Durcho pleads guilty to 5 murder counts
EL RENO, Okla. — Joshua Durcho, an El Reno man accused of killing his girlfriend and her four young children, pleaded guilty Friday to five counts of first-degree murder just two days before his trial was set to begin.
News Channel 4 is learning more about the events that may have led up to the gruesome crime.
Sources close to the case said there is evidence that Durcho sexually abused one of the children, and when his girlfriend confronted him about it, he killed her and her kids.
“Do I want to have to come to court every time he appealed? No,” the children’s grandmother, Crystal Franklin, said. “That’s why I personally agree with what has happened today. I want it done so I can move on and try to pick up the pieces that I can.”
Dodging the death penalty, Joshua Durcho admitted to choking Summer Rust to death and then doing the same to her children.
Prosecutors said, up until last week, Durcho did not take responsibility for the crime.
When he finally did, prosecutors said they met with the victims’ families and worked out a plea agreement.
“First and foremost, it honors the wishes of the victims’ families,” Canadian County District Attorney Mike Fields said. “Secondly, it guarantees that Mr. Durcho will spend the remainder of his life in prison and third it provides a definite and certain ending to an important aspect of this tragedy, and that is the court case.”
Family members also wanted the opportunity to speak with Durcho in a closed-door meeting just before his court appearance Friday.
“I can tell you he told the family members that he doesn’t have any recollection after the first awful moments and was unable to answer any of the questions that people often have,” Durcho’s attorney John Echols said.
“I didn’t ask him any questions; I just asked him to remember the last time we had talked together,” Franklin said. “He sat in Summer’s house and promised me that he would never hurt any of the grandkids or Summer.”
However, not everyone is pleased with the outcome of the case.
Canadian County Sheriff Randall Edwards issued this statement:
“I don’t believe a crime so heinous as the one Durcho is accused of committing should be plead out. Certainly the five victims he is accused of having strangled to death, four of which were babies, did not get to make a plea for their lives. There is overwhelming evidence that shows he committed this horrific act and then ran like the coward he is. I believe he had ought to stand before a jury of his peers so at least if he is found guilty, the death penalty will be, should be, an option.”
Prosecutors said the family agreed to Durcho’s punishment and knew the death penalty would no longer be an option.
Durcho is to serve five life sentences without the possiblility of parole.