El Reno Man Accused Of Killing Family Accepts Plea Deal

Friday, September 14th 2012, 12:37 pm
By: News 9

Joshua Durcho, the El Reno man accused of killing a woman and her four children, agreed to a plea deal with Canadian County prosecutors that will keep him off death row.

Durcho pleaded guilty to all five murders in exchange for five life sentences without the possibility of parole. As part of the deal, prosecutors took the death penalty off the table.

Investigators say Durcho killed 25-year-old Summer Rust, 3-year-old Evynn Garas, 4-year-old Teagin Rust, and 7-year-old twins Kirsten and Autumn Rust in January 2009. Their bodies were found in the family's El Reno apartment. Autopsies determined they were strangled.

Read more about the murders and case against Joshua Durcho

Prosecutors sought the death penalty in the case, but Durcho's attorneys tried to argue he was mentally retarded. Oklahoma law prohibits the death sentence for anyone with an I.Q. below 70.

In August of this year, a Canadian County judge determined Durcho was not mentally retarded and was therefore eligible for the death penalty. His murder trial was scheduled to begin Monday, September 17, but during a hearing Friday morning, Durcho entered his guilty plea.

9/4/2012 Related Story: Hearing Set In El Reno For Man Charged In 5 Killings

As part of the plea deal, Durcho also had to meet with the victims' family and waive his right to appeal the sentence.