It's hard to imagine anything more dastardly than burglarizing a home just a few days after the entire family who lived there were killed by a teenage driver.
But that's what 27-year-old Michael Vincent Gutierrez from Redwood City did last November. And now, he's been sentenced to eight years in prison.
It's unclear whether he knew the circumstances of the Sonoma family's death when he ransacked their house. Just three days earlier, the Maloney family was returning from a Thanksgiving trip when a driver crashed into their minivan, killing both parents and their two daughters. The driver responsible for the crash died as well.
Gutierrez, along with an accomplice, stole a few valuables and a car from the victims' home. Once caught, both burglars accused the other of initiating the crime.
During his arrest, when told that the family had been killed, Gutierrez appeared distressed. That's led some to believe that he had no idea whose house he was burglarizing. But his extensive criminal past, which includes rape, battery, and grant theft, persuaded the judge to impose a stiff penalty.
The sentencing is unlikely to be much comfort to the families of the car-crash victims, but at least it's one chapter of the tragedy that's finally closer to being closed.