A Los Angeles jury on Friday found a man guilty of second-degree murder in the 2018 shooting death of a father who was camping with his young daughters — and of the attempted murders of the two young girls — all at a popular state park in the Malibu area of Southern California.
It was one of a rash of mysterious shootings and break-ins in the area dating back to 2016 which suspect Anthony Rauda was charged in connection with.
Rauda, 46, fatally shot Tristan Beaudette in the head while the 35-year-old father, a chemist from Irvine, camped in a tent with his daughters on June 22, 2018, in Malibu Creek State Park, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, the jury ruled.
While the jury also found Rauda guilty of one count of attempted murder for shooting at a vehicle four days prior to Beaudette’s killing, he was found not guilty of seven other counts of attempted murder in multiple other shootings.
The jury, however, did find him guilty of all five counts of burglary he faced.
At the time, Beaudette’s slaying — coupled with the revelation of the other mysterious shootings — rattled the surrounding community and shuttered the state park for nearly a year. It did not reopen to campers until May 2019.
The jury exonerated Rauda on a first-degree murder charge but convicted him on the 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’s daughters, then ages 2 and 4, were not injured but were considered victims of attempted murder. The jury convicted Rauda on the attempted murder 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.”
While investigating Beaudette’s shooting death, and prior to Rauda’s arrest, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department revealed that there were at least seven other unsolved shootings in the area dating back to November of 2016.
Rauda was taken into custody on Oct. 10, 2018, nearly four months after Beaudette’s slaying, in a canyon near the park carrying a rifle in his backpack. Described by sheriff’s authorities as a “survivalist” who lived outdoors, he was initially apprehended in connection with several burglaries in the area, before being charged with Beaudette’s murder and the other shootings.
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.
Much of Malibu Creek State Park, which has served as a set for movies and TV shows such as “M.A.S.H.,” has been charred in wildfires.