KALAMAZOO, Mich. (FOX 2) - The man charged with killing six people in Kalamazoo nearly three years ago pleaded guilty to all charges Monday.
Per FOX 17, Jason Dalton was accused of shooting eight people in February 2016 while picking up riders for Uber in three locations in the Kalamazoo area. Police said he fatally shot four people outside a restaurant and a father and son at a car dealership in between driving people for Uber, while two people survived the shootings.
Dalton was in court Monday morning, a day ahead of his trial for the murder of those six people and injuring two others. Monday would have been the second day of jury selection for his trial, which was expected to last weeks.
Last week, Dalton's lawyer withdrew a 2016 motion that would have permitted Dalton to use insanity as a defense.
Instead of heading to trial, Dalton pleaded guilty to killing Richard Smith, 53, and his son Tyler, 17, at a car dealership. He also pleaded guilty to killing Dorothy Brown, 74, Mary Jo Nye, 60, Barbara Hawthorne, 68, and Mary Lou Nye, 62 in a Cracker Barrel parking lot. Lastly he pleaded guilty to attempted murder for shooting 14-year-old Abby Kopf, who was critically hurt at the restaurant and underwent several surgeries, and Tianna Carruthers, who was shot in a Richland Township apartment parking lot, but was able to recover.
As he entered his guilty pleas, he told the court: “I’ve wanted to do this for quite a while."
Officials said he did not know the victims, and quoted Dalton as saying a "devil figure" on Uber's app was controlling him. According to a police report, Dalton told authorities, "it feels like it is coming from the phone itself" and he didn't know how to describe that. He also described something "like an artificial presence," the report said.
Dalton's wife had told investigators he warned her the night of the shootings that she wouldn't be able to return to work and their children couldn't go back to school -- and she'd understand everything by watching TV news, police reports said. Carole Dalton told investigators she was stumped by what her husband said. At that time, the first shooting had already occurred. Dalton later told police he doesn't remember telling anyone to watch the news.
Dalton did tell investigators that he owned quite a few guns.
"Dalton proceeded to tell us that he couldn't imagine when he had bought them all that he would use them in this manner," according to the report. "Dalton then said that is why he is trying to tell us it is like an artificial presence."
Dalton had been in custody since the shootings and underwent mental evaluations. He was found competent to stand trial, but he's made bizarre outbursts at past court appearances. That included interrupting Carruthers' testimony in May 2016 and being restrained and taken out of the courtroom by court deputies.
Dalton is a father of two, and a former insurance adjuster and Uber driver.
A sentencing hearing was scheduled for February 5.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.