He took two lives; he’ll spend the rest of his in prison.
Almost two months before he was set to face a jury trial and a possible death sentence, 20-year-old Dylan Alexander McGlothlin pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon to six felony charges in the 2017 shooting deaths of 17-year-old Aidan Dawson and 24-year-old Raymond Rodriguez.
His court appearance was moved up after the defense made an offer that was accepted by the commonwealth and approved by the victims’ families.
Dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, McGlothlin, who was 18 when the slayings occurred, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of using a firearm in commission of a felony and two counts of concealing a body.
He was charged with two counts of capital murder, but the commonwealth reduced those charges on Thursday as part of the plea agreement.
Flanked by his attorneys at the defense table, McGlothlin answered “yes, your honor,” to a series of routine questions asked by the judge.
Family members on both sides packed the courtroom, and at least 14 deputies were on hand to keep order.
In summarizing the prosecution’s evidence, Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Jones said McGlothlin shot the victims and hid their bodies at an abandoned Reed Creek Drive residence. Autopsies showed they were each shot once in the head.
Police located the murder weapon – a .357 Magnum revolver – at McGlothlin’s feet in his car during his arrest.
Jones said DNA on items found in McGlothlin’s residence linked him to the victims, who were found unclothed.
The prosecutor offered no motive for the crimes.
According to earlier accounts, McGlothlin, Dawson, Rodriguez and two of McGlothlin’s co-defendants ---- Jared Stephens of Austinville and Hunter Armbrister of Max Meadows – were riding around together before the shootings. Stephens, who later led police to the bodies, said McGlothlin shot Dawson and Rodriguez after pretending to make a drug deal at the residence.
Held at the New River Valley Regional Jail, Stephens and Armbrister are also awaiting trial in the slayings.
Asked on Wednesday if he wanted to make a statement before sentencing, McGlothlin apologized to the victims’ family and friends.
“It was never meant to go down like that,” he said.
As part of the plea agreement, McGlothlin was sentenced to serve two life terms plus 16 years in prison.
He also agreed to cooperate with investigators, who were interviewing him on Wednesday in preparation for the possible trials of the co-defendants.
Talking about Wednesday’s plea deal after the hearing, Jones said he had two main concerns –the wishes of the family members and the community’s safety.
“He will spend the rest of his life behind bars satisfying that concern,” he said.
Jeffrey Simmons can be reached at 228-6611, extension 19, or firstname.lastname@example.org.