BOISE -- A Boise man who pumped a dozen bullets into his girlfriend's ex-husband in a Boise parking lot last year was sentenced Monday to life behind bars.
Joshua Alberts, 40, will spend 30 years in prison before he will have a chance at parole.
Alberts was convicted of second-degree murder in January for gunning down 31-year-old Joshua Warren as the victim drove into the Whispering Pines apartment complex to pick up his children.
At the sentencing hearing, the victim's family told the judge that Alberts' decision had robbed Warren's two sons of the chance to grow up knowing their father.
“These boys, my grandsons, will never be able to ask their dad anything," Warren's father, George Warren, said in a statement read by the prosecution. "My son will never be able to show them how to do things, or enjoy doing things with them. They’re going to have a hard life without their dad, and that’s all Mr. Alberts' fault."
Alberts testified at his trial that he wanted to confront Warren about interfering in his relationship, but had not planned to kill him. But when Warren pulled into the lot where Alberts was waiting and cursed at him, the defendant said, he raised the 9mm handgun he had brought along and emptied the clip into Warren's SUV.
Warren was unarmed and still buckled into the driver's seat when Alberts started shooting. He was hit in the face, head and torso, and died at the scene.
George Warren said no prison sentence would ever be enough to satisfy him.
“Mr. Alberts family will have to visit him in prison, but we will have to visit our son in a cemetery," he said. "And all for what? What the hell was he thinking? I know God says to forgive, but I cannot."
Ron Tiffany, Warren's brother, is now raising his nephews after the death of their father. He told the judge he believed Alberts should never get the chance to leave prison.
“[Warren] was taken for no reason, was shot 14 times, and anybody that does that – I don’t want him around my society ever again," Tiffany said.
Prosecutors also urged the Judge Melissa Moody to sentence Alberts to life without parole, arguing he was "a dangerous man" likely to reoffend.
Prosecutor Kai Wittwer pointed to a psychological evaluation of Alberts before his sentencing, in which a doctor concluded he had a full-fledged personality disorder and psychopathic characteristics as well as narcissistic and antisocial traits.
Wittwer also charged that Alberts had shown little remorse for the killing, expressing frustration in a letter to the doctor who evaluated him that "nobody seems to get that Josh Warren deserves blame too,” according to the prosecutor.
1 dead in shooting at Whispering Pines in Boise
Alberts' sentencing, originally set for March, was pushed back after he attempted to kill himself in the Ada County Jail by overdosing on pills he had been hoarding. In suicide notes, Alberts wrote he regretted the pain his crime had caused his own family, but did not mention Warren's family, Wittwer said. The letter also blames Alberts' former girlfriend - the victim's ex-wife - calling her "a basketcase" who "messed with his head."
The killer wrote that by committing suicide, he was essentially choosing his own sentence before a judge could hand one down.
“I always like having the last word," he wrote.
Prosecutors warned that Alberts was manipulative and likely to likely to lash out at others in the future whose behavior he perceived as rude or unacceptable to him.
“He frankly fancies himself ‘a crusader for polite manners in public,'” Wittwer said. “This is from a man who emptied a clip from his 9mm into Josh Warren as he sat unarmed in his car in broad daylight in an apartment parking lot.”
But defense attorney Eric Rolfsen argued that Alberts thought he was dealing with a dangerous, violent person when he made split-second choice to open fire at Warren.
Rolfsen said his client did not have a history of crime, and urged the judge to take the rest of Alberts' life into consideration.
“Josh shouldn’t be judged solely on the worst thing he ever did on the worst day of his life,” Rolfsen said. “He’s not the monster the state is trying to present. This is a human being with a family who loves him who made an incredibly serious mistake.”
In a statement before the sentence was handed down, Alberts said he "let rage and fear take over," the day of the shooting, but did not think the murder was reflective of who he was.
“I should have recognized that I was too emotionally charged to handle any situation with him," he said. "I’ve always tried to protect the ones I love, and those who were bullied. This has never before in my adulthood resulted in anything more than a few heated words.”
Alberts complained that his psychological evaluation was inaccurate, and said he was surprised the jury had not returned a manslaughter verdict, since he had taken responsibility for the shooting from the beginning.
“I honestly do feel terrible about killing Joshua Warren," he said. "It feels awful to take a life.”
Alberts said his choice to pull the trigger was "beyond regrettable," and apologized in court to Warren's family and his own.
“This is the worst thing I’ve ever done," he said. "I am sorry, to everybody.”
Judge Moody wasn't moved by the apology, telling Alberts she agreed with prosecutors' assertion that he was "a grave danger" to the community.
“You’ll be 70 years old before you are parole eligible," she said. "I need to give the Department of Correction the opportunity to keep you in custody until you die, and for that reason, I am imposing an indefinite life sentence."
Moody also addressed Warren's family, telling them she understood the ruling would likely do little to dull their pain at losing the man described in letters to the court as a caring father and hard worker with “a smile that would light up the room."
“I have scratched the surface of the loss that you must feel," she said. "And there is nothing this court can do that will resurrect that light. That light has been extinguished.”