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Man Pleads Guilty To Killing 2 In Ocala National Forest

POSTED: 10:56 am EDT July 30, 2007

OCALA, Fla. -- A Clearwater man pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of first-degree murder and received two consecutive life terms for killing two 26-year-old college students who were camping in Ocala National Forest.

Leo L. Boatman, 21, changed his plea to guilty in a deal to avoid the death penalty, said State Attorney Brad King. The prosecutor said he made the plea offer based on the wishes of the families of Amber M. Peck and John L. Parker, the Santa Fe Community College students.

They had been camping at Hidden Pond in January 2006 when Boatman ambushed them with an AK-47 assault rifle.

"I can't offer an explanation because there is none," Boatman told Circuit Judge Willard Pope.

The parents of both victims told the judge they wanted Boatman to be sentenced to life in prison.
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