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Idaho man pleads guilty to murder for running over newlyweds

An Idaho driver who struck and killed a young couple as they strolled down a Fruitland sidewalk last year has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder.

Jason Lee Verwer made the plea Tuesday at the Payette County Courthouse. He faces up to 10 years in prison for each count when he is sentenced in January.

Prosecutors said Verwer was driving about 62 miles an hour when he intentionally struck 23-year-old Matthew Parkinson and 17-year-old Amelia Parkinson from behind, knocking them into the air and dragging them into a nearby parking lot. The couple had married just weeks earlier, and they were walking hand-in-hand on Jan. 24, 2018, unaware they were about to be hit by a 1980s Chevrolet Celebrity. Both died at the scene.

Prosecutors said Verwer didn’t know the Parkinsons, and they never determined a motive. Verwer was given a court-ordered mental evaluation and found to be competent to assist in his own defense.

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