Lara plea deal in the works, Sawyer's mother says

Plea change was in court file, then removed

BEND, Ore. - A plea deal -- a "true life" prison term without parole, but no death penalty trial -- is in the works for Edwin Lara, accused killer of Kaylee Sawyer, the victim's mother revealed publicly Wednesday.

Lara is due to go on trial in the fall of 2018 on four counts of aggravated murder in the July 2016 killing of Sawyer, a COCC student allegedly abducted and slain near the campus.

Juli Walden VanCleave, Sawyer's mother, posted on her own public Facebook page titled Remembering Kaylee Sawyer: "So KTVZ has reached out to my parents so it is time to let you all know we have reached a plea deal. The defendant has plead guilty to aggravated murder and will receive true life."

"He will never be a free man. Justice has been served. But legal justice is a far cry from the justice Kaylee Sawyer deserved," VanCleave added. "Thank you all for your support of me and my family during the last year and a half. I have learned that sometimes the only thing that happens with an ending is just an ending."

The 32-year-old former COCC campus safety officer faces four counts of aggravated murder. He's accused of abducting 23-year-old Sawyer as she was walking home, killing her on the college campus and dumping her body in a canyon west of Redmond. 

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel announced earlier that he would seek the death penalty in the case. 

Lara is expected to be in court for a two day hearing on Jan. 22 and 23. It was briefly listed Tuesday on Lara's online court file as a change of plea and sentencing, but later revised to just being labeled a "hearing," with an October trial still scheduled.

Attorneys in the Lara case are under a court order not to speak publicly about the case.

NewsChannel 21 will continue to update this case as we learn more and will be in court for the next scheduled hearing.

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