Jury finds man guilty of second-degree murder in 2018 California state park killing
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles jury on Friday found a man guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a father who was camping with his daughters and of the attempted murders of the two young girls, all at a popular park in Southern California.
Anthony Rauda fatally shot Tristan Beaudette in the head while the 35-year-old father camped in a tent with his daughters on June 18, 2018.
The jury exonerated Rauda on a first-degree murder charge but convicted him on a second-degree offense. He faces 40 years to life in prison and will be sentenced next month.
A conviction for first-degree murder requires the government to prove intention and premeditation. Second-degree murder does not.
Beaudette was killed at Malibu Creek State Park, roughly 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of downtown Los Angeles. His daughters, then ages 2 and 4, were not injured but were considered victims of attempted murder. The jury convicted Rauda on the counts related to the girls but ruled that Rauda had not acted willfully to kill them or with premeditation.
Rauda had waived his right to appear in court and was not present for the verdict Friday. Prosecutors declined to comment on the outcome.
“I appreciate how careful the jury appears to have been,” Rauda's attorney, Nicholas C. Okorocha, said after the verdict. "The jury did a good job being careful and detail-oriented.”
Rauda faced eight additional counts of attempted murder and five counts of burglary in a rash of shootings and break-ins that began in 2016. He was found not guilty in seven of the attempted murder counts.
The jury found him guilty of the burglary charges, as well as attempted murder for deliberately shooting at a man driving to a movie set just days before Beaudette's killing. The driver was not injured.
Rauda was taken into custody in late 2018 in a ravine near the park with a rifle in his backpack.
The park was closed temporarily after the slaying. Much of the park, which has served as a set for movies and TV shows such as “M.A.S.H.,” has been charred in wildfires.
Rauda previously served time in state prison for possessing explosives and later for possessing a loaded gun, which is illegal for people with felony convictions. He was on probation at the time of his arrest, authorities said.
Associated Press Writer Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles contributed.