NEWPORT, Ore. — A man accused of killing his wife and three children and dumping their bodies into coastal waters pleaded guilty Friday in two of the deaths but not guilty in the other two.
The bodies of Christian Longo's family were found in the winter of 2001 in two inlets. The bodies had been stuffed into suitcases and sleeping bags weighted with rocks.
After the deaths, investigators say, Longo went first to San Francisco and then to Mexico on a ticket bought with a stolen credit card number.
He snorkeled and partied in Tulum, a beach resort near Cancun, and reportedly lived with a vacationing German woman who was apparently unaware of his recent past, officials say. He told tourists he worked as a travel journalist.
Longo, 29, admitted killing his wife, MaryJane, 34, and their 2-year-old daughter, Madison. He pleaded not guilty in the deaths of 4-year-old Zachery and 3-year-old Sadie Ann. His trial is scheduled to begin March 10.
Ken Hadley, Christian Longo's defense lawyer, said it was his client's decision to admit to the two killings. Hadley would not say whether he had evidence that would clear Longo of the other two slayings.
Judge Robert Huckleberry warned Longo that he could still receive the death penalty for the slaying of his wife and youngest daughter, as well as in the deaths of the two older children.
In an initial appearance last year, Longo declined to speak, and a judge automatically entered a not guilty plea for him in all four deaths.
Prosecutors could not explain Friday's plea, which they said involved no negotiation with Longo.
Zachery's body was found Dec. 19, floating in an ocean inlet near Waldport. Sadie Ann was found three days later inside a sleeping bag, a pillow case containing a rock tied to her ankle. Divers searching a nearby marina on Dec. 27 found the bodies of MaryJane and Madison, stuffed in two large suitcases.