A Michigan man who pleaded guilty last month to killing six strangers between picking up rides for Uber was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole on Monday.
Jason Dalton received the mandatory sentence Tuesday in Kalamazoo County. The surprise guilty plea came ahead of jury selection Jan. 7 — nearly three years after he shot eight people at three locations.
Police quoted Dalton as saying a "devil figure" on Uber's app controlled him. He also said that the app “literally took over his mind and body,” and that it changed colors when it turned evil, according to Michigan Live.
Four women, a man and a 17-year-old boy were killed.
Dalton told a judge last month that he wanted to plead guilty "for quite a while."
Defense attorney Eusebio Solis said he advised Dalton against it but added his 48-year-old client wanted to spare the victims' families more grief.
Prosecuting attorney Jeff Getting said Tuesday that he hopes Dalton never comes back to Kalamazoo.
Prior to Dalton’s sentencing, victims’ relatives made statements to the court.
“That February night [Dalton] threw a pebble into a still lake. … The ripples of that pebble are still felt in every direction, and [are] far reaching” said Laura Hawthorne, the niece of 68-year-old shooting victim Barbara Hawthorne. “He may have taken six lives, but he destroyed countless others.”
Addressing Dalton, who stared ahead and avoided eye contact with anybody in court, Laura Hawthorne called him “nothing but very ugly and dark.”
Jeff Reynolds, the son of victim Dorothy “Judy” Brown, said, “Words can’t describe the shock and horror and the grief around what has happened.” He added: “My mom’s death was a blow like no other. It completely knocked the wind out of me, deflated me to the core.”
“You are nothing but a pile of worthless evil,” Reynolds added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
[Photo: Joel Bissell/Kalamazoo Gazette via AP, Pool, File]
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