BEDFORD, Va. (AP) — A Virginia judge has ruled that prosecutors may seek the death penalty against a man accused of killing two young Maryland sisters who disappeared more than 40 years ago.
News outlets report that Bedford County Circuit Judge James Updike Jr. denied a motion on Tuesday by Lloyd Lee Welch Jr.'s attorneys to rule out the death penalty ahead of Welch's first-degree murder trial in April.
The defense said Virginia didn't allow capital punishment when 12-year-old Sheila Lyon and 10-year-old Katherine Lyon disappeared in 1975, but the judge ruled that wasn't the case.
Updike also found that Welch breached his 2013 immunity agreement with Maryland prosecutors by changing his story several times.
The sisters were last seen walking to a mall in Washington's Maryland suburbs. Their bodies have never been found.