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Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Children

June 12, 1990 GMT

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) _ A 28-year-old man facing trial for the murders of three young boys and the attempted murder of a fourth changed his plea to guilty Monday without explanation.

Westley Allan Dodd, of Vancouver has been held without bail since his arrest Nov. 13, when he pleaded innocent to the charges.

Jury selection will begin as scheduled on June 25, but only in a consolidated penalty phase for all the cases. Dodd faces the death penalty or mandatory life in prison without parole.

Dodd did not indicate why he changed his plea. Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Arthur D. Curtis said Dodd went against the advice of his attorneys.

″We don’t feel it was a plea bargain in any respect,″ said Curtis. ″He plead guilty to what he was charged with.″

Dodd softly and somberly described to Clark County Superior Court Judge Robert Harris the three boys’ deaths in graphic detail.

Dodd was charged with three counts of first-degree aggravated murder in the deaths of 4-year-old Lee Joseph Iseli of Portland, Ore., and Vancouver brothers Cole Neer, 11, and William Neer, 10.

The Neer brothers’ bodies were found Sept. 4 in a Vancouver park where they had ridden their bicycles. Both had been stabbed.

The Iseli boy’s body was discovered near Vancouver Lake Nov. 1, three days after he disappeared from a Portland schoolyard.

″On Sept. 4, 1989, I went to David Douglas Park with the premeditated intent to cause the death of another human being,″ Dodd told Harris. ″I raped Cole Neer and then I killed him. Yes, I also murdered William Neer ... to conceal my identity.″

On Oct. 29, Dodd said, ″I did kidnap Lee Iseli from Portland Ore., took him to my apartment in Vancouver and raped him. ... And on the morning of Oct. 30, I murdered Lee Iseli.″

Dodd was arrested after he carried 6-year-old James Kirk II from a Camas, Wash., movie theater. Although the boy was let go outside the theater, his mother’s boyfriend tracked Dodd down and brought him back.

″I did attempt to abduct and murder James Kirk,″ Dodd told Harris.

Dodd was charged with first-degree kidnapping and first-degree attempted murder in that case. The kidnapping charge was dropped Monday.

Robert Iseli, whose son was one of those killed, said he hoped Dodd would get the death penalty. ″You shoot a rabid dog ... and anyone else who has no value to society,″ he said.