MEDFORD, Ore. — The man accused of one of the worst mass murders in Oregon history changed his plea in court on Tuesday.
Jordan Criado denies killing his four children in 2011, but says the prosecution could likely prove it in court. So, Criado changed his plea to “guilty by Alford plea” in the aggravated murders of his wife and four children, meaning Criado does not admit to the crimes but says he would likely be convicted at trial.
It’s been nearly two years since Jordan Criado was arrested for the murders of his wife and four young children. In court on Tuesday afternoon, Criado was set to change his plea, and he spoke openly for the first time about his side of the story. An emotional Jordan Criadio repeatedly denied killing his four children in July 2011
“My babies, my babies, sir! I did not kill my babies,” Criado exclaimed in court. “I did not kill my son, sir. Those are my babies.”
He said his wife Tabasha did it before he killed her.
“I killed my wife because she killed my babies,” Criado said. “My Elijah, my Isacc, my Andrew, my Aurora. My babies, my princess, my life. They were my life.”
Prosecutors, however, said that goes against all the evidence.
“That has been what he has said pretty much all along, but as the judge said, the evidence is pretty overwhelming,” said District Attorney Beth Heckert.
Criado entered an Alford guilty plea to five counts of aggravated murder and one count of arson.
“[The Alford guilty plea is] a legal way of pleading guilty without admitting you did the crimes,” Heckert explained.
Those involved in the case for the last two years, police, firefighters, and prosecutors, they hope they can put it all behind them.
“It’s definitely one of the hardest cases I’ve ever handled,” said the District Attorney.
“Thank God these cases don’t come around, hopefully they never come around again, but we’re not the same,” said Medford Police Chief Tim George. “You’re never going to get over it, you’ve just got to get on with it.”
Tabasha’s father did not speak on camera at the hearing, but prosecutors said Tuesday’s result is something the family was hoping for.
“The family was never in favor of the death penalty,” Heckert said.
Criado’s sentencing is scheduled for April 15th. Prosecutors said he is likely to receive life in prison without the possibility of parole.