Allen Ivanov in court on Jan. 12, 2017.
Ian Terry/The Herald via AP
January 13, 2017 04:16 PM

Facing a judge on Thursday, a Washington man said “Satan was in control” when he opened fire at a house party in July, killing his ex-girlfriend and two others.

Allen Christopher Ivanov, 20, made his remarks in court just before he was sentenced to life in prison for the triple murders of Anna Bui, Jordan Ebner and Jake Long, all 19, PEOPLE confirms. Bui had ended her relationship with Ivanov shortly before the shooting last summer.

Before she sentenced Ivanov, Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis told him, “You deserve to be separated from society for the rest of your life and you shall.”

Ivanov admitted in December to using a recently purchased AR-15-style rifle to commit the July 30 murders at a party in Mukilteo, Washington, about 25 miles north of Seattle.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the deaths, plus two counts of attempted murder for shooting at other attendees, according to charging documents obtained by PEOPLE.

Speaking publicly for the first time, Ivanov told the victims’ grieving families in court Thursday that he regretted his actions, but he couldn’t explain himself.

“How could I have done this? I could not say,” Ivanov said, reading from a piece of paper. Recalling the evening “that ruined my life,” he told the court he was feeling “hopeless, suicidal and outraged with jealousy” when he gunned down his ex and two former classmates.

Ivanov waived his right to appeal his sentence when he pleaded guilty in December to avoid facing the death penalty, court officials tell PEOPLE. His defense attorney could not be reached for comment.

Efforts to reach the victims’ families were unsuccessful. But the Seattle Times reports that several expressed their pain in court.

“Allen Ivanov has stolen so much from so many people,” said Jake Long’s mom, Autumn Snider. She brought an urn with her son’s ashes.

“Three innocent people are dead because Allen killed them,” Snider said, according to the Times. “This is what I have left of my son — ashes in an urn that sits on my mantle. Jake is gone, he is dead, and Allen killed him.”

A Jilted Ex Opens Fire

Investigators said Ivanov was furious with Bui — who had refused to give their relationship a second chance — and started stalking her before the killings that July night.

Ivanov stood outside the house party for several hours before he started pulling the trigger of his rifle, he said in court. He said that he “couldn’t control” his emotions that evening.

Another party guest was shot, but survived, when Ivanov opened fire on the home before heading inside to find Bui.

“I want to apologize wholeheartedly to all those whose lives I’ve taken,” he said Thursday before naming his four victims. “And all those whose lives have been darkened by my actions.”

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He told the court he could never have committed the murders with his bare hands and said he “wished” he had never been sold the gun he used. The court gallery reacted with audible scoffs.

“Anna visits me in my dreams and talks to me all the time,” Ivanov told the court before proclaiming that his love for her will never wane.

He was arrested nearly 100 miles away from the crime scene about 90 minutes after the shooting, and in an affidavit following his arrest, police wrote, “Ivanov states that everything that went on tonight was about a girl.”

Shooter Wrote Rap Lyrics About the Killings

Several people who spoke Thursday said they doubted the sincerity of Ivanov’s words, noting how he had penned rap lyrics while in jail, bragging about killing Bui.

“I knew she knew who I was ’cause I saw her face right before I pulled the trigger,” he wrote.

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The Times reports Alex Levine, who was at the house party, also spoke to the court with a therapy dog by his side. He said he’s tormented by the memories of that night — particularly seeing three friends dead on the floor.

“At the age of 19, I had to attend the funerals of three of my friends in the span of three weeks,” he said.

David Bui, Anna’s brother, said, “The last time I saw her she was going out. The next time she was in a coffin.”

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