A North Seattle Community College student has been charged with murder and attempted murder after his parents were found dead and his 8-year-old brother was seriously wounded in their Southern California home last month, officials there say.
Ashton Sachs, 19, was detained Thursday in the San Diego area after a monthlong investigation and booked into Orange County jail, according to the Sheriff’s Department there. He’s being held without bail.
Bradford Sachs, 57, and Andra Sachs, 54, were found dead from gunshot wounds in their San Juan Capistrano home shortly after 2 a.m. Feb. 9, the Sheriff’s Office said. Their 8-year-old son was also found in the residence with serious injuries that resulted in paralysis. Ashton Sachs attempted to shoot his sister but she was not hurt, according to court papers.
Sachs has been charged with two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder, court papers say. He faces sentencing enhancements for multiple slayings, use of a firearm causing death, discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury and causing brain injury and paralysis.
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If convicted, he’d be eligible for the death penalty, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said.
Sachs is accused of traveling from Seattle to California with the intention of killing his family, the District Attorney’s Office said in a release. According to court papers, he entered the family home with a firearm and shot his parents as they slept, then entered his 8-year-old brother’s room and wounded him.
Sachs is accused of subsequently returning to Seattle, according to a news release.
The Sheriff’s Department called the subsequent investigation complex. There was no forced entry and the incident appeared isolated to the residence. Initially, investigators weren’t sure if the family was targeted. Investigators explored motives including the parents’ “current and past business relationships,” according to a February news release.
“To us, it was a true whodunit in the beginning,” Orange County sheriff’s investigator Justin Montano told reporters in Santa Ana, Calif.
After the monthlong investigation, investigators recovered what they believe to be the murder weapon, Montano said. Authorities believe Ashton Sachs acted alone. They have not identified a motive.
The parents were divorced but lived together in their nearly 9,000-square-foot home, the Sheriff’s Department said. They had five children, including two adopted from Russia after the divorce, according to The Orange County Register.
Ashton Sachs and his older brother filed a petition for guardianship of their three younger siblings, including the boy that was paralyzed, and their estate in San Diego County Feb. 24, according to court records.
Ashton Sachs has lived in Seattle since last fall and was a student at North Seattle Community College, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. His most recent Seattle address is listed as a 1,184-square-foot Lake City condo that sold for nearly $245,000. He has no criminal record in Washington, save for a speeding ticket in Kittitas County.
His arraignment is scheduled for Monday in Santa Ana, Calif.
Paige Cornwell: 206-464-2530