Jeffrey Gist pleaded guilty Thursday in the death of his stepdaughter, Mylin Bullock.
In March, fishermen found Bullock's partially burned body in a parking lot along the bank of the Eno River.
Investigators said Gist admitted to choking the teen during a taped interview. Court records indicated he also told investigators he and Bullock had an argument the night before she was reported missing.
Bullock's mother reported her missing from their home on the morning of March 21, the same day her body was discovered.