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Missouri father charged in deaths of 2 children; already serving 38 years for kidnapping them
CORRECTION Children 6830114
Dan Porter talks to reporters while awaiting transport back to jail outside the Jackson County courthouse in Independence, Mo. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2007. Porter, 44, was charged with two counts of first degree murder in the June 2004 deaths of his two young children. - photo by Associated Press
    INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The father of two Kansas City-area children whose remains were found in a shallow grave more than three years after they disappeared confessed publicly and was charged Tuesday in their shootings.
    Dan Porter, 44 — who already is serving a 38-year prison term for kidnapping his son, Sam, 7, and daughter, Lindsey, 8, to terrorize their mother — was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
    Speaking to reporters after a brief court appearance, Porter admitted he killed his children, apologized and said he thinks about them all the time.
    ‘‘I can’t get them out of my mind,’’ he said as he was escorted from the courtroom to a sheriff’s van.
    The children’s bones were found in September in a wooded area near the Missouri River in nearby Sugar Creek and were identified using dental records. The children had been missing since Porter picked them up at their mother’s house for a weekend visit in the summer of 2004.
    ‘‘I’m sorry,’’ Porter told reporters after the brief court appearance. ‘‘No matter how sorry I am, I realize there are going to be people who never forgive me.’’
    Asked why he did it, Porter said: ‘‘Could any man come up with an excuse for that? Is there such an excuse?’’
    According to a probable cause statement filed with the charges, Porter told investigators that he had planned to kill his children for at least a day before he picked them up from his estranged wife, Tina Porter; the couple have since divorced.
    Jackson County prosecutor Jim Kanatzar said before the hearing that the children were killed with a handgun, but he did not provide additional details. He said he would decide within the next month whether to seek the death penalty.
    ‘‘There is absolutely no explanation for actions like this,’’ he said.
    During Tuesday’s hearing, a judge read the charges, and not-guilty pleas were entered for Porter, who appeared in an orange prison jumpsuit, shackled at his wrists and ankles.
    Porter did not have an attorney at the hearing, but public defender Timothy Burdick was assigned to him afterward. Burdick did not return phone or e-mail messages seeking comment.
    A preliminary hearing was set for Dec. 19.
    After his arrest on the kidnapping charges, Porter told authorities several stories about what he had done with his children, including that he had cut them up and that he had strangled them. On Sept. 7, he told prison officials and the FBI where to find the bodies, according to the probable cause statement.
    The area where the children’s remains were found is where Dan and Tina Porter met to swap the children. Police said Dan Porter had asked her to meet him near the area so they could exchange vehicles.
    Tina Porter, 44, of Independence, has said he tried to get her to drive her pickup into the woods by telling her that he had stashed $50,000 there and wanted to get it. She refused.
    Tina Porter did not return messages seeking comment Tuesday, and prosecutors have advised her not to talk to reporters, said Van Buckley, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office.

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