In a packed Minneapolis courtroom today, Danny Heinrich admitted to kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing Jacob Wetterling.
The admission was part of a plea agreement in which Heinrich pleaded guilty to one federal count of receiving child pornography. Heinrich had been a person of interest in the disappearance and death of Wetterling, which remained unsolved for 27 years. Heinrich said in court today that he shot Wetterling in the head. Heinrich says he then placed Jacob in a grave and used a bobcat to the fill the area in. Heinrich says he transferred the remains a year after the original burial to a nearby farm because Wetterling’s jacket was visible.
News broke over the weekend that Heinrich had recently led authorities to a spot near Paynesville where Wetterling’s remains were found. Jacob’s parents, Patty and Jerry, were in the courtroom during the hearing.
Heinrich, who is 53, will be sentenced at a later date, but could spend up to 20 years in prison, with civil commitment to a sex offender program possible after the sentence is served. There will be no state prosecution for the crimes committed against Wetterling in 1989.