A Fairfax Circuit Court judge yesterday sentenced Alain Paul de Cock, 22, to life in prison for murdering his mother and father after hearing a probation report that described de Cock as "a cold, calculating and emotionally shallow young man . . . who developed an unfounded hatred for his parents."
Chief Judge Barnard F. Jennings, ordering de Cock to serve two concurrent life terms for the shooting deaths of his parents, told the tearful Belgian native, "This has been an awfully hard decision for me to reach. I'm sure I'm going to see your face before me for many years." Jennings also imposed a six-year jail sentence for two firearms charges against de Cock in connection with the shootings.
In a statement to Jennings just before sentencing, de Cock choked back tears and said that since the shootings, "I have never been able to have peace of mind. I try to read to keep my mind away from it and it doesn't help. When I try to sleep I wake up screaming. But I do know I have to be punished and spend a lot of time in jail."
Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. said that de Cock could be eligible for parole in about 13 years, but Jennings cautioned de Cock that, "The mere fact that you're eligible doesn't mean you'd make it."
Robert C. Whitestone, de Cock's court-appointed attorney, said de Cock probably would be deported when he is released from prison.
De Cock pleaded guilty to the two murders and the firearms charges after confessing that on Dec. 13 he shot his mother, Simone Irene de Cock, 50, then minutes later shot his father, Romain Paul de Cock, 52, a World Bank loan officer. In earlier court statements he said he shot his mother because he felt rejected by her, and later he told a probation officer that he killed his father because he didn't want his father to see his mother's body.
"Beneath his polished exterior, this officer detects a cold, calculating and emotionally shallow young man who displays absolutely no genuine remorse for the grave acts which he has committed," Horan read from the probation officer's report. "His life style prior to the shootings would suggest him to be a spoiled, irresponsible, lazy and willful person."
Whitestone argued that the murders were "an explosive reaction" to a long-standing rift between de Cock and his parents, compounded by the death of his sister and the family's frequent moves throughout the world.
Whitestone said high school teachers described de Cock as a "gentle, shy, retiring boy, burdened by his sister's death." They said he was the type of youngster who was quick to defend his smaller classmates when they were victimized by bullies.
But friends interviewed by a county probation officer portrayed the slender, light-haired de Cock differently.
"He was someone who was always trying to beat the system," Horan said the probation report showed. "He refused to cooperate with his parents in the tremendous effort they were making to improve their relations with him.
"He refused to work or apply himself in school and preferred to continue to parasitically reside with his parents while harboring these intense feelings of hatred," the probation report continued.
During yesterday's sentencing hearing, Horan quoted from county jail reports saying that on Feb. 7 de Cock "participated in consentual homosexual activity" in his cell and was sent to an isolation chamber for 30 days.
Whitestone said de Cock denied the participation, and claimed that he was punished because he lied to investigators when asked if he witnessed the incident.