PORTLAND -- A man who pleaded guilty to the 2012 murders of two women in the Portland area was sentenced Thursday to two life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Mark Beebout, 40, was facing nearly two dozen counts that included multiple charges of murder and sexual assault. He pleaded guilty on February 22 to two counts of murder and one count of assault.

Beebout was arrested in Seattle last July for the murder of 32-year-old Nikayly Powell, who was found dead in her Southeast Portland apartment on July 10.

I loved her very much. I miss her very much. She was a very sweet person and somebody everybody loved, Powell's aunt Judy Herman said.

Powell had met Beebout through her volunteer work for a Portland homeless shelter and she allowed him to move into her apartment shortly before her murder. Court documents showed she had been sexually abused and strangled with a shoelace.

Background: Slain SE Portland woman was helping homeless

Beebout was extradited to Portland and later linked to the death of 15-year-old Sophia Cruz Rodriguez of San Diego, who had been visiting relatives in Vancouver. Her body had been found in Portland's Washington Park on June 26.

Cruz was not identified until she was reported as a runaway several months later.

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After sentencing in court Thursday, a former girlfriend of Beebout's said she was relieved.

I am pleased and happy that he will never be able to hurt another woman again, Amy Lewis said.

Beebout was also sentenced to one year for the assault charge.

Beebout has been working behind bars to legally change his name to Yunus Mohammed, to reflect his faith.

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