VICTORVILLE (AP) — A man who helped shoot a teenage couple in an abandoned Air Force bunker in the Mojave Desert was sentenced Tuesday to 50 years to life in prison.
David Brian Smith, 28, was sentenced two weeks after pleading guilty to murder, avoiding a potential death sentence for his role in the 2008 killings. He will be eligible for parole.
Another man, Cameron Thomason, 25, received a 15-year sentence. He was the lookout during the killings, prosecutors said. He pleaded guilty in 2011 to voluntary manslaughter and attempted robbery.
Christopher Thompson, 18, of Apple Valley, and Bodhisattva Sherzer-Potter, 16, of Helendale, had attended a birthday party with dozens of other people in the underground bunker in Helendale. The ruined bunker about 15 miles west of Barstow was a popular hangout spot that has since been demolished.
The couple stayed behind after the party broke up. Before dawn on Jan. 5, 2008, the sleeping couple was ordered out of their Jeep, taken to the bunker, forced to kneel and shot in the back of the head with a shotgun and rifle, authorities said.
Investigators at first had no motive for the killings. But less than two weeks later, they arrested Smith and Collin McGlaughlin, who had a history of emotional and mental problems and in social media posts obsessed about killing and referred to himself as an “equal opportunity merchant of death.”
Court records indicated that the victims were targeted for robbery and then killed after their attackers discovered they had no money.
In 2013, McGlaughlin pleaded guilty to murder, kidnapping and robbery. He is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.