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KALAMAZOO, Mich. - A Michigan man and former Uber driver accused of killing six and injuring two in a February 2016 shooting spree has pleaded guilty to all charges brought against him.
Jason Dalton, 48, pleaded guilty Monday to six counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and several felony firearms charges. The guilty plea came before attorneys were to begin voir dire -- a process of questioning jury members -- in a trial expected to last several weeks.
There was no sentencing agreement tied to Dalton’s guilty pleas, Kalamazoo County Assistant Prosecutor Jeff Williams told MLive.com. Each count of first-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
Dalton is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 5.
On Friday, Dalton's defense attorney said an independent forensic evaluation determined that Dalton failed to meet the legal requirements for an insanity defense.
Police said Dalton is the only suspect in a shooting rampage that occurred Feb. 20, 2016 in Kalamazoo. Dalton, who worked as an Uber driver, told police the Uber app “literally took over his mind and body” on the day of the shooting when the color of the app’s symbol changed from red to black. He told police the app symbol changed colors when he spoke the name of the Eastern Star symbol, MLive.com reported.
Dalton shot a 25-year-old woman in an apartment parking lot, injuring but not killing her. He later shot and killed 53-year-old Rich Smith and 17-year-old Tyler Smith just after 10 p.m. in a car dealership parking lot. Shortly thereafter, Dalton traveled to a Cracker Barrel where he shot and killed four women in the parking lot -- 62-year-old Mary Lou Nye, 60-year-old Mary Jo Nye, 74-year-old Dorothy Brown and 68-year-old Barbara Hawthorne. A 14-year-old girl was injured but survived.
Police said Dalton picked up Uber rides in between the shootings.