Pa. man pleads guilty to charges in murder

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man could spend nearly 34 years in prison after pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges in connection with the 2006 strangulation death of a West Virginia mother of two.

Eugene J. Talik Jr. admitted in U.S. District Court in Wheeling that he killed 28-year-old Kelly Jo Elliot of Valley Grove, said U.S. Attorney Sharon L. Potter.

The 38-year-old Sewickly, Pa., man had been indicted on a charge of traveling from Pennsylvania to West Virginia with the intent of killing Elliot, who was his girlfriend.

Elliott had been missing since May 25, 2006, before her body was recovered from a shallow grave in Clearfield County, Pa., that November.

“Mr. Talik stated in open court today [Monday] in the presence of the victim’s family that he pled guilty to causing Kelly Jo’s death because he did, in fact, do it,” Potter said in a prepared statement.

In exchange for the guilty plea, Potter said prosecutors have removed the death penalty as a possible sentence.

That decision was made after consulting with U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, she said.

The plea agreement says Talik cannot withdraw his plea and he must serve at least 33 years and 9 months in prison.

Last February, John Deutsch, 30, of Freedom, Pa., pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact in Elliot’s death.