Man Charged With Strangling Girlfriend and 4 Kids Returned to Oklahoma

An ex-convict accused of strangling his ex-girlfriend and her four young children was returned to Oklahoma early Thursday from Texas following his arrest after a car crash.

Joshua Steven Durcho, 25, arrived at the Canadian County jail in El Reno, about 25 miles west of Oklahoma City, around 2 a.m., authorities said. A jailer said he didn't know when Durcho would make an initial court appearance.

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Durcho waived his extradition Wednesday during a brief court hearing in Hamilton County, where he was taken into custody Tuesday night after the vehicle he was driving struck a guardrail and tree, Texas officials said.

As he left the hearing, Durcho told reporters he was sorry "for getting into this [expletive] mess I didn't do."

His court-appointed Texas attorney, Rickey Bryan, did not respond to a request for comment.

Prosecutors in Oklahoma charged Durcho with five counts of first-degree murder Tuesday, a day after an El Reno police officer conducting a welfare check found 25-year-old Summer Garas and her children dead in their apartment in the Oklahoma City suburb.

Garas had three daughters — Kirsten Rust, 7; Autumn Rust, 6; and Evynn Garas, 3 — and a 4-year-old son, Teagin Rust.

Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty, assistant district attorney Paul Hesse said Wednesday.

Each victim was strangled and had ligature marks around their neck, according to an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation affidavit filed in the case. The exact manner in which the strangulations were done was not clear, spokeswoman Jessica Brown said.

"We're not going to know until we talk to the guy," she said. "He's a big man. You can tell he's very large and very strong."

Court records show that Durcho is 5-foot-9 and about 235 pounds.

Garas' mother, Susan Rust of Carson City, Nev., told The Associated Press her daughter ended her relationship with Durcho on Sunday.

"She said it was over and it was done, and apparently that didn't go over very well," Rust said Wednesday.

"I hope he gets the slowest, most painful death because that's what he has earned. Hell is too good for him," she added.

After the killings, Durcho reportedly drove to Edmond and told a friend he choked Summer Garas until she was dead and that the children were with Garas' mother in Nevada, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit also said Durcho visited a cousin in Oakwood on Monday and tried to get her to swap vehicles with him.

According to court records, Durcho was convicted of car theft as a juvenile and several minor drug charges as an adult. He was sentenced to four years in prison in 2003 for unlawful possession of marijuana and released in February 2007, records show.

Durcho's stepfather, Shelton Bryan, acknowledged his son liked to drink and smoke marijuana, but said he never was violent and was affectionate toward Garas' children.

"He loved those kids," Bryan said Wednesday. "He took the boy everywhere he went.

"This is just devastating to our family, and we can't believe that he done it. It's hard for us to take this in and digest it."