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CRIME

NJ man pleads no contest in W. Pa. killings of father and stepmom he claimed died in car crash

A New Jersey landscaper who claimed his father and stepmother had died in a car crash has pleaded no-contest to third-degree murder in Pennsylvania.

Forty-two-year-old Colin Abbott of Randolph, N.J. entered the pleas Tuesday in the deaths of pharmaceutical executive Kenneth Abbott and his wife, Celeste. The deal allows him to avoid the death penalty.

Authorities say Colin Abbott dismembered the bodies and scattered their charred remains on the family property in Butler County, about 50 miles north of Pittsburgh. Police say he told his family the couple died in a June 2011 car crash.

Prosecutors say Kenneth Abbott's multimillion-dollar estate was a factor in the killings.

Colin Abbott is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of 35 to 80 years in prison.