Santa Cruz judge sentences Steven Carrillo to life without parole – Santa Cruz Sentinel

SANTA CRUZ – Former US Air Force Sgt. Steven Carrillo will serve his sentence in a California prison, without the possibility of parole or appeal, a Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge said on Friday.

  • Steven Carrillo is being brought to Judge Paul Burdick’s courtroom in Santa Cruz on Friday to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2020 murder of Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller. (Shmuel Thaler – Sentinel of Santa Cruz)

  • Security for law enforcement has been reinforced in Santa Cruz...

    Law enforcement security was tightened at the Santa Cruz County Courthouse on Friday for the sentencing of Boogaloo Boy adherent Steven Carrillo, convicted of the 2020 murder of the Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller. (Shmuel Thaler – Sentinel of Santa Cruz)

  • Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Sgt.  Damon Gutzwiller's widow, Favi Del...

    Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller’s widow, Favi Del Real, cries in court Friday during the sentencing of Steven Carrillo for the 2020 murder of Gutzwiller. (Shmuel Thaler — Santa Cruz Sentinel) MAGAZINES RELEASED WITHOUT PERMISSION

  • -Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart, center, attends Friday's sentencing...

    –Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart, center, attends Friday’s sentencing of Steven Carrillo for the 2020 murder of the Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller. (Shmuel Thaler – Sentinel of Santa Cruz)

Carrillo, 34, formerly of Ben Lomond, shot and killed the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller during a firefight with law enforcement at the Waldeberg Road homestead on June 6, 2020. Carrillo, who is part of an extremist and violent anti-government and anti-US forces movement “Boogaloo” order, also attempted to murder five other people, including Ramponi, Deputy Alex Spencer, two California Highway Patrol officers, and Patzke, all charges he admitted as part of a plea on June 27.

Friday’s sentence was handed down before a courtroom packed with family members, friends and colleagues of Gutzwiller, as well as those injured by Carrillo and their supporters. Two additional courtrooms were set aside for attendees from the surplus community to listen in as several emotional victim statements were read aloud.

Carrillo, seated between defense attorneys Mark Briscoe and Larry Biggam, faced the front of the courtroom and walked away from the speaker’s podium throughout the hearing. The two exceptions were when Deputy Emma Ramponi and Sam Patzke addressed the court, the only two who interacted directly with Carrillo on June 6, 2020, and did not have their statements read by others.

“There is no justice for what you have done,” said Fabiola Del Real, Gutzwiller’s partner and mother of his two young children. “There will never be justice. They could kill you a million times over and that would never be enough.

Patzke, a Ben Lomond man who had until now been publicly referred to as the unnamed “John Doe,” helped apprehend Carrillo after finding the man hiding inside the play structure at his property. Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Paul Burdick told Patzke the community owed him a “significant debt” for confronting and subduing the gunman.

“I was very scared that day. When I attacked the defendant, I didn’t want to die, but I was willing to risk my life to protect my loved ones and those around me,” Patzke said. “The deputies who answered the call that day were also putting their lives on the line to protect our community. They rushed to put themselves between the people of our county and an active shooter.

Patzke described Carrillo as a narcissist who appeared to show no regret for his actions immediately following the June 2020 shooting or in subsequent hearings. Carrillo alternately lectured Patzke about his political leanings and perceived societal issues and physically threatened him with weapons, including guns, a pipe bomb and a knife, Patzke said.

Dorie Spencer also spoke at the hearing, which read words from her husband, Deputy Alex Spencer. As she detailed Carrillo’s violent ambush and the moment Alex Spencer bent down to grab his sergeant, Gutzwiller, “and realized he was dead,” Del Real sobbed silently, his head lowered. Spencer’s account went on to describe how Carrillo fled the property in a sedan and rammed the already injured Spencer, allowing the deputy to see “pure hatred and evil” in Carrillo’s eyes.

Carrillo will serve his sentence concurrently with a 41-year federal murder sentence handed down in May for fatally shooting Federal Protective Services Officer Patrick Underwood and injuring another officer during a Black Lives Matter event on May 29. May 2020 in Oakland.

Burdick said that although Carrillo had already served 812 days in prison, those days would not reduce the time he would spend “within the limits of the California Department of Corrections”.

“I know that many people directly affected would have preferred to see a consecutive sentence on each of these counts,” Burdick said at the end of Friday’s hearing. “I am aware that this could have been symbolically significant in expressing the community’s outrage and condemnation for the conduct of the accused and the murderous acts of terrorism and repairing the irreparable harm you all have suffered. But the law has recognized that in the end, Mr. Carrillo has only one life to live.

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