As grieving loved-one after grieving loved-one spoke about the hole Zachary Craven's actions left in their lives, the Kent man sat in a King County courtroom Friday with a detached look on his face.
At times, the 27-year old Craven even rolled his eyes; similar behavior to what his victims’ family members witnessed at his murder trial in May.
“I’ve watched you smile and laugh, treating the trial like it’s a joke, like it’s no big deal,” Aaron Sotelo said at Craven’s sentencing hearing.
Craven was convicted by a jury earlier this year during a 4 ½ week trial attended daily by dozens of Smith’s family members and friends.
“Every day we sat four feet away from a murderer who showed no remorse,” Angela Griffin told the court during victims’ impact statements Friday. “All the while, he made jokes to his attorneys and complained about the clothes he had to wear to court.”
“I will never get over the image of seeing my best friend laying on the kitchen floor, surrounded by her own pool of blood,” another friend, Kelly McLaughlin, told Judge Helen Halpert, while asking for a maximum sentence.
Craven’s lawyers, Jesse Dubow and Josephine Wiggs-Martin of the Northwest Defenders Division of King County’s Department of Public Defense, advocated for an exceptional sentence downward, 40-years in prison, citing Craven’s difficult childhood, mental health and drug abuse issues.
Judge Halpert instead sided with Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys David Martin and Wyman Yip, handing down a 72-year sentence for both murders and for the brutal assault of Robert Luxton just days before Hayden and Smith’s deaths.
The maximum sentence was a relief for Smith’s parents.
“Seventy-two years, he won’t bother anybody again,” Anthony Smith said after his only child’s killer was sentenced.
Smith’s mother Julie added “he basically gave us a life sentence when he took Meagan, and now he gets his life sentence.”
The Smiths are now suing the Washington State Department of Corrections, claiming its failure to supervise Craven -- a convicted felon -- resulted in their daughter's death.
No one from Hayden’s family was in court. However her brother -- Joseph Geipel -- sent a letter that was read aloud by a court advocate.
Craven has said he will appeal his conviction.
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