A former middle school principal who was high on crack when he killed two people and wounded multiple others in Florida will face life behind bars.
Anthony Giancola was sentenced Monday to six consecutive life sentences after pleading guilty to two murders, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated battery, the Tampa Bay Times reported. His plea allowed him to avoid the death penalty.
Giancola was once known as a friendly educator who received excellent reviews from superiors and had the admiration of students. The former principal at Van Buren Middle School focused on special-needs children and helped expand a program designed to help teens train dogs to help the disabled.
In 2007, then-principal Giancola bought crack cocaine at the school from an undercover officer. In surveillance video footage, Giancola told an officer that if he got caught, he would blame a child, WTSP reported.
"I'd find some kid I hate and I'd be like, what's this? Oh!" Giancola can be heard saying in the video.
Things took an even darker turn in June of 2012. In a one-day crime wave that shocked the Tampa community, Giancola stabbed four people at a home where five deaf adults were sleeping, beat a couple who ran a hotel, hit four pedestrians with his car and tried to run over a 13-year-old boy on his bicycle. The spree took place over a two and a half hour period.
Two people were killed in the stabbing.
“You'll never be released from prison,” Circuit Judge Thane Covert told Giancola.
A victim of Giancola, Janice Rhoden, who was stabbed in the head, expressed remorse that he didn't get the death penalty, The Tampa Tribune reported. Rhoden spoke in sign language that was translated by an interpreter.
“It's just not right he got life in prison,” Rhoden said.
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