Man charged in 3 killings pleads guilty in related case

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PHOENIX (AP) -

A man charged with killing three people in burglaries five years ago in metro Phoenix has pleaded guilty to separate but related crimes that were carried in the days after the shooting deaths.

Michael Lee Crane, 36, of Mesa pleaded guilty Thursday to burglary, attempted burglary, aggravated assault and armed robbery in the February 2012 spree at several homes in metro Phoenix.

Authorities say shoes recovered at the attempted burglary had been stolen days earlier from the town house of the one of the three victims in the murder case. They also said Crane's DNA was found on the shoes.

A message left for Crane's attorney, Herman Alcantar, wasn't immediately returned Thursday afternoon.

The guilty pleas didn't resolve the murder charges against Crane.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Crane in the January 2012 shooting deaths of Bruce Gaudet at his Phoenix town house and of Lawrence and Glenna Shapiro at their home in the upscale suburb of Paradise Valley.

Prosecutors said Crane bound and fatally shot the three victims at their homes, stole their jewelry and other valuables, and set their houses on fire.

They say a gun used in the killings was found in Crane's possession when he was arrested in the separate crimes that occurred days after the shooting deaths.

In the case resolved by Thursday's guilty pleas, authorities say Crane fired a gun at a woman who was responding to an alert on her home alarm. Prosecutors say Crane, whose gunshot missed the woman, fled the scene.

Shoes stolen six days earlier at Gaudet's home were found outside the woman's home, according to records.

Crane is scheduled to be sentenced on April 21.

No trial date is set in the murder case.

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Follow Jacques Billeaud at twitter.com/jacquesbilleaud. His work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/jacques%20billeaud.

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