Murderer Details Crime to ABC News

"I was trying to ask her if she needed or wanted anything,'' he said, adding, "I am sitting there trying to think. ... 'I am already into this thing,'" he told himself.

"You want the radio on?'' he said he asked asked her.

"Yeah,'' she replied calmly.

"What station?"

Hinton said he recalls Melendi asked for 97.1 FM, a local rock station, and he left to see the movie "Mighty Ducks'' with his niece and nephew and the children's parents.

After the movie, he returned home around 10:30 p.m. to find Melendi where he'd left her. He said he was becoming increasingly frightened about what he'd done.

Hinton said Melendi was calm and cooperative throughout and never once lost control of her emotions, even during the attacks.

"She didn't ever try to scratch -- no hitting," he said. "I kept telling her, 'As soon as I get your car sold or rid of, I will let you go,' and she said 'All right.'''

"I raped her around 11, 11:30, then I started thinking ... what am I going to do?''

He went to bed.

A Murder, Then Church

"About two in the morning, I came out of my bedroom. ... I stood at my bedroom door. ... I saw she was laying there [on the guest room floor]. ... I stood there staring, thinking about how I was going to take her life,'' he said.

He said he noticed the tie rack in his bedroom. He grabbed one and walked into the guest room and stood there, staring down at Melendi.

"She didn't even know I was standing there,'' he said. Hinton said he believed she may have been asleep. "I came over on top of her real quick. ... I took the tie and put it around her neck. ... I think I crossed it, and I strangled her right there.''

"She stopped moving,'' he said. "It happened a lot quicker than I ever thought. ... When it happened that quick, I was so scared. I thought she was unconscious.''

Hinton said he can still remember "as clear as day'' how Melendi's body grew pale and began to stiffen.

He went downstairs. "For an hour and a half, I didn't do nothing but sit on my sofa and walk and pace."

He moved Melendi's body to a rollaway dumpster on the side of his house. Around 6 a.m., he said, he laid her body on a bed of logs and brush and set it on fire with some gas he had in the garage.

It began to rain, and Hinton said he feared the rain would extinguish the fire. He went to a local grocery store and bought more gasoline to fuel the fire.

About 7 a.m. Sunday morning, Hinton called his father and asked to borrow his bow saw. He told his father a tree limb had fallen on his car. His father offered to bring it over, but he said he'd go get it.

"I didn't want him to come and see what I was doing,'' Hinton said. By the time he returned, he said, the fire had completely incinerated Melendi's body.

He went inside, dressed and went to church.

'Coward' Confesses

About 2 p.m., his wife, Michelle, returned home. Terrified she would begin to question his activities over the weekend, he tried to divert her attention.

He took her to an Olive Garden for dinner and gave her one of the two rings he took from Melendi's fingers. He said he claimed to his wife that he had bought the ring from a friend who had recently separated from his fiancée.

"I'm sorry it came off another lady,'' he told his wife. "Don't think of it like that.''

Privately on Monday, Hinton told authorities where he eventually disposed of the second ring.

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