Alameda County District Attorney's Office
Nancy E. O'Malley, District Attorney

Meet DA Nancy E. O'Malley

People v Karl George Sanft

On June 30, 2015, the Honorable Judge Joseph Hurley found defendant Karl George Sanft guilty of two counts of first degree murder and the special circumstances of multiple murder and robbery to be true. Judge Hurley further found the defendant to be sane at the time of the commission of the crimes.

Shortly after 3AM on February 2, 2010, defendant Sanft was under the influence of methamphetamine and violently robbed the Manheim Auto Auction in Hayward by ramming the gate. Unarmed security guard Angelito Erasquin fled in fear but defendant Sanft chased him down and stabbed him 28 times, killing him. Defendant Sanft then stole the victim's phone, watch, and wallet before and stealing a car from the Auction's lot.

On the way out, defendant Sanft spotted the second victim, James Wightman, a trucker who had been sleeping in his vehicle in the parking lot after delivering a load. To eliminate Wightman as a witness, defendant Sanft smashed through the window of the victim's truck, climbed in and stabbed Wightman 42 times, killing him also. Defendant Sanft then fled in the stolen car to Sunnyvale where he was caught later that morning.

At trial, defendant Sanft claimed his methamphetamine use combined with depression and PTSD mitigated his mental state and also made him legally insane because he could not tell right from wrong at the time of the murders. The Court rejected this defense and found him guilty of all charges and sane.

On September 4, 2015, defendant Karl George Sanft was sentenced to 57 years to life as well as an additional sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for these crimes. The case was prosecuted by DDA Warren Ko with the assistance of Inspector Blair Alexander and Victim-Witness Advocate Jennifer Mello.

Posted on Jul 7, 2015