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Driver to change plea in 2018 Fruitland crash that killed newlyweds

Verwer is charged in the deaths of 23-year-old Matthew Parkinson and 17-year-old Amelia Parkinson on Jan. 24, 2018.
Jason Verwer, 37, has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Matthew Parkinson, 22, of Kuna, and his wife, Amelia, 17. (Photo: Payette County)

BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho driver charged with veering onto a sidewalk and killing two newlyweds will change his plea to guilty, according to Payette County prosecutors.

Jason Verwer, 38, of Fruitland, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Matthew Parkinson, 23, and Amelia Parkinson, 17, on Jan. 24, 2017, in Fruitland.

Prosecution and defense attorneys at a pretrial conference Friday said a plea arrangement had been reached, the Idaho Statesman reported . Verwer was in court for the hearing.

The plea agreement calls for Verwer to will plead guilty to both second-degree murder charges Payette County Prosecutor Ross Pittman said after the hearing.

Pittman did not discuss terms of the deal. A change of plea hearing is scheduled for April 18. Second-degree murder carries penalties of 10 years to life in prison and a $15,000 fine.

MORE: 2 pedestrians hit, killed by vehicle in Fruitland

Verwer was driving on U.S. 95 in Fruitland when his car left the roadway and struck the couple. Investigators say they were knocked into the air and dragged into the parking lot of a seed store.

An Idaho State Police crash reconstructionist concluded from the video that Verwer accelerated to about 62 mph (100 kph) as he hit the couple and that there was no evidence of braking.

Investigators at a preliminary hearing said they knew of no connection between Verwer and the Parkinsons.

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