In a courtroom revelation on Friday, Anthony Rauda, a man connected to a series of shootings in Malibu Creek State Park, was convicted on several counts, including second-degree murder.
The 46-year-old, infamously known as the “Malibu Sniper,” was also found guilty on three attempted murder charges and five counts of second-degree commercial burglary. However, he was absolved of seven other attempted murder charges by the jury.
The case centered around the fatal shooting of Tristan Beaudette, a research scientist, in June 2018. Beaudette had been camping with his two daughters at the time of the incident.
Despite the prosecution’s push for a first-degree murder conviction, the jury concluded with a verdict of second-degree murder.
The prosecution built a compelling case, stating that the evidence against Rauda was irrefutable. They asserted that he exhibited a pattern of stalking and preying on campers in the park. The attacks typically took place between 3 and 5 a.m., when campers were likely in a deep sleep. According to ballistics testing, the bullet that killed Beaudette matched a rifle found in Rauda’s possession at the time of his arrest.
The prosecution depicted Rauda as a meticulous criminal, wearing a mask and dark clothing during his burglaries, and operating with deliberation and caution. After his final break-in, investigators tracked Rauda to a makeshift campsite through boot prints and a scent dog.
The defense, led by Nicholas Okorocha, argued for reasonable doubt in the charges against Rauda. Okorocha pointed to DNA found on cigarette butts near the crime scene that did not match Rauda’s, suggesting gaps in the evidence. The prosecutor dismissed this argument as a diversion, stating that the cigarette butts could have come from anywhere in the public campground and had no direct link to Beaudette’s murder.
The trial included emotional testimonies from the victim’s family and nearby campers. Beaudette’s brother-in-law recounted the harrowing events of the night, including finding Beaudette in a pool of blood, his daughters by his side.
Rauda was arrested in October 2018, and by December, he was sentenced to six months for gun and ammunition violations, consecutive to a 160-day sentence for a probation violation. He was charged for the alleged crime spree in January 2019, leading to an indictment in October 2019.
Prior to his conviction for the shootings, Rauda was sentenced to almost four years for attacking two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies while in custody.