The 19-year-old Belmont County man who was about to stand trial for the murders of his father and stepmother entered guilty pleas to both killings.
Okie Barton III told the judge Thursday morning through his lawyer that he committed the murders.
48-year-old Okie Barton Junior and 45-year-old Lou Ann Barton of Garrett Hill Road near Glencoe were found shot to death in their home last November 9.
Their son, a college student at Ohio University Eastern at the time, has been in jail ever since.
“I will therefore accept his guilty pleas and find him guilty of the offenses of aggravated murder in Count One in violation of 290301A and Count Two of aggravated murder in violation of that same code section,” said Judge John Vavra.
“It’s a tragedy. To say what one thing that triggered it, it’s kind of hard to pinpoint. It’s a totality of several things,” said Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas.
Officials have said it was a domestic argument that got out of hand, but the exact motive was never revealed. They were shot with a 45-caliber automatic pistol.
Okie Barton III called 911 from a neighbor’s house afterward. He has been in the Belmont County Jail, under $2 million bond.
He could spend life in prison with the eligibility of parole after 30 years.
His sentencing is set for August 8.