PUEBLO, Colo. The man accused of killing three people and then setting their home on fire has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.
Reginald and Kim Tuttle, and their daughter Dawn Roderick were found shot to death in their Rye home the day before Thanksgiving last year.
Harry Mapps, a former employee of Reginald Tuttle's trucking company, had been renting a room from the family. He pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder Thursday afternoon.
The judge sentenced Mapps to life in prison without parole. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped arson and theft charges in the case.
11 News Reporter Gina Esposito was in the courtroom Thursday when the judge made that decision. The district attorney decided not to pursue the death penalty for Mapps. This decision was made after talking with the family and getting other advice.
Investigators say they had a strong case against Mapps since the beginning.
"There were many things that linked Mr. Mapps to it. One, the friendship that he had with the families. The fact that we had photo evidence at banks where checks were cashed. The fact that the weapons involved could be linked to Mr. Mapps. There was just an overwhelming case against him," said 10th Judicial District Attorney Jeff Chostner.
In court, family and friends of the victims were in tears. Some got up to read letters to share the pain that they've been going through. One letter said they want Mapps to wither away in prison.
The judge asked Mapps if he wanted to say anything, and he said nothing.
"I think this case is closure not only for the family, but for the community. We prosecuted this case with all these factors in mind. We think the resolution, that we have here today is in the best interest in justice," Chostner said.
When the judge gave Mapps his sentence, he said what he did was quote: "senseless and evil."