A man has been convicted of murdering a scientist shot dead during a family camping trip while sharing a tent with his young daughters at a California state park.
Anthony Rauda, 46, was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of Tristan Beaudette, 35, who was fatally shot in June 2018 at Malibu Creek State Park. He was also convicted of multiple burglaries and three counts of attempted murder: two counts related to opening fire at Beaudette’s daughters and a third related to shooting a Tesla driver, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The defendant, who has been found guilty of attacking two sheriff’s deputies since his arrest in late 2018, declined to appear at trial but will appear for sentencing next month.
Prosecutors painted a picture of Rauda’s “camper stalk and prey pattern.” He had been charged with seven other counts of attempted murder but was acquitted this month after he could not be definitively linked to the scenes.
Mr Beaudette was sleeping in a tent with his daughters, aged two and four, in the early morning hours of June 22, 2018 when he was shot in the head. During the trial, her brother-in-law emotionally described waking up to hear one of his nieces crying and saying “Wet, wet,” ABC7 reported.
He attempted to wake his brother but found his own hand “covered in blood”, realizing in shock that he had to get Mr. Beaudette’s daughters out of the tent.
“I noticed there was nothing in his eyes,” he said of his brother-in-law.
Mr Beaudette, an Irvine researcher, “was the last of 11 people Rauda was charged with shooting over a two-year period”, the Los Angeles Time reported. In several instances, Rauda fired into moving vehicles or campers in hammocks, wounding people multiple times, prosecutors said.
“Most of the early attacks involved the use of what prosecutors described as an ‘improvised shotgun’ filled with pellets that caused no fatal injuries to anyone,” the newspaper reported, but the accused ” at some point switched to a sawed-off shotgun”. rifle, the weapon used in each of the counts on which he was convicted on Friday.
Prosecutors said Rauda sought to kill victims creatively during his spree.
“He’s actively trying to do something that you know would cause death when he’s looking to blow up a car by shooting a gas tank, and then you see he’s shooting a BMW,” said the Los Angeles County Assistant District Attorney Antonella Nistorescu. closing arguments, according to the Los Angeles Time.
Rauda is due in court on June 7 for sentencing.
Mr. Beaudette, who met his wife in high school, had planned to move with his family to the Bay Area the week after the shooting. His widow, Erica Wu, has filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Department, State Parks and others over her husband’s murder, alleging authorities failed to give the public enough warning of the shootings in the area. where Mr. Beaudette was ultimately killed – but a judge in 2021 ruled against her.