O.C. man sentenced to life in prison for killing parents in 2014

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)

An Orange County man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Friday in a Santa Ana courtroom for the killing of his parents and attempted murder of his siblings in 2014.

Ashton Colby Sachs, 22, pleaded guilty last month to killing his parents while they slept in their San Juan Capistrano mansion before trying to kill his sister and 8-year-old brother, who was left paralyzed from the shooting.

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 he was the least favorite of the couple’s five children, sheriff’s investigator Justin Montano testified in court papers. On Feb. 9, 2014, Sachs had gone four nights without sleep, according to court papers.

He scaled the wall of his parents’ hillside mansion in the 32200 block of Peppertree Bend, and with a rifle in hand walked through the front door.

Officials said he contemplated suicide inside the home 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 and 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 described the family life as dark and turbulent, with multiple arguments and physical behavior in front of the children.

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Times staff writer Matt Hamilton contributed to this report.