(KTVU) Dublin - Alameda County prosecutor Glenn Kim said he is seeking a first-degree murder sentence, meaning Gross could face up to 26 years to life in prison. As part of pleading guilty, he cannot appeal.
A second defendant in the case, Gross’ pregnant fiancée Melissa Leonardo, 25, pleaded not guilty earlier Thursday.
Authorities say the couple stabbed Cuesta in February and then dumped her from a car on remote Tesla Road outside Livermore.
Cuesta crawled on her stomach for about 100 yards, before she was found. In what is known as a "dying declaration," Cuesta lived long enough to identify the couple as her attackers.
Sources told KTVU that Gross admitted to stabbing Cuesta more than two dozen times in the head, back and neck. A motive isn't clear.
In an unusual move, the judge kicked the media out during an earlier hearing Thursday even though the public was allowed to stay.
The judge later apologized, saying it was a miscommunication and that he wrongly thought reporters in the gallery were recording the proceedings.
Shortly after Gross' arrest, KTVU crime reporter Henry Lee had an exclusive jailhouse interview with Gross. The inmate said acted in self defense and "snapped," and that he never meant to kill Cuesta.
Outside court, Gross’ attorney Eric Mirzaian said his client wanted to own up to what he did.
“From the very beginning of this case, Daniel has been absolutely committed to accepting responsibility for his friend‘s death, and he proved that when he confessed to police. Confessed to media. Proven it today by entering his guilty plea. It is his hope and wish that this decision to take responsibility today will bring some level of peace and closure to mrs cuesta s family and loved ones.
Outside court no one else wanted to comment the victim’s family, the defendants family and the da.
On camera out
Gross will be back in court in june to set a date for sentencing. Live in dublin