Originally published Friday, August 10, 2018 at 05:15a.m.

Toledo, Ohio (AP) – A judge is allowing the release of an inmate who confessed to killing three people in Ohio during a string of murders in the 1980s.

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(Photo: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction)

The judge on Thursday ruled that a decades-old plea deal requires the court to release 59-year-old Nathanial Cook now that he’s finished serving 20 years.

Lucas County Judge Linda Jennings said that she looked for a way to keep Cook in prison, but she couldn’t find one.

The agreement forced Cook and his brother to confess to raping and killing young women during a string of eight murders in the Toledo area during the 1980s.

Families of the victims say the confessions from the Cook brothers gave them needed answers, but they wrote letters asking the judge to stop Nathaniel Cook’s release.