A former handyman accused of shooting an elderly Chadds Ford couple who he said he thought had poisoned his coffee will not face the death penalty in part from the request of the victims' family members, prosecutors said.

If Walter James Rosengarth, 67, is found guilty of the most serious charge, first-degree murder, he would face life in prison in the December 2002 deaths of Miles Warner and his wife, Mary, both 81, Delaware County Deputy District Attorney James Mattera said Thursday.

Rosengarth stood quietly at his arraignment. When asked how he was pleading, his attorney, David Sigismonti, said his client would stand mute. Judge Robert C. Wright entered a plea of not guilty.

Sigismonti has said he will pursue an insanity defense. Rosengarth is serving an 18- to 36-year sentence for shooting and wounding two Chester County sheriff's deputies who came to his home to serve an eviction notice in 2003. Assistant District Attorney Joseph Brielmann said factors considered in the decision not to seek the death penalty included the wishes of the victims' relatives. - AP