GavelA routine court proceeding today in southwest Iowa turned into much more. Jerry Dillinger, arrested last month for the deaths of two people in Union County, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder.

Michael Motsinger is a special agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. “It’s very rare that someone pleads guilty to first-degree murder. It just doesn’t happen that often,” Motsinger said.

The 37-year-old Dillinger was immediately sentenced to life in prison. He was accused in the death of his ex-sister-in-law, Loretta Dillinger, who’s body was found in a farm pond near Lorimor.

He faced a second count of first-degree murder in connection with the discovery of another body in Thayer. That second victim was identified for the first time today in court as Loretta Dillinger’s boyfriend, Michael Robinson of Des Moines. “We believe the victim to be Michael Robinson,” Motsinger said. “Through our investigation and talking to Mr. Dillinger, everyone has stated that it is Michael Robinson, but with that being said, we’re still waiting on the scientific analysis of DNA.”

Union County Attorney Tim Kenyon said Jerry Dillinger shot both of the victims, dumping Loretta Dillinger’s body in the pond and burying Robinson’s body. “I guess I feel like that the criminal justice system did its job today, and the family, I think, is pleased with the fact that they can begin with the process of moving forward,” Kenyon said.

(Reporting by Jordan Armstrong, KSIB, Creston)