A former Hillsborough County middle school principal was sentenced to life in prison Monday after he accepted a plea deal in connection with a deadly rampage last summer.
Anthony Giancola pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated battery. A Pinellas County judge sentenced him to six consecutive life sentences, plus 30 years in a deal that spared his life.
Authorities say Giancola, who was principal at Van Buren Middle School until he was arrested for buying crack cocaine in 2007, went on the spree in June 2012.
They said first stop was a St. Petersburg home for the hearing impaired, where he stabbed four people. Two of them died: 27-year-old Justin Lee Vandenburgh and 59-year-old Mary Anne Allis.
Next, authorities say, Giancola went to a motel in Pinellas Park, where he beat the husband-and-wife owners with a hammer.
Giancola also is accused of being the driver in a hit-and-run crash that injured several people, including a 13-year-old child on a bicycle.
Relatives and a victim spoke in court Monday. Some said they are glad Giancola will have the rest of his life to think about what he did.
"I feel like him sitting in prison thinking about what he did was the best outcome, I'm pleased with it,” said Sherwin Petrucelli, Mary Anne's Allis son.
Other said he should not have been given a choice between life and death.
"He took two amazing people from their families and he has no remorse. He stood there like it was no big deal to him, like it was just another day, even with us blubbering and trying to get our emotions he just stood there, nothing,” said Jennifer Waterman, Justin Lee Vandenburgh’s mother.