- Associated Press - Monday, June 28, 2010

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) — A suspect in the slayings of three of his neighbors in southwest Virginia has pleaded guilty to federal firearms and drug distribution charges.

Frank Carl Thomas of Wolford pleaded guilty to three counts Monday and agreed to a 70-year sentence. In arguing for a long sentence, a federal prosecutor said Thomas used a revolver to kill Roger and Janice Justice and Timothy Dale Blankenship last August. The judge asked Thomas if he disputed that statement, and Thomas said no.

Sentencing was set for Sept. 27 in federal court in Abingdon.

The 35-year-old Thomas is charged with capital murder in Buchanan County. That trial is scheduled for Aug. 13.