Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Uber driver pleads guilty to killing six people between rides

Uber driver pleads guilty to killing six people between rides

Former Uber driver Jason Dalton pleaded guilty Monday to killing six people during a 2016 shooting spree in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

When defense attorney Eusebio Solis arrived to the Kalamazoo County Courthouse Monday morning, he thought jury selection for his client's trial would continue, he said.

Jason Dalton pleaded guilty to all counts of murder and attempted murder.

Police said Dalton committed the shootings between picking up fares as an Uber driver in the southwestern MI city on February 20, 2016.

A "devil figure" on the Uber app was controlling him during the shootings, he told police after he was arrested, but he was forced to drop the insanity defense after a psychiatric evaluation found him competent to stand trial on Friday.

Even after his guilty plea, prosecutors continue to search for answers on what could possibly have motivated Dalton's heinous acts.

Four women were killed in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant, while a father and his 17-year-old son were fatally shot while looking at a pickup truck in a dealer's lot.

Dalton had previously made freaky outbursts in past court appearances, but was found competent to stand trial.

He faces a mandatory life sentence in prison for each of his first-degree murder convictions.

Dalton's motives remain a mystery.

He claimed he wished to spare the victims' families the agony of a trial, telling a judge "I've wanted to do this for quite a while". Mary Lou Nye, 62, of Baroda, Michigan, was killed along with Dorothy Brown, 74; Barbara Hawthorne, 68, and Mary Jo Nye, 60, all of Battle Creek, Michigan. "I said, 'We've considered that several times and rejected it.' And he wanted to have discussions in private with me".

A 14-year-old girl was shot in the head during the restaurant shooting and survived, while an eighth person was injured in a residential area.

Kalamazoo County prosecutor Jeff Getting claimed Thursday the prosecution had substantial evidence of Dalton's guilt.

"The report also showed there were more than 7.7 million property crimes past year".

"We're very happy that we're able to reach this resolution in the case", Getting said.

After the shootings, Uber said Dalton cleared a background check and was approved to be a driver a month before the killings.

Families are scheduled to return to court for Dalton's sentencing on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

He told investigators the Uber app made him "like a puppet" and that it would "take over your whole body".

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