where he beat her once more and sexually assaulted her before taking her home.
Horrified neighbors called 911.
Police say the girlfriend, who they simply call "Alexis," to protect her identity, suffered broken bones, cuts to her face, and partial blindness in one eye.
McCormack was sentenced to 26 to 32 years in prison.
Police want this case to serve as a warning for anyone involved in a violent relationship to get help before it spirals out of control.