The San Jose murderer who killed another inmate to avenge a Novato girl's death read a statement of condolence Wednesday to the girl's family.
"The innocence of a child will be defended at all costs," said Frank Souza, referring to 9-year-old Melody Osheroff, who was killed by a drunken motorcyclist in 2009.
The motorcyclist, Edward Schaefer, was convicted of murder, manslaughter and other charges in 2010 and sent to San Quentin State Prison. Less than two weeks later, Souza ambushed him in a prison yard and gouged him repeatedly with a makeshift metal spear.
Souza, 33, was already serving a life sentence for killing a homeless man in San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood when he killed Schaefer. He eventually pleaded guilty to murder in a deal that took the death penalty off the table.
On Wednesday, Marin County Superior Court Judge Paul Haakenson, as expected, sentenced Souza to life without the possibility of parole.
Souza, an associate of the Aryan Brotherhood gang, read from the William Ernest Henley poem "Invictus," saying his "head is bloody, but unbowed."
"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul," Souza said. The same poem was read by Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, before his execution in 2001.
No one from Schaefer's family attended the hearing, nor did the Osheroffs.
Prosecutor A.J. Brady said the murder had "an enormous effect" on Schaefer's survivors, who include his
"He has a lot of blood on his hands," Brady said of Souza.
Souza had been in and out of prison for a variety of crimes in Santa Clara County before receiving a life sentence in 2009 for first-degree murder and second-degree robbery.
On Aug. 29, 2007, Souza -- who was also homeless -- had been drinking and doing drugs at a house on Curtiss Avenue in San Jose, about four blocks east of Lincoln Avenue, when he and two men walked toward downtown Willow Glen. Souza stole John Carl Riggins' mountain bike parked in front of the Le Boulanger restaurant at Lincoln and Minnesota avenues and later got into a violent confrontation with Riggins, which led to Riggins' death.
Souza's sentencing for the murder of Schaefer concluded years of criminal hearings that flowed from the death of Melody Osheroff, who was a fourth-grade student at San Ramon Elementary School. The Osheroff family still has a lawsuit pending against the city of Novato. Schaefer, a repeat drunken driver, struck Melody and her father Aaron in a crosswalk on San Marin Drive. Melody died the next day, and her father suffered major internal injuries and the loss of a leg.
The civil trial is set to begin Nov. 6.