A bank executive who said he had battled depression for years was sentenced Friday to life in prison for killing his 5-year-old twin daughters.

David Crespi, 45, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder to spare his family the trauma of a trial and possible death penalty. He has a wife, Kim, and three surviving children.

In court, Crespi apologized to his family and his late daughters, Samantha and Tessara, saying the girls "deserved to grow up" and be loved.

Crespi told police that in his periods of depression, he thought of killing his children, wife and parents or running over strangers with his car, but he had always been able to stop himself. The day he killed the twins, he said, "the thoughts weren't stopping."

He also confessed that he believed he had not taken care of his family well and was about to lose his job as a senior vice president in the audit division for Wachovia Corp. In fact, defense lawyers said, Wachovia had already approved Crespi for his biggest bonus ever.

In court, police detective Valerie Gordon testified that Crespi told her he planned to kill the girls together during a game of hide-and-seek.

Crespi stabbed Samantha in the kitchen and Tessara ran away from him and hid upstairs, Gordon recounted from her interview. Crespi found the girl hiding in a closet, and stabbed her as she yelled "No daddy no," the detective testified.

Both girls were stabbed more than a dozen times.

In court, Crespi thanked his prison doctors for finding the right medication to treat his depression.

"For the first time in my life I have been diagnosed correctly," he said. "It made me appreciate the horror of what I have done."