OGDEN -- Jacob Ethridge was sentenced to consecutive 20-years-to-life prison terms Monday for fatally shooting two women in the early hours of a July day as he fantasized about becoming a serial killer.
Killed by single shots to the head were Teresa Rene Tingey, 43, and Rosanna Marie Cruz, 25. They were prostitutes working Adams Avenue in the area of 26th and 24th streets who unfortunately solicited Ethridge.
In his confession hours after the July 13, 2008, slayings, released by authorities at the Oct. 28 hearing where his plea negotiation was announced, Ethridge told police he'd been pondering a killing spree for more than a year.
The thrill he expected wasn't there, he told Ogden Police Detective Tim Scott. "It wasn't what I expected. I didn't think I would feel remorse, and I do."
He had driven to his parents' house in Roy immediately after the slayings, changed his clothes and told them what he'd done. His father had him put the blood-spattered clothes back on and took him to the Ogden Police Department, where he confessed again to detectives.
In return for the guilty pleas, the prosecution agreed not to seek the death penalty, canceling a Nov. 1 trial that would have taken up the whole month.
Prosecutors also agreed not to seek a life-without-parole sentence in return for the defense making no sentencing recommendations.
On Monday, after almost six hours of testimony on Ethridge's psychological problems, which led to his discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps and the Utah Police Academy, Deputy Weber County Attorney Gary Heward commented on seeing Ethridge's vehicle in the Ogden Police Department parking lot the day of the homicides.
It was festooned with decals of a bulldog's head, a skull with wings, a Superman logo and more, plus a reference to Ethridge's status as a Marine Corps marksman.
Slogans included "One Shot, One Kill" and "I don't have a license to kill. But I do have a learner's permit."
"Sometimes the vehicle you drive and the stickers you put on them can tell a lot about someone," Heward said.
After all the psychological testimony, family members of the slain women addressed 2nd District Court Judge W. Brent West and Ethridge.
"I don't hate you, dude," Tingey's brother Jim Parks told Ethridge, 33.
"I know there's some good in you. I just want you to know about the pain you caused. I just wanted to look you in the face ... God's in control of everything."
A victim-witness advocate from the county attorney's office read a statement into the record from Cruz's mother, Lillie Mae Torres, who is in ailing health in Florida.
"I hope every day of your life is a living hell," she wrote. "... My god says I should forgive you, but I can't. You do owe me and everyone else you hurt. Rosa was coming home to me in four days. Instead, she came home in a little box."
Tingey's brother Phil Wagner lamented the fact her three children now have "no one to turn to when only a mother's love will do."
Ethridge attempted an apology to his and the victims' families, all assembled in the courtroom, but it only came out in fits and starts as he choked up, needing long, tearful pauses.
Reading from a sheet of paper folded in his manacled hands, he said, "So much has been lost ... children have lost their mother, my children have lost their father, my mom and dad ..."
The last sentence he couldn't finish as his father, a large, barrel-chested man, was crying uncontrollably, his face buried in a handkerchief as his wife tried to comfort him.
Ethridge made it into the Marine Corps shortly after high school, even achieving marksman status. But psychological testing found him prone to both suicidal and homicidal ideation that led to his discharge.
That was followed by a similar exit from Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST, also known as The Academy.
The same diagnosis prevailed after other cadets at the academy reported Ethridge for saying such things as he was looking forward to his law enforcement career as a chance "to beat on people."
At issue through much of Monday's hearing was whether Ethridge had stopped taking his various medications for depression and anxiety when he shot the women.
His two bottles of meds delivered to the jail after his arrest still had pills, the number of which the prosecution claimed indicated he was still taking them.
In announcing sentence, West, in addition to the consecutive 20-years-to-life terms, ordered another year to be served consecutively for an assault charge that came inside Weber County Jail in December 2008.
He gave Ethridge credit against his sentence for the 883 days he has spent in jail.
"If you are ever, ever, considered for parole," West said, "I'm going to recommend to the Board of Pardons that you be ordered to pay restitution to the families" for burial expenses estimated at just more than $7,800.