Iowa teenager Ethan Orton pleaded guilty Monday to killing his parents in a disturbing 2021 attack.
Orton, now 18, admitted to fatally stabbing his father, 42-year-old Casey Arthur Orton, and his mother, 41-year-old Misty Scott-Slade, at their Cedar Rapids home on Oct. 14, 2021.
Police said Orton confessed at the gruesome scene, telling officers he wanted to “take charge of his life.” He was immediately charged as an adult.
Orton told investigators that he first stabbed both his parents with a knife, then attacked his mother with an ax when she appeared to survive the initial assault.
Defense attorneys argued that Orton was not competent to stand trial. The back-and-forth over the teen’s mental fitness delayed his case for months.
A judge ultimately ruled that Orton was mentally capable. Orton’s attorneys requested and were granted a lengthy delay in proceedings in February 2022. Jury selection for the trial was scheduled to start Tuesday, according to local CBS affiliate KGAN.
However, Orton formally pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder. His sentencing date was not immediately set.
Orton is one of two young Iowa men who have been found guilty this year of killing their parents. Alex Jackson, now 22, was convicted in January of fatally shooting his father, mother and sister at their family home in Cedar Rapids.
Unlike Orton, Jackson had claimed an intruder broke into the home and attacked his family. Police didn’t buy it. Jackson’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Friday.