US Uber driver Jason Dalton jailed for life for fatal shootings committed between jobs
A man who fatally shot six strangers in southwestern Michigan has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.
- Jason Dalton pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder charges last month
- Dalton was quoted as saying a “devil figure” on the Uber app controlled him on the day of the shootings
- He was given a mandatory life sentence
Jason Dalton admitted to shooting eight people in three locations in between picking up passengers for Uber.
He pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder last month just as jury selection was about to begin in his trial.
Michigan has no death penalty, so he was guaranteed to receive the mandatory life sentence but some loved ones of those he killed said they believed he would face a greater, more permanent punishment.
“Someday when you die and you face God, he will make the ultimate judgment for what you’ve done,” Laurie Smith, who lost her husband and son in the February 2016 rampage, told Dalton during the sentencing hearing.
After his arrest, police quoted Dalton as saying a “devil figure” on Uber’s app was controlling him on the day of the shootings.
Four women were killed in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant: Barbara Hawthorne, Dorothy ‘Judy’ Brown, Mary Lou Nye and her sister-in-law, Mary Jo Nye.
Rich Smith and his 17-year-old son, Tyler Smith, were fatally shot while looking at a pickup truck in a dealer’s lot.
“Living without [them] is impossible,” said Emily Lemmer, the daughter of Rich and sister of Tyler.
Ms Lemmer carried their ashes in a box as she walked alone down the aisle at her wedding just months after their deaths.
During the hearing Ms Lemmer said she was afraid she would “lose more people that I love” and she “can’t understand” why Dalton went on a deadly rampage.
She then warned Dalton — sitting nearby with his hands clasped across his stomach — with words similar to those of her mother.
“I would not want to be you, ever, but especially when you meet our maker,” she said.
Abigail Kopf, who was 14 at the time, was shot in the head during the restaurant shooting and survived.
Tiana Carruthers was shot and wounded in a residential area.
“I see pain in your hatred,” Ms Carruthers said to Dalton during the hearing, as she tried to get him to look at her.
“I hate myself for hating you,” she said.
The father of two had worked as an insurance adjuster and had no criminal record before the shootings.
Prosecutor Jeff Getting said the question of a motive “haunts us”.
He estimated Dalton could live another 25 to 30 years, amounting to thousands of days.
“10,000 days [in prison] doesn’t come close to what you deserve,” Mr Getting said.
“I wish somehow it could be more. You deserve more.”
A gun shop owner said Dalton bought a jacket with an inside pocket designed to hold a gun just hours before the rampage.
Shop owner Jon Southwick recalled Dalton “laughing and joking” and giving a “one-armed hug” to the manager before making the purchase.