Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A Michigan manb pleaded guilty Monday against the advice of his attorneys to killing six strangers between picking up passengers as an Uber driver nearly three years ago.
Jason Dalton, 48, was set to stand trial in the slayinhs that took place in three locations in the Kalamazoo, Mich., area on Feb. 20, 2016, ABC News reported. Dalton's attorneys were preparing for jury selection when he decided avoid putting his family through a trial.
Dalton had been charged with six counts of premeditated murder. The shootings took place at Cracker Barrel in Dalton and Seelye Ford and Kia dealerships in Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo County prosecutor Jeff Getting said defendants rarely plead guilty to first-degree murder because it carries a mandatory life in prison. Dalton won't be eligible for parole.
"We're very happy that we're able to reach this resolution," Getting told reporters. "Doing this is what's best for the people of this community, it's what's best for our victims."
Dalton will be sentenced on Feb. 5, during which victims' families can address the court.
The fatalities included sisters-in-law Mary Lou and Mary Jo Nye, who were visiting Cracker Barrel when the shots were fired.
"I'm kind of glad that we didn't have to go through the whole thing. And I thought I'd prepared myself for this in the last three years," Bart Nye, whose mother Mary Lou and aunt Mary Jo died, told WWMT-TV. "But it's still very emotional and very trying."
Robert Reynolds, whose mother, Judy Brown, also was killed during the shooting rampage at Cracker Barrel, said the plea came as a surprise, but also a "huge relief."
"We'll take what we got," Reynolds said. "It's just saving a lot of grief and a lot of unnecessary details that we didn't want to see or hear. Huge relief. Big surprise."
A father and his 18-year-old son were killed at the Kia location.