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Sex offender gets 2 48-year sentences in 1975 murders

BEDFORD, Va. (AP) - The Latest on a sex offender accused in the abduction and killing of two sisters in Maryland in 1975 (all times local):
    
9:45 a.m.
    
A 60-year old convicted sex offender has been sentenced to two 48-year prison terms in the killing of two young sisters who disappeared from a Maryland shopping mall more than 40 years ago.
    
Lloyd Lee Welch Jr. pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of first-degree felony murder in the 1975 killings of 12-year-old Shelia and 10-year-old Katherine Lyons. He was sentenced during the same hearing. Welch also received a 12-year sentence in two unrelated sexual assault cases in Prince William County in Virginia.
    
The Lyons sisters vanished on March 25, 1975, after walking to Wheaton Plaza, near their home in Kensington, Maryland.
    
A massive search yielded few clues. It took authorities nearly four decades to focus on Welch. By then, he had accumulated a long criminal history and was serving a prison sentence in Delaware for sexually molesting a 10-year-old girl.
    
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9:15 a.m.
    
A convicted sex offender has pleaded guilty in the killings of two young sisters who disappeared from a Maryland shopping mall more than 40 years ago.
    
Lloyd Lee Welch Jr. pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of first-degree felony murder in the 1975 killings of 12-year-old Shelia and 10-year-old Katherine Lyons. The 60-year-old's admission of guilt ends a decades-old mystery that has haunted the suburbs of Washington.
    
The girls vanished on March 25, 1975, after walking to Wheaton Plaza, a shopping center near their home in Kensington, Maryland.
    
A massive search yielded few clues. It took authorities nearly four decades to focus on Welch. By then, he had accumulated a long criminal history and was serving a prison sentence in Delaware for sexually molesting a 10-year-old girl.
    
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1:20 a.m.
    
A man charged with killing two young sisters from Maryland is expected to plead guilty more than four decades after the girls vanished during a trip to a local shopping mall.
    
Lloyd Lee Welch Jr. is scheduled to appear in a Virginia court Tuesday. Welch is accused of snatching 12-year-old Sheila Lyon and 10-year-old Katherine Lyon in March 1975. Authorities believe he burned the girls' bodies on a remote mountain in Bedford County, Virginia. They were never recovered.
    
It's not known if prosecutors agreed not to pursue the death penalty in exchange for Welch's guilty pleas.
    
Welch was scheduled to go on trial Tuesday, but his trial request was withdrawn last week. The Washington Post reported that Welch plans to plead guilty in an agreement that will also resolve two unrelated sexual assault cases against him.

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