LANCASTER, Pa. – A man who killed his 14-year-old girlfriend's parents last fall and then fled the state with the girl pleaded guilty to murder Wednesday and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.
Ludwig pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, reckless endangerment, statutory sexual assault and a firearms violation. He told police he shot Michael Borden in the back of the head, a crime witnessed by Kara's sister. Cathryn Borden also was shot in the head.
After making the plea deal, Ludwig was immediately sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the murder charges, plus 9 1/2 to 19 years on the other charges.
"By your useless and selfish acts, you destroyed and permanently altered the lives of countless people," Judge David Ashworth told him.
Lancaster County District Attorney Don Totaro had been seeking the death penalty.
Investigators concluded that Kara Borden joined Ludwig voluntarily but played no role in the shootings.
Ludwig had little to say in court Wednesday, except to answer the judge's questions.
Ludwig and Kara Borden knew each other through a support group for home-schooled students and tried to keep their relationship secret from her parents, who were displeased with their age difference. Prosecutors said the killings occurred after the Bordens confronted Ludwig the morning they discovered he and Kara Borden had been out all night.
A day after the killings, police caught the two in Belleville, Ind., after Ludwig crashed his parents car into a tree during a high-speed chase. Neither was hurt.
Ludwig's attorney James Gratton said Ludwig was concerned about the effect a trial would have on the community, the families and their churches.
He said Ludwig has been tutoring other inmates in prison.
"He retains the potential to do much good in an institutional setting," Gratton said.