A former Uber driver has admitted to shooting eight people, killing six of them, all of whom he targeted in between fares.
Jason Dalton, 48, pleaded guilty Monday to killing six people just one day before his murder trial was set to begin, the Associated Press reports. The victims were all shot in the Kalamazoo area of Michigan in February 2016.
Not long after his arrest, Dalton claimed the Uber app had turned him into Satan’s “puppet,” and that a demonic figure sent him messages through the app about who he should kill. In fact, he told detectives that the app “literally took over his mind and body” and that it changed color when it became evil, according to MLive.
The victims were strangers, shot at random, and Dalton attacked them in between picking up and dropping off customers. Dalton fatally shot Tiana Carruthers, 25, in the parking lot of an apartment complex the same day he shot and killed father and son Rich Smith, 53, and Tyler Smith, 17, in the parking lot of a car dealership, according to MLive. He also targeted a Cracker Barrel parking lot where he shot four women and a 14-year-old girl: Mary Lou Nye, 62, Mary Jo Nye, 60, Dorothy “Judy” Brown, 74, and Barbara Hawthorne, 68 and Abigail Kopf. Kopf and Carruthers survived.
“I’ve wanted to do this for quite a while,” Dalton told Kalamazoo County Circuit Court Judge Alexander Lipsey in court on Monday before pleading guilty to six counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
The guilty plea has been described as a surprising turn in the case.
Dalton's attorney, Eusebio Solis, decided a few days ago to not pursue an insanity defense, according to Fox17 in Eastern Michigan.
He reportedly advised Dalton not to plead guilty but ultimately Dalton decided to spare the victims’ families more trauma by deciding to not have a trial.
Dalton now faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
[Photo: Getty Images]
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