See the update at the end of Page 2 with the new arraignment date.
ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 19, 6:34 A.M.: A 19-year-old man is to be arraigned this morning on an indictment alleging he murdered his parents and tried to do the same to two siblings, causing the paralysis of his 8-year-old brother.
This is the case from that bitchen, $3.7 million hillside pad on Peppertree Bend in San Juan Capistrano, where Ashton Colby Sachs is accused of the fatal shootings of his 54-year-old mother Andra Sachs and 57-year-old father Bradford Sachs as they slept in the early morning hours of Feb. 9.
The Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA), whose lead prosecutor in the case Ebrahim Baytieh has alleged Ashton Sachs put much planning into the hits, could seek the death penalty for the defendant. Life without the possibility of parole in the best sentence the teen could hope for if convicted.
This was one unusual family.
Andra and Brad Sachs had two boys, oldest son Myles and Ashton, and two girls, oldest daughter Sabrina and Alexis. Sabrina drowned in the family swimming pool in Huntington Beach during the spring of 1999.
Brad Sachs sought a divorce in November 1999, accusing Andra of having psychological problems that made her impossible to live with. He wrote in court papers that he decided to move out of the family home to temper Andra's raging. She wrote in her own court papers tied to the divorce that no one in the family ever received the counseling they needed to deal with Sabrina's death.
Andra accused Brad of introducing his new girlfriend to the children soon after he moved out. She also referenced in court papers that Myles, then around 7, had seen his father and the girlfriend having sex.
On March 3, 2000, Newport Beach police arrested Brad Sachs on suspicion of domestic violence. Andra accused him of backing his car into hers and throwing her to the ground during a custody exchange of their three children. She claims she was knocked out, and later received a restraining order.
But the charge was later dismissed, and during the same year their divorce would become final the couple reconciled and moved back in together. They moved from Huntington Beach to a mansion in Laguna Beach and, finally, up there on Peppertree Bend, where neighbors knew them as "a loving couple."
Andra Sachs often traveled to Russia, where she would go on to adopt a brother and sister, Landon and Lana. All the Sachs were known as "the perfect family," which explains why neighbors were so shocked over the senseless violence–so shocked that sheriff's deputies had to reassure the surrounding community that they were not in danger, that this was an isolated incident.
The couple were entrepreneurs who started and lost many businesses. They also owned properties in Nevada, Florida, Mexico as well as commercial space near their Orange County home. Some tenants who rented space from the Sachs said they were very much disliked.
"Shocked, my stomach sank, and then I thought, 'I'm not surprised,'" tenant Ken Baum said at the time to KCBS/2, explaining things went sour for him as soon as he signed the contract to rent from the Sachs.
"Shady, underhanded, we don't like it, move, sue me, we don't care," Baum added. "And they also told us as soon we moved in, don't tell anybody we were here, don't tell anybody you know us, don't tell them our name, don't tell them this is our business next door to you, we don't want to be known."
The Sachs were reportedly known for frequently changing the names of their businesses.
Fausto Polanco posted a Ripoff Report Dec. 10, 2012, that described a residential property rental dispute he had with his landlord, Andra Sachs. He claimed at the time to have a $7,873.88 court judgment against Sachs "(a.k.a. Queen Andra, Queen of the Jungle, Queen of Green, Lanaland, LLC, and Lanalandon, LLC)" but did not get paid.
The Orange County Register reported Andra Sachs had a history of financial problems, at one point owing more than $1 million after several liens.
So many who dealt professionally with the Sachs were so down on the couple that homicide investigators initially focused on current and former business associates as possible suspects.
But there was no sign of forced entry at the Sachs home that fateful night. That's probably what caused investigators to track the movements of those who could easily enter and leave the premises.
Ashton Sachs attended Laguna Beach High School but graduated from Dana Hills High in Dana Point. He'd later enroll at Saddleback College. His Facebook profile indicates he once worked for Pageant of the Masters but more recently was a "repairtech" at Play N Trade Video Games. He was a League of Legends and World of Warcraft junkie who had no criminal record, only speeding tickets.
Lisa Bohlken, a real estate agent who works out of the Keller Williams Coronado office, knew Brad, Andra and Ashton Sachs from having helped the family buy a home on that idyllic San Diego County island. She never met Myles, but talked with him often on the phone.
That is because, before the murders, Ashton and Myles had moved to the Seattle area to attend college. The brothers registered several companies for their mother while up there, and investigators initially assumed that's where both were at the time of the tragedy, in which an apparent intruder shot and killed the Sachs, shot and paralyzed 8-year-old Landon and fired at but missed Alexis, 17. Lana, 15, was not shot at.
Prosecutors now accuse Ashton of having fled to Seattle after the shootings. Someone up there told the Register about trying to cheer up Ashton, but he did not seem very distraught about the killings.
Bohlken told Fox 5 San Diego that she had previously arranged through a phone call with Myles to get a key to the Coronado home to their contractor.
After the deaths of their parents, Myles and Ashton arranged to relocate their brother and sisters to the three-bedroom Coronado Cays home. Bohlken assumed at the time they were just following through on their mother's wishes.
"My heart goes out to the family and it's really hard to even wrap your mind around what happened," said Bohlken.
Myles and Ashton had filed a joint petition seeking guardianship of their siblings–before Ashton's March 6 arrest at the Coronado home. Deputies say they have recovered the murder weapon. Ashton has since been removed as a guardian.
He was indicted Monday by the Orange County Grand Jury on 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.
The Orange County District Attorney's office sought the indictment to speed-up court proceedings; with an indictment there is no need for a preliminary hearing. Ashton Colby Sachs, who is being held without bail, is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment at 9 a.m. in Santa Ana.
The motive? We still do not know.
UPDATE, JUNE 19, 5:45 P.M.: Ashton Sachs' arraignment was rescheduled for July 21 today.