Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, March 19 2013 at 7:54 PM, Updated: Tue, March 19 2013 at 9:01 PM
It was a shocking development in Medford's 10th Street tragedy, where a mother and four young children were murdered and their house set on fire almost two years ago. The father and husband, Jordan Criado admitted to killing his wife but claimed she is the one who murdered their four children...all while sobbing, pounding his chest and accepting a guilty plea.
It was an emotional scene Tuesday afternoon in a Jackson County courtroom.
"Yes I killed my wife," admitted Jordan Criado in front of Judge Lorenzo Mejia.
"But I did not kill my babies," he continued.
Jordan Criado appeared frail and was sometimes difficult to understand.
On Tuesday he changed his plea from not guilty. The original not guilty plea was entered for him by a judge back in December 2011 when his attorney said he was unable to plea for himself. Criado has now entered an Alford guilty plea to five counts of Aggravated Murder and one count of Arson.
An Alford plea means he is admitting the state has enough evidence to prove he's guilty beyond a reasonable doubt...but is not willing to say he in fact committed the crimes. An Alford plea has the same legal effect as a guilty plea.
Criado broke down as each count of Aggravated Murder was read aloud.
He repeatedly denied killing his own children and instead, claimed his wife Tabasha killed their children.
"I killed my wife because she killed my babies," said Criado.
"That has been what he has said pretty much all along but as the judge said, the evidence is really overwhelming," said Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert.
However, the evidence, according to the judge, was overwhelming that Criado was the one who committed the crimes.
Jordan Criado is accused of killing his wife and four children, then setting their home on fire in July of 2011. Officials said Tabasha and each of the kids had stab wounds, except for one child...two-year-old Aurora.
Heckert said Criado's plea will most likely mean life without the possibility of parole.
"This is exactly what the family wanted," said Heckert as she spoke about what Tabasha's family has hoped for.
"They were very opposed to the death penalty in fact."
As for the Arson count...
"I don't know if I did it or not, but I Alford plea to that," said Criado.
Criado also signed a Waiver of Appeal, meaning he won't be able to appeal anything having to do with the case. The only action he could take is against his attorneys, if he feels they did not do a good job.
Sentencing will be held on April 15th at one in the afternoon to allow the victim's family to be present.
Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.
Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.
Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.
Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.