File photo.

A man who pleaded guilty to murdering a Long Beach couple near their home was sentenced today to 70 years to life in state prison.

Just after imposing the sentence, Superior Court Judge Debra A. Cole told Joshua Wells, “You’re going to have a very long time to think about this,Mr. Wells.”

Wells pleaded guilty Nov. 18 to two counts of first-degree murder for the Sept. 4, 2021, shooting deaths of Maricela Honorato and Juan Guizar-Gutierrez, along with admitting gun use allegations.

“I finished the problem, but I didn’t start it,” the 29-year-old defendant said shortly before Cole handed down the sentence. “I didn’t start nothing.”

The motive for the shooting was unclear, according to Deputy District Attorney Karen Brako.

“To this day, we still have no idea,” Brako told reporters outside court.

Authorities said they believe Wells returned with a gun about 10 minutes after a confrontation that stemmed from someone tapping on his shoulder as he walked along the street and Guizar-Gutierrez subsequently intervening in the fight, according to Brako.

The shooting occurred in the 900 block of Park Circle, across from Drake Park.

Guizar-Gutierrez, 39, was pronounced dead at the scene and paramedics rushed Honorato, 44, to a hospital, where she died from her injuries.

Wells was arrested near a family member’s residence in Windsor Heights, Iowa, just under two weeks later.

Police said then that two search warrants had been served—one in Long Beach and one in Clive, Iowa—that resulted in the discovery of evidence that linked Wells to the crime.

Wells was returned to Long Beach in mid-October, and entered his guilty plea just over a month later.

The judge called what had happened :mind-boggling,: while telling the victims’ family members that Wells had pleaded guilty at an “early stage of the proceedings” in a case that “could have gone on for years.”

The victim’s parents said they were in court in an effort to ensure that Wells received the maximum sentence, with her mother saying that there was “no need to take my daughter’s life away.”

The prosecutor noted that the 70-year-to-life term was “just shy” of the maximum of just under 75 years to life that Wells could have faced if the case had gone to trial and he had been convicted of the two murder charges and two other counts that were dismissed as a result of his plea.

One of Honorato’s daughters, Karen Honorato-Turcios, said she considered Guizar-Gutierrez as if he was her own father.

She said the killings happened for “no reason” and that she hopes “what he did will haunt” Wells forever.

“The way he murdered them was the most cruel way,” she told the judge. “He’s worse than a monster.”

Suspect arrested in Iowa, booked for fatal shooting near Drake Park, police say