COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — An Army artillery officer who planned to argue his twin brother was responsible for sexual assaults involving young girls in Colorado has changed his story and pleaded guilty to the charges Tuesday.
A trial had been scheduled for January, but the plea means 1st Lt. Aaron Lucas faces 20 years to life in prison at a sentencing scheduled for February.
According to The Gazette (http://goo.gl/tVB28t ), Lucas' attorney, Ted McClintock, says his client "wanted to do the right thing."
"He loves his family. He doesn't want to create problems for them," McClintock said.
Lucas' relatives were not at the hearing.
Lucas, 32, pleaded guilty to nine cases in El Paso County between 2009 and 2012 involving girls aged 4 to 10. The charges ranged from indecent exposure to kidnapping and rape. Authorities said most of the victims were approached near their homes or as they walked home from school. The assailant wore military fatigues, authorities said.
Prosecutors called Lucas' plan to blame his twin brother a legal "Hail Mary."
"Looking at the evidence, it really was the only thing they could have argued," said prosecutor Kelson Castain.
Investigators said a DNA test linked Lucas to the abduction of an 8-year-old girl in Colorado Springs and that he also matched biological material recovered in cases in Alabama and Texas.
Prosecutors also said they had evidence that the twin, Brian Frederick Lucas, wasn't in any of the states in question when the crimes were committed.
As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped additional charges that Lucas had faced, and he agreed to not fight his extradition to Texas for a 2009 case. Alabama authorities agreed not to pursue charges for a 2007 case.
Earlier this month, when Lucas was still contesting the charges, a judge had agreed to allow his attorneys to present his twin as an alternate suspect.
"Certainly there's been stress on the family," McClintock said. "But they still love and support him."
Information from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com