EL CAJON, Calif., Aug. 15 (UPI) -- After apologizing in a tearful statement that was often rambling and unintelligible, 16-year-old Charles "Andy" Williams was sentenced to spend most of his adult life behind bars for last year's deadly shooting spree that killed two students and wounded 13 others at his suburban San Diego County high school.
Williams was 15 and the reported victim of bullying by some classmates when he pulled a handgun from his backpack and opened fire on the campus of Santana High School in Santee. Two boys were killed and 13 students and adults were wounded before Williams was subdued in a restroom by sheriff deputies.
"For what it is worth, I want to tell everyone that I'm sorry and I feel horrible about what happened," said Williams as he struggled through his statement prior to receiving the minimum sentence of 50 years-to-life in prison from San Diego County Superior Court Judge Herbert Exarhos; his first parole hearing will be in the year 2051.
Williams was charged as an adult and had pleaded guilty in June to two counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. He was ordered to serve his sentence in the adult state prison at Tehachapi.
Prosecutors had asked for more than 400 years in prison for Williams, saying that the "bullying" he received was actually nothing more than occasional teasing and needling.
"They flicked orange peels at him and he put a gun to a young man's head and pulled the trigger and then he stood there and reloaded his gun while the e student bled to death in front of him," Deputy District Attorney Kristen Anton told Exarhos.
A parade of victims and relatives of the two teenagers who were killed asked Exarhos to impose the harshest possible sentence on Williams, who sat glumly in glasses and a white dress shirt buttoned at the collar.
"My life was decided by one inch," said Ray Serrato, who was shot in the back during the March 5, 2001 shootings. "I could have died that day and I didn't. But in a way, I did. I lost my best friend. The only thing that has kept me alive was friends, family -- the community."
Serrato's friend, 17-yar-old Randy Gordon, was killed in the gunfire along with Bryan Zuckor, 14.
The shooting spree came two years after the April, 1999 rampage at Columbine High School in which two students teamed up to gun down a dozen fellow students and one teacher.
(Reported by Hil Anderson in Los Angeles)