'Sociopath' Ashton Sachs Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murdering His Parents at 19
On Friday, Ashton Sachs received two life sentences without the possibility of parole for his parents' murders in 2014
“The defendant is a sociopath,” Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray told an Orange County, California, judge at Sachs’ sentencing Friday.
“He has no remorse or empathy. All he cares about is himself.”
Sachs, now 22, previously pleaded guilty to the first-degree murders of his parents, 57-year-old Brad and Andra Sachs, 54. The couple was shot to death in the bedroom of their $2.5 million luxury home, in the ritzy Orange County beach community of San Juan Capistrano, on Feb. 9, 2014.
On Friday, Ashton received two life sentences without the possibility of parole for their murders and an additional 50 years for using a firearm.
Ashton was armed with an automatic rifle when he shot his mother 10 times and his father 12 times, including once in the face.
Ashton additionally received two life sentences plus an additional 50 years for the attempted murders of his then-8-year-old brother, Landon, and his then-17-year-old sister, Alexis, who narrowly missed a bullet to her head as she hid under her bed sheets. Landon was left paralyzed in the rampage.
A shackled Ashton, dressed in orange prison scrubs, sat quietly at his sentencing when Brad’s sister, his aunt, addressed him.
“When Brad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, I thought I would outlive my brother,” Lisa McGowan said. “But you decided to cut his life short.”
McGowan told Ashton that she had no room for forgiveness: “At this time I can’t forgive you. Maybe some day, but not today.”
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Last month, Ashton, who was representing himself after he fired his attorney, abruptly pleaded guilty to the special circumstances murder and attempted murder charges. He gave no indication why he chose to change his plea.
Ashton told police he hatched the plot to kill his parents and then himself four or five days before the shooting.
Armed with a semiautomatic rifle and a shoe box filled with ammunition, he drove 20 hours from Seattle to a commercial building his mother owned on Feb. 8. He waited in his white Toyota Prius for two hours before he drove to his parents’ mansion.
He walked through the unlocked front door and paced around upstairs for what he says was 15 minutes, “thinking about what to do, whether to go through with it, go home [or] kill himself right there,” police said.
After Ashton shot his family, he took a taxi to John Wayne Airport in nearby Santa Ana, California, and was back in Seattle the following morning.
‘I Gave Him a Hug After He Killed Them’
At his parents’ funeral a week later, no one appeared more distraught than Ashton.
“I was sitting next to him and he was crying hysterically,” Andra’s sister, Lesley Summers, told PEOPLE, in a previous interview. “He got up there and gave a speech. He talked about how he loved his parents, and how he hated his parents but mended his relationship with them.”
Ashton later joined forces with his brother Myles to get custody of his younger siblings and kept nightly vigils at Landon’s hospital bedside.
High school friend Jeremy Wentz saw him at the hospital cafeteria the morning after the shooting. “I hugged him and told him to let me know if he needed anything,” Wentz previously told PEOPLE. “I gave him a hug after he killed them.”
At first, theories abounded about the slayings. There was speculation that they were the result of a shady business deal or a legal dispute.
WATCH: What Made Honors Student Ashton Sachs Kill His Parents?
Andra had a real estate empire that was reportedly worth close to $80 million. However, she was planning on scaling back the business to care for Brad, a former champion surfer, who had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Even Ashton weighed in on the case: He was eager to cooperate with the police and offered detectives several names of former business partners as possible suspects.
As investigators worked the case, the family lived in fear, wondering if the killer would return to finish them off.
“There was security at the funeral, because at that point they didn’t know if it was a professional hit or someone who wasn’t finished,” Andra’s childhood friend Ruth Briscoe told PEOPLE in a previous interview.
But the police investigation closed in on Ashton.
As the evidence mounted — including a semiautomatic rifle found in his Prius and phone records placing him in the area at the time of the murders — investigators pushed him to offer his side of the story, to “give a reason why,” according to grand jury testimony in the case.
Ashton eventually cracked. Asked by police why he did it, he replied simply, “I don’t have a reason why. Just a lot of problems.”
He told detectives he had stopped attending classes, was spending his days smoking marijuana and playing video games. He blamed his parents for his depression and “messed-up life” and claimed that they hadn’t taken his previous suicide attempt seriously, adding that he was “the least favorite child in the family.”
Asked why he shot Landon, he responded, “I don’t know.”
After Ashton was arrested, police found a number of Wikipedia articles on his cell phone on degrees of murder, attempted and felony murder and an insanity defense.
At the sentencing this week, Murray said Ashton was raised in a loving family, but he showed signs of trouble. “There were problems with the defendant and the way he thought,” Murray said. He was found with a knife at school. He was found shooting birds.”
Murray said Ashton had every opportunity to lead a productive life, but he squandered it and that his alleged plan to kill himself instead of his parents was all a lie.
“No one kills themselves with a rifle,” Murray said.
Ashton chose not to address the court but seemed chatty with his court-appointed private investigator before he was led away by deputies to start his life sentence.