BEDFORD Co., Va. (WSET) - Lloyd Welch, Jr. appeared in court today and pleaded guilty to charges surrounding the murder and disappearance of the Lyon sisters in 1975.
"This is a good day for the cause of justice," the Commonwealth's Attorney Wes Nance said in a press conference after the hearing.
In court Tuesday, Welch pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree murder "for the abduction and killing of Katherine and Shelia Lyon in 1975."
Welch will serve 48 years in a Virginia penitentiary after he completes the remainder of his sentence in Delaware for a different crime.
The Lyon case went cold over 40 years ago, before a search on Taylor's Mountain in Bedford County in 2015.
Authorities believe Welch burned the girls' on the mountain, as his family owned property there.
In previous statements, he admitted to abducting them from a mall in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Welch's involvement was called into question during a press conference after the hearing, to which Nance said "his credibility is in question."
Nance said that while Welch's statements did change over time, "what did not change was his involvement in the case."
He said Welch identified different people over the course of the investigation as co-conspirators.
"We have closed the chapter on Lloyd Welch," Nance said.
Welch's attorney Tony Anderson says Welch has "a lot of remorse" for what happened.
"In every statement, the one consistent thread is his involvement was in the abduction, not the sexual exploitation or murder," Anderson said.
Anderson said the underlying felony in the murder charges was the abduction "with intent to defile."
"There's no credible evidence that Welch was the murderer," Anderson said.
Anderson spoke about Welch's character, saying he had been put into foster care and had been abused.
"He was easily manipulated by those that had authority," Anderson said about Welch's young life.
Welch could be eligble for parole in his mid-80's, the Commonwealth's Attorney said.