Penn. man pleads guilty to killing 6 relatives

Suspect Jesse Dee Wise (C) is escorted into district magistrate's office in Leola
Jesse Dee Wise is escorted into the district magistrate's office in Leola, Penn., on April 13, 2006, after being arrested for the murders of six relatives.Tim Shaffer / Reuters file
/ Source: The Associated Press

A man pleaded guilty Friday to six counts of criminal homicide and was sentenced to life in prison for fatally beating and stabbing six family members inside their Pennsylvania home.

At the request of the surviving family members, prosecutors said they agreed not to seek the death penalty against Jesse D. "Jay" Wise, 22, in the April 2006 killings, which occurred at the home the family shared.

In an emotional statement to the court, Wise expressed deep remorse for the killings.

"I committed the crimes I am accused of, and I in no way intend to shirk any of the guilt," he said.

Authorities said Wise confessed to killing his grandmother, two aunts, two cousins and an uncle inside their home. All six bodies, wrapped in sheets and blankets, were found in the basement. The victims ranged in age from 5 to 64.

Elsewhere in the house, police found evidence of the brutality of the deaths — blood on walls and ceilings, bone fragments and a bloody, makeshift metal club.

Wise also wanted to kill his grandfather in New York, authorities have said. But that plot was foiled when his dead grandmother's Mercedes-Benz broke down while he was on the way, police said.

Wise allegedly used the victims' money to go on a shopping spree after they died, and newly purchased clothes were found in his bedroom.

The victims had roots in New York, where Jesse Wise's grandfather Jessie L. Wise operates an excavating business and is active with the Federation of Black Cowboys, a club of urban horse enthusiasts.

Jessie L. Wise has said he moved the family to the quiet of Pennsylvania Dutch country to keep the children away from the bad influences of the city.