LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — A man has pleaded guilty but mentally ill in the slayings of his girlfriend and her mother in their central Pennsylvania home.

Twenty-three-year-old Gary Gerlach was sentenced Monday to two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.

In return for his plea, the Lancaster County district attorney’s office decided not to seek the death penalty.

Gerlach admitted to strangling his 22-year-old girlfriend Makenzie Hess with a belt, then beating Mona Hess with a hammer at their Leola home in June 2012.

Following his arrest last year, police say Gerlach admitted to the murders and stealing Mona Hess’ 1996 Acura and driving it to a motel in North Wildwood, N.J. Police found him there two days after the murders.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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