Man says he killed parents, put bodies in cesspool

PROVIDENCE, RI James Soares Jr., 25, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and other crimes just as he was to stand trial in Providence Superior Court. He faces two consecutive sentences of life in prison.

Soares admitted attacking his parents, James and Marian Soares, with a heavy garden hoe and concealing the bodies in the in-ground cesspool outside their Warren home. State police dug up the bodies on July 26, 2008, and charged Soares the following day.

The couple had been reported missing two weeks earlier after missing a family reunion. Marian Soares had so anticipated the get-together that she had created a special family tree and had copies run off for relatives. But in the days leading up to the event, she did not return phone calls and e-mails from her family.

"Marian and James Soares had no intention of missing this family reunion," prosecutor Stacey Veroni said in court Tuesday.

Soares lied repeatedly about the couple's whereabouts when questioned by relatives and investigators, Veroni said.

He initially said his parents had missed the reunion because they were on a monthlong vacation, before changing his story to say that his father had run off with a woman he had met online while his mother was visiting someone in Massachusetts, Veroni said. He later told police his father had killed his mother and that he had then killed his father, the prosecutor said. Then he tried to implicate his girlfriend before ultimately confessing to a role in both murders, Veroni said.

Soares' relationship with his parents had deteriorated after they kicked out his girlfriend, Nicole Pacheco, from their home after the elder Soares blamed her for stealing his credit cards. Prosecutors say Pacheco and Soares racked up thousands of dollars in charges on the couple's credit cards after they were killed.

Pacheco was not charged in the killings, but is serving a five-year prison sentence after pleading no contest in December to obtaining money under false pretenses and other offenses.

Soares did not speak at his plea hearing other than to answer "yes" or "no" impassively as a judge asked him a series of standard questions.

His public defender, John Lovoy, told the judge that the guilty pleas reflect his desire to accept responsibility and the "amount of grief" he has.

Dozens of family members packed the courthouse for the plea hearing, with some holding hands and fighting back tears.

Superior Court Judge Francis Darigan scheduled sentencing for July 23.

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