Updated:BUTLER, Pa. —
A western Pennsylvania judge has sentenced a New Jersey man to 35 to 80 years in prison for murdering his father and stepmother before claiming they died in a fiery car crash.
Colin Abbott, 42, was sentenced by a Butler County judge Wednesday, a day after entering a surprise no-contest plea bargain to third-degree murder in the June 2011 killings of Kenneth Abbott and his wife, Celeste.
Authorities contend Abbott dismembered the bodies and scattered their charred remains on the family property in Butler County, but told relatives they were burned beyond recognition in a car crash.
"There was never any question that we would have won this, but he's getting life in prison and we saved the taxpayers a lot of money," Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger said.
Prosecutors said the multimillion-dollar estate of Kenneth Abbott, a retired pharmaceutical executive, drove the killings.
Abbott cried as his attorney, Wendy Williams, told the court her client regrets what he has put his family through.
"I met with him on many occasions and he constantly cried. He takes responsibility for his part," Williams said.
Channel 11’s Amy Marcinkiewicz reported that more than 25 friends and family members showed up in court on the victims’ behalf to show support.
“The family accepted this plea. They were happy that they didn’t have to go through a trial and hear all the details about the deaths,” family attorney Tom King said.