LOS ANGELES — The man accused of stalking an idyllic Malibu park, peppering motorists and campers with gunfire that ended in the shooting death of a father of two, was convicted of murder and three counts of attempted murder Friday.
Anthony Rauda, 46, will almost certainly spend the rest of his life in prison after jurors convicted him of gunning down 35-year-old pharmaceutical scientist Tristan Beaudette, who was killed inside of a tent he was sharing with his daughters in June 2018.
Rauda was also convicted of multiple burglaries and three counts of attempted murder: two counts related to opening fire in the direction of Beaudette's daughters and a third related to shooting a man driving a Tesla, Ian Kincaid, just days before.
Rauda was charged with 10 counts of attempted murder in January 2019, but the jury acquitted him of seven of those counts. In many of those incidents, Rauda was accused of attacking in pre-dawn hours from a distance, and prosecutors did not have ballistic evidence or eyewitnesses linking him to those shootings.
Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators tried to trace Rauda's movements through his use of the park's public wireless networks, but defense attorney Nicolas Okorocha repeatedly noted during his closing arguments that detectives had not come close to pinpointing his location at the time of most of the shootings.
In brief remarks outside the courtroom, Okorocha thanked the jurors for being "careful."
Rauda refused to appear for any portion of the trial. During a brief appearance earlier this week, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Eleanor Hunter asked if he wanted to be present for the reading of the verdict. Rauda grumbled that even being wheeled into the courtroom was "punishment" and asked to leave.
The 46-year-old's face was covered in a spit mask at that appearance. He has already been convicted of punching one sheriff's deputy in a courtroom and attacking another with a pencil in Men's Central Jail since his arrest in late 2018. He must appear in court for his June 7 sentencing.
During the trial, L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Antonella Nistorescu repeatedly described Rauda as a menacing and calculating presence who engaged in a "pattern of stalking and preying upon campers."
Beaudette was sleeping in the campground off Las Virgenes Road with his young daughters, just 4- and 2-years-old, when Rauda allegedly shot him in the head. Prosecutors repeatedly displayed a gruesome image of Beaudette's head wound and his daughters with their pants covered in their father's blood.
When Rauda was arrested months later in connection with a string of burglaries, he was carrying a rifle that was later matched to Beaudette's murder through ballistic testing, Nistorescu said.
The scientist was the last of 11 people Rauda allegedly shot at over the course of two years. In several instances, Rauda either shot at moving vehicles or campers in hammocks, wounding people on more than one occasion, prosecutors said.
Most of the early attacks involved the use of what prosecutors described as an "improvised shotgun" filled with pellets that did not cause anyone to suffer life-threatening injuries. Nistorescu said Rauda at some point upgraded to a sawed-off rifle, the weapon used in each of the counts he was convicted of Friday.
Even in instances in which Rauda shot at moving vehicles, prosecutors said he was trying to kill his targets in creative ways. Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives reviewed Rauda's use of campground wireless networks during their investigation and found he repeatedly searched for troubling phrases such as "bullet hits car gas tank."
"He's actively trying to do something that you know would cause death when he researches how to blow up a car by shooting out a gas tank and then you see that he shoots at a BMW," Nistorescu said during her closing arguments.
While reports of shootings in the area had been rattling Malibu residents for months, the incidents didn't gain media attention or intense scrutiny until Beaudette's slaying. Then-Sheriff Jim McDonnell faced intense criticism for not warning residents of the potential gunman sooner.
Rauda was also convicted of breaking into commercial buildings owned by the Las Virgenes Water District, Spectrum Building Development and the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center five times between July and October of 2018. He was caught on video carrying the rifle used to kill Beaudette during several of those burglaries.
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