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A 38-year-old Eastpointe man pleaded guilty Monday to the strangulation murders of his wife and two small children last year.

Timothy Fradeneck, who was charged with the murders of his family members in April, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to three counts of first-degree murder and other related charges.

He faces life in prison without parole when he is sentenced March 1. His imprisonment will include treatment for mental illness.

“I’m very sad. I’m very sorry,” Fradeneck told Macomb County Judge Diane Druzinski.

Defense attorney Steve Kaplan said Fradeneck decided to give up his right to a trial to spare family members.

“He cares about his family,” Kaplan said.

Authorities say he used a USB cord to strangle his 37-year-old wife, Christie, 8-year-old son, Timothy, and 2-year-old daughter, Celeste, as they slept between April 12 and April 13 in the family’s home in the 22000 block of Cushing.

Authorities said when asked why he murdered his family, Fradeneck allegedly told police “the opportunity presented itself.”

The crime was discovered after police went to the Fradeneck home to check on the family. When police arrived, Timothy Fradeneck answered the door and told officers his wife and children were asleep.

When police demanded to see his spouse and kids, Timothy Fradeneck confessed to them he had murdered the three. He surrendered to police at the scene.

Fradeneck told police he tried to kill himself as well, although police said he was not injured and did not provide details about trying to commit suicide.

He had requested a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity during a previous court hearing. Two psychologists said Fradeneck suffers from significant depression.

“He knew the difference between right and wrong,” psychologist Michael Abramsky testified.

Christine Fradeneck owned and operated a Clinton Township salon called Blonde Ambition. Timothy Fradeneck had been unemployed.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2027

The Associated Press contributed.

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