"You can go straight to hell," a father tells John Gardner III at his sentencing

By Howard Breuer
May 14, 2010 05:45 PM
Credit: Lenny Ignelzi/AP

John Gardner III shuddered and cried at his sentencing Friday as the parents of the two girls he murdered lined up to tell him how he destroyed their lives.

“You took a bright shining star from this community and for what purpose? To serve your sick, twisted mind,” Carrie McGonigle, the mother of slain Amber Dubois, said Friday to Gardner, who was shackled and wearing a green jumpsuit. “I am confident that you will never make it to heaven.”

Gardner, 31, pleaded guilty April 16 in San Diego Superior Court to raping and murdering Dubois, 14, and Chelsea King, 17, and to assaulting Candice Moncayo, a 22-year-old jogger.

Life Without Parole

After he was arrested in the King case, Gardner told police where he’d buried Dubois last year. As part of a plea deal, he avoided the death penalty and will serve life in prison without parole.

“I hope you suffer a hundred times the amount of pain that we have suffered because of your crimes,” Amber’s father, Maurice Dubois, said in the packed courtroom.

RELATED: Amber Dubois’s Mom Confronts Daughter’s Murderer in Jail
After watching a video of Amber as a baby and a young child riding ponies, Gardner became increasingly tense.

When Moncayo ended her tearful statement by asking Gardner, How his nose is, alluding to her story that she elbowed him hard in the nose as she successfully struggled to get away during the December attack, Gardner became enraged, pulled at his restraints and told his attorneys, She didn t hit me.

Another video showed King as a cheerleader at Poway High School, celebrating New Years Eve with her friends, doing sleepovers. An essay by King was recited in which she wrote ,”I must not live in fear of my own mortality, and succumb to the complacency of society, but rather sap each ounce of life out of my own fleeting existence and live what I believe to be a noble life.”

"Go Straight to Hell"

Chelsea’s father, Brent King, told the packed courtroom: “I am filled with a rage I didn’t believe I could possess for this man,” King said. “I have called you monster, sociopath, serial killer and animal. … You can go straight to hell, and I will pray every night that God shows you no mercy.”

Kelly King, Chelsea’s mother, told Gardner: “Look at me!” but he didn’t. “Why am I not surprised,” King added.

She said the families will work for reforms in the legal system to protect other families from criminals like Gardner.

“You have not defeated me,” King told Gardner. “As Chelsea tells me every morning, ‘We have important things to do today, mom. Very important things to do.'”