A 22-year-old man who pleaded guilty in September to the shooting deaths of his parents as they slept and the attempted killing of his eight-year-old brother, who was left paralyzed after the attack, was sentenced on Friday to four life terms in prison.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregg L. Prickett sentenced Ashton Sachs to four life sentences, two without the possibility of parole, as well as an additional 100 years in prison for use of a firearm, according to the Orange County Register.
Sachs had abruptly changed his plea to guilty on September 20, heading off what was sure to be a sensational trial in the upscale Southern California community of Santa Ana.
Ashton Sachs, who killed his parents and tried to kill two siblings in 2014 sits in court listening to his sentence of four lifetimes plus 100 years in prison
Sachs suddenly pleaded guilty in September 20, heading off what would have been a hugely sensational trial
Sachs did not explain his motivations for the shocking violence in court. When asked if he wanted to speak, he shook his head no, reported the outlet.
In making the case for his life sentence, Prickett pointed out Sachs’ premeditation of the crime as well as the many chances he had to alter the course of the evening, as well as the amount of times he shot his parents – his father a dozen times, his mother ten times.
He also shot his eight-year-old brother, who is now paralyzed, and tried to shoot his 17-year-old sister, who was not harmed.
Lisa McGowan, sister of Brad Sachs, told her nephew ‘I can’t forgive you today’
Sachs, wearing a white yarmulke, did not as for forgiveness in court and declined to speak
Asked for a motivation for the killings, Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray said, ‘[It’s] as simple as his being a sociopath.’
‘The defendant is a sociopath. He has no remorse, no empathy. All he cares about is himself. He is a manipulator,’ Murray told the judge, according to CBS News.
Sachs was 19 and a college student when he drove from Seattle to his family’s luxury home in San Juan Capistrano in February 2014.
Around 2am, dressed in dark clothes, Sachs shot and killed his sleeping parents, Bradford Sachs, 57, and Andra Sachs, 54, in their beds in the six-bedroom, eight-bath, 8,784-square-foot house before shooting his sleeping little brother, Landon, and firing at his also sleeping 17-year-old sister, Alexis, who wasn’t hit.
Another sister, 15-year-old Lana, who was sleeping in her room with three dogs, was spared an attack, reported Orange Coast Magazine.
Older brother Myles, then 21, was not home.
Ashton Sachs, 22, entered his guilty plea to two counts each of murder and attempted murder for the February 2014 shooting spree at his family’s multimillion-dollar home in Orange County, California
Ashton drove 18 hours straight from Seattle to his family’s $2.5million luxury home and said he spent 15 minutes pacing outside his parents’ bedroom (Andra left, Brad right) deciding what to do before killing them
This was the luxury residence of Bradford and Andra Sachs in San Juan Capistrano, California
Landon, who was eight at the time, was paralyzed from the chest down. Alexis wasn’t hurt.
In the weeks following the attack, Sachs acted shocked and hysterical, and spent each day by his brother’s side in hospital.
‘He would cry and say, “Landon is eight years old and he doesn’t have a dad,”‘ Sarah Verbeek, a former girlfriend, told People last year. ‘He’d say, “I can’t believe somebody killed my parents.”‘
Ashton, who had no previous run-ins with the law, was arrested in March 2014 after police determined he was the ‘lone suspect’ in the murder.
They found a semi-automatic weapon in his car and phone records placed him in the area around the time.
Two weeks after the shooting, Ashton (left) and his brother Myles (right) filed for custody of their adopted siblings, Landon and Lana
What still remains a mystery however is why he did it, especially to those who knew the young man.
‘I don’t have a reason why. Just a lot of problems,’ Ashton initially told authorities.
‘He never showed any signs of aggression or threatened to hurt someone,’ said Verbeek.
‘He wasn’t that kid seen on TV crime documentaries that secludes himself and doesn’t talk to anyone. He never spoke bad about his family. He never talked about guns. Nothing.’
However, while Murray pointed out at the sentencing that Ashton was ‘raised in a loving family and had a life of privilege,’ he also noted some earlier disturbing signs of potential violence to come, including the teen being caught at school with a knife, and shooting animals and birds, according to the Orange County Register.
At age five, Ashton dealt with the accidental drowning in a swimming pool of a baby sister, Sabrina, reported the Orange County Register. Brad and Andra Sachs had gone through a bitter divorce in 2000, but continued to live and work together. At one point, Brad said in court documents he had left the household to get away from Andra’s ‘raging’ and accused her of having ‘manic sessions.’
There were accusations of domestic violence between both of them.
The only family member to speak at the sentencing, Lisa McGowan, who was Brad Sachs’ sister, told her nephew: ‘You had a choice, Ashton. You had apparently been thinking about what you were going to do for a long time. … I’ve been told by my friends and family that I need to forgive you. Well, I can’t forgive you today.’
McGowan said the family on both sides opposed the death penalty for Ashton, saying it would just compound the tragedy, reports CBS News.
Ashton’s brother, Myles, had a representation read a statement in court which thanked prosecutors and police but completely ignored Ashton and his actions. According to CBS News, it seemed to be the only time during the hearing that Ashton reacted, seemingly trying to stop himself from an outburst.
While Ashton’s motive initially focused on the teen wanting to inherit his parents’ estate, it eventually settled into something more vague and incomprehensible.
‘I couldn’t even remember,’ Ashton told interrogators about the night. ‘It was just a rush… I was not myself. I don’t know. I was something twisted.’
Detectives told the Orange County Register that Sachs said he didn’t trust his parents and that they had made him feel bad by favoring his siblings, two of whom, Landon and Lana, were adopted from Russia.
Sachs had stopped going to school and was spending time smoking marijuana and playing video games, he told police.
‘When you look into it and peel the onion of this case, it comes down to his resentment of his parents, his resentment of his brothers, and … that’s what drove him to commit these murders,’ case agent Justin Montano told CBS News.