A New Jersey man will serve two consecutive life sentences in prison after pleading guilty to a 2018 double murder in Fayette County, District Attorney Andy Hamlin said Friday.

In a press release to local media, Hamlin said the suspect, 28-year-old Michael Evan Council is the first of five defendants to plead guilty in the case.

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Council and four others are accused of the fatal shooting of Hernan Antonio Padilla and Allen Clifford Sandlin in May 2018.

Hamlin said Padilla, 55, and Sandlin, 56, were found shot to death at Padilla’s home outside Carbon Hill, Alabama.

“I’m pleased we were able to put a violent offender away for life,” Hamlin said. “The plea was reached after much consultation with the victim’s families. They’ve been through a lot, and I’m glad that we were able to resolve this case. I look forward to getting the remaining codefendants’ cases to court soon.”

Hamlin said the Alabama Bureau of Investigation put together the case that led the the five arrests, and that the New Jersey State Police helped locate and arrest Council and a second defendant Lorazo Moran, after the killings.

The other suspects include Lindettia Lynette Lowery, Brandon Dewayne Lowery and Brittany Bell-Spates, and Hamlin said the cases against those four suspects are still pending.

“Justice was served today. This was a complete team effort. Investigator Jamey Bozeman and Ronald Stough worked tirelessly on this investigation. I cannot say enough about the jobs that they did,” Hamlin said. “I also want to thank the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department for all of their hard work and for the neighboring agencies that assisted in the investigation and helping us get the case ready for trial.”

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