SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - In an unexpected move, accused triple murderer Wayne Kubsch pleaded guilty to two counts of murder Monday morning in a St. Joseph County courtroom.
The plea agreement calls for Kubsch to plead guilty to two of the three murder counts he faced and to serve a sentence of life in prison without parole.
Kubsch, of Mishawaka, is accused of killing his wife, her ex-husband and their 10-year-old child in September 1998. He fought the charges for more than 20 years only to be convicted at two previous trials.
Money was the alleged motive in the case. Kubsch was heavily mortgaged on some rental properties and took out a $575,000 life insurance policy on his wife, Beth Kubsch, about two months before she was murdered in Mishawaka, along with her ex-husband, Rick Milewski, and 10-year-old Aaron Milewski.
A dispositional hearing was requested for Monday morning in Kubsch's third trial, and NewsCenter 16 was told ahead of time the hearing could impact jury selection, which was also set to begin Monday.
In September, prosecutors decided to no longer seek the death penalty.
"We can't speak really to what his state of mind would be on this," Chief Deputy Prosecutor Eric Tamashasky said. "We were ready for trial. We were ready to begin jury selection today, so the state was prepared and did what we had to do. I think we're pleased, on behalf of the family, that there's a resolution that we got this morning, versus going what we had planned to do. So, I can't speculate as to where his head was or what the last 20 years means. What we're concerned about, what we were going to do going forward, we have a resolution to a case that's been basically pending since 1998, and the resolution is the maximum sentence."
While the plea agreement calls for Kubsch to plead guilty to the murders of Beth Kubsch and Rick Milewski, it does not call for a guilty plea in the murder of Aaron Milewski.
“The absence of Aaron Milewski in this case, as far as being mentioned in the plea, was something that we had to talk [with the family about], and that ultimately was resolved in favor of obtaining a life without parole sentence,” Chief Deputy Prosecutor Christopher Fronk said.
“Life without parole means life without parole,” Tamashasky added. “There’s no chance of him going free. There’s no chance of him being released and the sentence, if the judge were to accept this on March 8, the sentence that he would receive is the exact same sentence he would get if he had been convicted at trial a third time.”
Kubsch will be back in court in March when a judge will decide whether to accept or reject the plea agreement.