A one-time family friend who stabbed a teen to death in a bloody melee involving knives and a samurai sword in Murrieta pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Friday and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
William Gary Simpson Jr., 22, had been facing the death penalty in the Dec. 20, 2011, attack that killed 18-year-old Saskia Burke. Her father, Paul Burke, and her boyfriend, 17-year-old Connor McCormack, were stabbed and seriously injured in a violent struggle.
Prosecutor Brandon Smith said Simpson admitted to first-degree murder and a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, and waived his right to appeal. Trial had been set for June.
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“In light of the defendant’s willingness to accept full responsibility for this horrific act without trial and the fact that he agreed to spend the rest of his young life in prison, we felt this disposition achieved our goals in this matter of justice for Saskia and public safety,” Smith said in a written statement. (Source)