Man jailed for life for killing six people in between driving for Uber

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Man jailed for life for killing six people in between driving for Uber

Jason Dalton admitted shooting eight people in Michigan.


Jason Dalton was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole (Joel Bissel/Kalamazoo Gazette via AP)
Jason Dalton was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole (Joel Bissel/Kalamazoo Gazette via AP)

A man who killed six strangers between picking up rides for Uber has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

Jason Dalton, 48, pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder last month, just as jury selection was about to begin in his trial.

He admitted shooting eight people in three locations in between picking up passengers in Michigan.

After his arrest, police quoted Dalton as saying a “devil figure” on Uber’s app was controlling him on the day of the shootings.

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Emily Lemmer, whose father Rich Smith and brother Tyler, 17, were killed, addresses Dalton (Joel Bissell/Kalamazoo Gazette via AP)

Four women – Barbara Hawthorne, Dorothy “Judy” Brown, Mary Lou Nye and her sister-in-law Mary Jo Nye – were killed in the car park of a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Rich Smith and his 17-year-old son, Tyler Smith, were fatally shot while looking at a pickup truck at a car dealer.

“Living without (them) is impossible,” said Emily Lemmer, the daughter of Mr Smith and sister of Tyler.

Ms Lemmer, who spoke during the hearing, said she was afraid she would “lose more people that I love”, and said she “can’t understand” why Dalton went on a deadly rampage.

She then warned Dalton — sitting nearby with his hands clasped across his stomach: “I would not want to be you, ever, but especially when you meet our maker.”

Abigail Kopf, who was 14 at the time, was shot in the head during the restaurant shooting and survived. Tiana Carruthers was shot and wounded in a residential area.

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Shooting survivor Tiana Carruthers cries after addressing Dalton (Joel Bissel/Kalamazoo Gazette via AP)

“I see pain in your hatred,” Ms Carruthers said to Dalton during the hearing, as she tried to get him to look at her. “… I hate myself for hating you,” she added.

Dalton was deemed competent to stand trial and had dropped an insanity defence just before his trial was scheduled to start. He has not explained why he randomly shot eight people.

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The father-of-two had worked as an insurance adjuster and had no criminal record before the shootings.

Prosecutor Jeff Getting said the question of a motive “haunts us”.

Press Association

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