January 19, 2019

Uber Driver Charged With Killing Six People While On Duty Pleads Guilty

09 January 2019, 05:15 | Darnell Patrick

Kalamazoo shooting suspect Jason Dalton pleads guilty to counts of murder, attempted murder

Former Uber driver pleads guilty for deadly shooting spree instead of going to trial

A former Uber driver who claimed he was being controlled by the app through his mobile phone has pleaded guilty to murdering six people.

Dalton submitted his guilty plea while jury selection was taking place in Kalamazoo County court, where he was standing trial this week, the news agency reported.

Dalton was charged with murder and attempted murder.

He answered "yes" to many questions and admitted that he shot eight people at three separate locations in the Kalamazoo area - an apartment building, a restaurant and a auto dealership - in 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.

Dalton allegedly said no. A short time after that, he open fired on cars parked outside a Cracker Barrel restaurant around 8km from the site of the Kia shooting, killing four additional people and wounding one more as they sat inside their cars.

Jason Dalton faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no chance for parole.

Dalton's motive remains a mystery.

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When asked by the presiding judge whether he was pleading guilty "voluntarily of your own free will", Dalton replied: "Yes".

Instead of heading to trial, Dalton pleaded guilty to killing Richard Smith, 53, and his son Tyler, 17, at a vehicle dealership. "I've wanted this for quite a while".

His wife Carole Dalton told police he warned her on the night of the shootings that they "couldn't go back to work anymore and the kids could not go back to school".

"Everybody wants to know", Kalamazoo county prosecutor Jeff Getting told the Associated Press.

"We're very happy that we're able to reach this resolution in the case", Getting said. He also described something "like an artificial presence", the report said.

Dalton was not expected to plead guilty at the Monday morning hearing, with his lawyer revealing he had advised him against admitting to the mass killing.

Dalton, the father of two children, had worked as an insurance adjuster and had no previous criminal record before the February 2016 shootings.

But he told the judge: "There are personal reasons for him".

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