The suspect in the slayings of four men at their homes in the small, north-central Ohio city of Bucyrus (byoo-SY'-rus) is due in court to change his plea after reaching a deal with prosecutors.

The hearing comes days before Donald Hoffman's potential death penalty case was scheduled for trial in Crawford County. The 41-year-old Hoffman initially pleaded not guilty on 21 counts.

The county prosecutor tells the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum the plea agreement calls for Hoffman to plead guilty to aggravated murder charges and face four consecutive life sentences in exchange for the remaining charges being dropped.

Hoffman's attorneys haven't returned messages seeking comment.

A coroner determined the men found dead in early September were beaten, strangled or both. Friends and relatives said at least some of the men knew Hoffman.