EL RENO, Oklahoma (AP) — An Oklahoma man accused in the deaths of his ex-girlfriend and her four children has pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree murder, thus avoiding a death sentence.
Joshua Durcho pleaded guilty today before Canadian County District Judge Gary Miller. Under the terms of the plea deal, 29-year-old Durcho agreed to serve five consecutive life prison sentences without the possibility of parole.
Jury selection for his trial had been set to begin Monday.
Durcho was accused in the January 2009 strangulation deaths of 25-year-old Summer Rust and her children in the family's El Reno apartment. The children were: three-year-old Evynn Garas; four-year-old Teagin Rust; and seven-year-old Kirsten and Autumn Rust.
Prosecutors allege Durcho also sexually abused the seven-year-old girls.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty.