A former college student who killed his parents and shot his 8-year-old brother, who was left paralyzed, in the family’s San Juan Capistrano home about 2 1/2 years ago was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Ashton Colby Sachs, 22, was actually given multiple life prison terms by Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregg Prickett. Sachs pleaded guilty last month to two counts each of murder and attempted murder.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray said after the hearing that Sachs — who also tried but failed to shoot one of his sisters — would have to serve 100 years before he even began doing his life sentences.
The sentence “sends a very clear message to any governor” who might consider commuting the defendant’s punishment, the prosecutor said.
Sachs was 19 when he killed Bradford Hans Sachs, 57, and Andra Resa Sachs, 54, who were found dead about 2 a.m. Feb. 9, 2014, inside their home in the 32000 block of Peppertree Bend.
The defendant also shot his 8-year-old brother, Landon, and fired at — but missed, his 17-year-old sister, Alexis, authorities said.
A motive for the crime has never been determined.
But Murray had his own theory on the motive.
“It’s as simple as he’s a sociopath,” Murray told reporters after the hearing. “He was going to college, mom was paying for everything and the gravy train was probably going to come to an end.”
Murray told Prickett that Sachs wasn’t attending his college classes, preferring to “sit in his condo his mom bought him, smoking pot and playing X- Box all day.”
The defendant “was raised in a loving family and a life of privilege,” Murray told the judge.
Sachs ran into trouble in high school when he was found in possession of a knife, Murray said. “Shortly afterward, he was found shooting birds,” the prosecutor said.
He doesn’t buy the defendant’s claim that he was feeling suicidal at the time.
“The murder weapon was a rifle,” Murray said. “No one would kill themselves with a rifle when they could get a handgun.”
Murray said Sachs “had the audacity to eulogize his parents at their funeral.”
Murray also pointed out that Sachs decided to represent himself legally so he could get special privileges like phone use, which he used to “barter” with other inmates “to make three-way calls.”
When Prickett asked Sachs if he wanted to make a statement, he shook his head and said, “No, your honor.”
Prickett went over the details of the crime, pointing out that the defendant shot his father 12 times, including in the face; pumped 10 bullets into his mother; and shot his “younger, helpless brother” as he slept.
Sachs drove to Orange County from the Seattle area because he knew he could not get a gun on a flight, Prickett said. After the shootings, he caught a flight back to Seattle and arranged to have the car shipped back there, Prickett said.
Two of the murdered couple’s daughters were in the residence at the time of the shootings, but they were unable to identify the killer that night.
Sachs was acting as his own attorney when he decided to plead guilty — a move that caught prosecutors by surprise.
Sachs also admitted special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and sentence-enhancing allegations of the personal use of a firearm causing death, personal use of a gun causing bodily injury and causing paralysis.
Sachs’ court-appointed investigator, Alfredo Rasch, said the defendant pleaded guilty to spare his family any more anguish that a trial would bring.
“He wants his family to have peace,” Rasch told City News Service. “He wants to let it sleep, not because of him, but for his family.”
— City News Service