POMONA (CBSLA) — A convicted sex offender pleaded no contest Monday to the murder of two six-year-old boys in the 1980s.

(credit: CBS)

Kenneth Rasmuson, 59, is accused of killing the two boys in 1981 and 1986. The body of Miguel Antero was left in a wash near his Agoura Hills home in 1986. The second boy, Jeffrey Vargo, had been taken near his Anaheim Hills home in 1981 and his body was found in Pomona.

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Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer asked a Pomona judge to move the Vargo case to his county after Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón removed special circumstances and enhancements in the case that would have allowed Rasmuson to be paroled from prison much earlier if convicted. Rasmuson entered the no contest plea Monday at what was supposed to be a pre-trial hearing.

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Gascón said that even though he had directed prosecutors to remove the special circumstances and enhancements from the case, Rasmuson was always facing life in prison, “making the rhetoric from tough-on-crime voices incredibly dangerous and entirely removed from reality.”

Kenneth Rasmuson in court. (credit: CBSLA)

“Splitting this case up or seeking the death penalty in a state with a moratorium would have dragged the victims through decades of legal proceedings for an execution that is exceedingly unlikely to be imposed,” Gascón said in a statement. “Spending exorbitant amounts on a death penalty prosecution that is ultimately just for show would force the families of these victims to relive their trauma through decades of litigation.”

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With the no contest plea, Rasmuson – who previously served time for sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy in Santa Barbara County and a 3-year-old boy in Los Angeles – is expected to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on April 27.