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Man Admits to Ore. Boxcar Slayings

January 31, 1998

SALEM, Ore. (AP) _ A man suspected in the beating deaths of boxcar riders across the country pleaded guilty in two Oregon slayings Friday, avoiding a trial and a possible death sentence.

Robert Silveria, 39, will be sentenced to two consecutive life terms for his guilty plea in the December 1995 beating murders of William Avis Pettit, 39, in Salem, and Michael Andrew Clites, 24, who was found dead in a boxcar in Portland.

Silveria, who had been scheduled for trial March 1, was arrested by railroad police in Auburn, Calif., in March 1996.

Authorities say Silveria has admitted killing people in Montana, Utah, Washington and California, and is suspected in a death in Arizona. Kansas and Florida are seeking his extradition on suspicion of murder.

Evidence has shown that victims were beaten to death, usually with one or more weapons, such as a rock or ax handle. In three cases, wallets and identification were stolen and used to obtain food stamps.

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