A reputed white supremacist with a long criminal record pleaded guilty on Friday to killing one person and wounding five others in a Phoenix-area shooting rampage last year that began in a motel and ended hours later with his capture at a vacant condominium.
Ryan Elliott Giroux, 42, entered the plea to all 23 charges against him, including murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault, during a hearing in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, court officials said.
Giroux faces life in prison when he is sentenced on June 10, county attorney spokesman Jerry Cobb said, adding that the plea was not part of a deal with prosecutors.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charges in March 2015.
Defense lawyer Pam Nicholson said her client wanted to take responsibility for his actions. “He wanted to spare the victims and his own family the emotional trauma of a trial,” she said in a phone interview.
Authorities said Giroux started the shooting spree for an unknown reason at the motel in Mesa, Arizona, killing David James Williams, 29, and wounding Williams’ mother and another woman. He ran to a nearby bistro, wounding a student, and fled in a stolen car, police said. He then shot two men at separate apartment complexes.
The rampage ended four hours later when police SWAT team members used a stun gun to subdue and arrest Giroux at a condominium where he sought refuge.
Giroux, a transient with suspected hate group ties, had an extensive criminal background and served several stints in Arizona prisons. Prison records show he was most recently released in October 2013 after spending more than six years for attempted aggravated assault.
(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Richard Chang)