A Regina man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the deaths of two women.

Clayton Eichler entered the guilty pleas as his trial was about to begin Monday at Court of Queen’s Bench.

Eichler, 35, originally faced first-degree murder charges in the deaths of 23-year-old Richele Bear and 21-year-old Kelly Goforth. Court heard both women died by strangulation.

“I thought it was the best outcome for our families,” Bear’s aunt, Angela Gray, said outside the courthouse.

“Why he took so long to plea kind of bothers me, but I'm happy this is the way it turned out."

The Crown is seeking a life sentence with no chance of parole for 20 years.

“We are satisfied that justice took place here today," Crown prosecutor Bill Burge told reporters.

Goforth’s body was found in a plastic bag inside a hockey bag in an alley in the 1700 block of McAra Street a few days after she vanished in September 2013. The Crown says Eichler had bought the hockey bag her body was found in.

An autopsy led investigators to Eichler’s home, where photographs of Bear were found. The Crown says Bear has a mark around her neck and appears to be dead in the photos. Her body has not yet been located.

Eichler’s next appearance is scheduled for Tuesday morning, when court is expected to hear victim impact statements from the mothers of Goforth and Bear.

Based on a report by CTV Regina’s Virginia Wright