Surprise Guilty Plea in Two Union County Murders

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CRESTON, Iowa -- A Union County man accused in a double murder case pleaded guilty in court Friday morning.

In a surprise move, Jerry Dillinger, of Thayer, pleaded guilty at his arraignment to two counts of first-degree murder. At the same hearing, he was sentenced to consecutive life sentences.

Last month authorities found 37-year-old Loretta Dillinger’s body in a farm pond near Lorimor. As they were investigating a second body was discovered nearby. Officials say that body belonged to Michael Robinson.

Both victims died from gunshot wounds.

Loretta was Jerry Dillinger’s ex-sister-in-law and Michael Robinson was the boyfriend of Dillinger’s niece.

Officials say at one time Dillinger lived with his niece and Robinson and their children.

The motive for the murders has not been released by investigators.