Gary Ridgway, Green River Killer, to plead guilty to 49th murder today

Green River serial killer suspect Gary Ridgway in March 2003 pretrial hearing
Gary Ridgway, Green River Killer, to plead guilty to 49th murder
Green River serial killer Gary Ridgway, file (AP)

(CBS/AP/KIRO) SEATTLE  - Green River Killer Gary Ridgway plans to plead guilty Friday in Washington state to the murder of a 49th victim, Becky Marrero.

On Dec. 21, a human skull was found by teenagers in a wooded area, reports CBS affiliate KIRO. Investigators also found bones while combing the area. The remains were later identified as those of Marrero.

The Sheriff's Office said Ridgway was questioned extensively in 2003 about Marrero's disappearance. Satterberg said though Ridgway had confessed to killing Marerro in 2003, her remains had not been found and Ridgway was unable to provide sufficient details to charge him with her murder.

In a plea agreement made by late King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng in 2003, Ridgway agreed to plead guilty to any future cases in which his confession could be corroborated with reliable evidence uncovered by investigators. In return, Ridgway was spared the death penalty.

Satterberg said prosecutors would not seek the death penalty because Marrero's killing fell within the agreement made in 2003.

Ridgway is already serving 48 life terms. He's scheduled to enter a plea at his arraignment at the King County Regional Justice Center in Kent.  He was charged Feb. 7.

He has been brought from the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla for the arraignment, where Marrero's family will have the opportunity to confront him.

Though Ridgway is already serving a life sentence for murdering 48 women, Satterberg said it was important to convict Ridgway for the Marrero family and for the record of the case.

The 20-year-old Marrero was last seen on December 3, 1982, when she left a motel room at South 168th and Pacific Highway South, the Sheriff's Office said.