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March 7, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Seattle college student held in slaying of parents in California

Ashton Sachs (Orange County District Attorney's Office)

Ashton Sachs (Orange County District Attorney’s Office)

SANTA ANA, Calif. — A North Seattle Community College student has been charged with murder in the shooting deaths of his parents and the attempted murder of two of his siblings in their luxury Southern California home in February, authorities said Friday.

Ashton Sachs, 19, was arrested Thursday and booked into an Orange County jail, said sheriff’s investigator Justin Montano. He is being held without bail.

Sachs has been charged with two felony counts of special-circumstances murder for multiple murders, two felony counts of attempted murder with premeditation and deliberation, and sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a firearm causing death, personal use of a firearm causing bodily injury, and causing paralysis, according to a news release from the district attorney’s office.

If he is convicted, Sachs would be eligible for the death penalty, the release says.

The arrest comes after Bradford Sachs, 57, and Andra Sachs, 54, were fatally shot in their nearly 9,000-square-foot San Juan Capistrano home on Feb. 9. Their 8-year-old son was also shot and critically injured. He survived but was paralyzed in the shooting, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Sachs is also accused of attempting to murder of a 17-year-old sister.

Investigators combed the home but initially found no signs of a break-in and little evidence leading them to a suspect. After a monthlong probe, Montano said they have recovered what they believe to be the murder weapon and they think the 19-year-old acted alone.

“To us, it was a true whodunit in the beginning,” Montano told reporters in Santa Ana.

Investigators have yet to identify a motive.

The couple, who had five children, filed for divorce more than a decade ago but continued to live and conduct business together. Over the years, they faced a number of lawsuits related to their business dealings, the Orange County Register reported.

Montano released few details about the shooting except that the victims apparently were shot while they were sleeping.

The suspect was arrested in San Diego County and taken to the Sheriff’s Department for questioning. Sachs, who has been enrolled in college in Seattle since last fall, was later booked into jail in neighboring Orange County, where he awaits a scheduled court appearance on Monday.

Montano said investigators spoke with Sachs “at length” after his arrest. He declined to say what the suspect told them.

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