A 24-year-old Army specialist was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for fatally shooting two fellow soldiers and kidnapping their baby.

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD — A 24-year-old Army specialist was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for fatally shooting two fellow soldiers and kidnapping their baby.

Relatives of the victims, Staff Sgt. Timothy Miller and his wife, Sgt. Randi Miller, cried and let out an audible gasp of relief as the military judge announced the sentence. The families later declined to comment to reporters.

Originally, Spec. Ivette Gonzalez Davila could have faced the death penalty had she been convicted of premeditated murder during her court martial. However, the government agreed to take capital punishment off the table Monday in exchange for her guilty plea to two counts of murder, kidnapping and obstruction of justice.

The pleas meant Davila was already facing life in prison. Military Judge Col. Stephen Henley spent a day and a half listening to testimony during the penalty phase of the court martial before ruling that Davila should not be eligible for parole.

Henley also said Davila will be dishonorably discharged from the Army. She will be held at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor’s Brig and Correctional Custody Unit until the Army determines where she will be imprisoned.

Davila admitted killing her friends Timothy Miller, 27, and Randi Miller, 25, on March 2, 2008, in their Parkland home and taking their 6-month-old daughter, Kassidy.

Davila, a specialist in the I Corps and a member of the Fort Lewis color guard, said Tuesday that she had no explanation for her actions. She said she spent considerable time thinking about the slayings, “but I have no answers to the question everybody wants to know: Why? I can only continue to try to understand and think about this, and the pain that I’ve caused, for the rest of my life.”

Dr. Robert Smith, a clinical psychologist and addiction specialist who interviewed Davila, said on Tuesday that he diagnosed Davila as having schizo-typal personality disorder, which is marked by odd and peculiar behavior.

Smith said that before the slayings Davila had become obsessed with a soldier who had introduced her to the Millers as close friends.

The soldier considered his relationship with Davila to be casual, Smith said, but “she thought that if she could keep him, everything would be great.”

When he pulled away, telling her he did not want a relationship with her and referred to her as a “crazy stalker,” she clung closer to the Millers, Smith said.

“As [he] pulled away from Ivette, she believed she could stay close to him by being close to them. The Millers became very important because they were her link to [him],” Smith said.

Defense counsel, Major Carol Brewer, said Davila had been a “damaged” child who grew into a damaged and mentally ill adult, one who continued to lock herself in her closet and play with dolls even as a soldier.

“He had moved on, but she couldn’t accept it,” Brewer said of Davila’s former boyfriend.

Davila said Monday that somehow her anger toward her boyfriend evolved into a determination to kill the Millers.

During a visit to the couple’s home, Davila shot Randi Miller in the bedroom. She then killed her husband while he was in the shower, court papers said.

After the slayings, Davila cleaned the crime scene and took the couple’s baby to Home Depot, where she purchased muriatic acid, according to court papers. Davila then returned to the home dragged Randi Miller’s body into the bathtub and poured the acid on both bodies “to get rid of them,” court documents say.

She took the baby to her barracks at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where she told a fellow soldier she was caring for the child because she had killed the Millers, according to court documents that were originally filed in Pierce County Superior Court before the Army asserted jurisdiction over the case.

Kassidy, who is now nearly 3, is being raised by Timothy Miller’s mother.

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or cclarridge@seattletimes.com

Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.