Developer C. Paul Roberts was being investigated for alleged cocaine trafficking at the time of his strangulation death Sept. 4, authorities said.

The woman accused of killing Roberts also was involved in the probe, District Attorney Ron Stephens said Monday.Cindy Lee Haithcock, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the Roberts death. She also is charged with conspiring with an unknown person to kill Roberts and with three counts of obtaining money by false pretenses - charges that relate to alleged improprieties with a Roberts bank account.

Roberts, 61, was found dead in his townhouse in Durham. An autopsy indicated that he died of asphyxiation due to strangulation.

In November 1985, Roberts pleaded guilty to dealing in cocaine under a plea arrangement that was to bring him a three-year suspended prison sentence and 75 days in jail followed by three years of probation. He also was ordered under the plea bargain to pay $3,000 in restitution to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In June 1987, he was acquitted on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury resulting from his purchase of property owned by a suspected drug king.

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