O.C. mansion-murder: Man, 22, pleads guilty to killing parents, shooting siblings in 2014 rampage

An Orange County sheriff's investigator examines property near the San Juan Capistrano cul-de-sac where Hans and Andra Sachs were killed. Their son, Ashton, pleaded guilty Tuesday to their murders.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A college dropout from Orange County pleaded guilty Tuesday to killing his parents while they slept in their San Juan Capistrano mansion before trying to kill his sister and brother, who was left paralyzed from the shooting.

Ashton Sachs, 22, entered his guilty plea in a Santa Ana courtroom to two counts each of murder and attempted murder from the 2014 slayings, according to an Orange County Superior Court clerk.

His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 14. He is expected to get life in prison without the possibility of parole.


Before the February 2014 rampage, Sachs, then 19, was living in Seattle, where he had briefly attended college. He reportedly spent his days smoking marijuana, playing video games and harboring a festering resentment for his parents.

He blamed his parents — Bradford Hans Sachs, 57, and Andra Resa Sachs, 54 — for his lack of direction and felt the least favorite of the couple’s five children, sheriff’s Investigator Justin Montano testified in court papers.

Sachs was running on four nights without sleep onFeb. 9, 2014, according to court papers. He scaled the wall of his parents’ tony hillside mansion in the 32200 block of Peppertree Bend, and with a rifle in hand, he walked through the front door.

Officials said he contemplated suicide inside the home — he had a history of trying to kill himself — but instead opened the door to his parents’ bedroom and fired multiple gunshots.

He shot twice into his 8-year-old brother’s room. In his teenage sister’s bedroom, he fired a single shot before leaving the home, where detectives eventually recovered 24 bullet casings.


Sachs walked back to his Toyota Prius and drove to his parents’ business in San Juan Capistrano. A taxi picked him up, took him to John Wayne Airport and he returned to Seattle, according to a grand jury transcript.

It took nearly a month for authorities to link him to the grisly rampage.

Detectives testified that when they searched Sachs’ phone as part of their investigation, they discovered he had looked up Wikipedia articles on the different degrees of murder, searched for flights out of John Wayne Airport and made arrangements to have his car transported back to Seattle.

Investigators later found Sachs’ Prius and a loaded rifle.

The Sachses were divorced but still lived together. Court records portrayed the family life as dark and turbulent, with multiple arguments and physical behavior in front of their children.

Twitter: @MattHjourno.



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