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Guilty plea in deaths of San Diego teens

SAN DIEGO, April 16 (UPI) -- A convicted sex offender pleaded guilty Friday to the murders of two San Diego County teenage girls in a move to avoid the death penalty.

John Albert Gardner, 31, admitted at a hearing in San Diego that he was responsible for the murders of Chelsea King, 17, of Poway, and Amber DuBois, 14, of Escondido.

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The San Diego Union-Tribune said further details of the plea were not revealed because of a court gag order.

The disappearances of King in February and DuBois last year prompted large-scale searches of northern San Diego County and drew national headlines.

Gardner was arrested shortly after King's body was found in a shallow grave near the jogging trail where she had disappeared a few days earlier. DuBois' remains were discovered March 6, more than a year after she vanished while walking to school.

It was not revealed if Gardner, who had been considered a person of interest in the DuBois case but had not been publicly charged, had told investigators where the missing girls' remains were.

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