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Thu Sep 7, 2017, 02:38 PM

Suspect in 1975 killing of Lyon sisters poised to plead guilty

Last edited Thu Sep 7, 2017, 03:43 PM - Edit history (1)

Retweeted by David Fahrenthold: https://twitter.com/fahrenthold

BREAKING: Guilty plea expected in 1975 abduction and murders of sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyon.

Suspect in 1975 killing of Lyon sisters poised to plead guilty

By Dan Morse September 7 at 1:07 PM

A sex offender accused in the 1975 disappearance and murders of sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyon from a Wheaton shopping mall — one of Maryland’s most notorious crimes — is poised to enter a guilty plea, according to officials familiar with the negotiations.

Lloyd Lee Welch, 60, charged two years ago, would become the first person convicted in the girls’ deaths, in a case that many feared would never be solved. Based on their recent work, detectives believe the sisters, ages 10 and 12, were sexually assaulted and killed before the remains of at least one of them were taken to rural Bedford County, Va., and burned.

Welch, a former carnival worker, had been set to go to trial next week in Bedford, but online court records show the trial has been “withdrawn.” ... Welch instead has agreed to a plea agreement that calls for him to admit guilt in the Lyon sisters’ disappearance and face decades in prison, according to multiple people with knowledge of the case. The terms, which have been under negotiation for several weeks, also would resolve unrelated sexual assault cases in Prince William County, according to people familiar with the agreement.

Any plea deal would not be final until Welch appeared before a judge and admitted guilt, and the judge signed off on it. He is set to appear in court in Bedford on Tuesday, and Welch could change his mind before the agreement is finalized.

Lloyd Welch in 1977 and 2015. (Maryland and Virginia law enforcement)

Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County. He arrived at the paper in 2005, after reporting stops at the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun and Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of The Yoga Store Murder. Follow @morsedan

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