LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A man was found mentally competent today to stand trial for the killing of a research scientist from Irvine, who was shot while camping with his two young daughters in Malibu Creek State Park.
Anthony Rauda, now 45, is charged with murdering 35-year-old Allergan scientist Tristan Thomas Beaudette, who was shot about 4:45 a.m. on June 22, 2018, while sharing a tent with his then 2- and 4-year-old daughters, who escaped injury.
Rauda is also facing 10 counts of attempted murder -- Beaudette's daughters are among the named victims -- along with five counts of second- degree commercial burglary involving a series of crimes dating back three years.
Rauda was initially charged in January 2019 with the crimes, then subsequently indicted in October 2019 by a Los Angeles County grand jury.
Criminal proceedings were suspended after a doubt was declared in October 2020 about his mental competence, but ordered to be reinstated following the determination that he was competent.
Rauda -- who could face life in prison if convicted as charged -- has a string of convictions for weapons-related offenses dating back to 2006, according to the criminal complaint filed against him in January 2019.
Prosecutors allege Rauda carried out attacks dating back to November 2016, when he allegedly wounded a man who was sleeping in a hammock in the Malibu State Park area. He allegedly fired into the sleeping area of a vehicle less than a week later.
Rauda is also charged with shooting into vehicles on three occasions in 2017 in which no one was injured, and shooting at a Tesla on Las Virgenes Road four days before Beaudette's killing. He is additionally accused of a series of commercial burglaries committed between July 27 and Oct. 9, 2018.
He was arrested in October 2018 after a series of large-scale manhunts in the area for a rifle-toting culprit suspected in multiple food heists in the Calabasas area, including an early morning burglary at the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center, where someone smashed a vending machine and stole food.
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies thought the burglaries might be linked to Beaudette's killing.
Rauda was allegedly carrying a rifle when he was arrested in a ravine about a mile and a half north of Mulholland Highway west of Las Virgenes Road in the Malibu Canyon area, after deputies combing the area spotted fresh bootprints and tracked him down.
Authorities allege Rauda had been captured on surveillance video in one of those crimes carrying a rifle and wearing what sheriff's investigators described as "tactical gear."
The suspect in all of the heists stole food, detectives said, suggesting the man was living off the grid in the wilderness, carrying out the burglaries when he needed sustenance.
He was sentenced in December 2018 to six months in jail for gun and ammunition violations, a sentence set to run consecutively with an earlier 160- day sentence for a probation violation.
In a statement released after Rauda was charged with Beaudette's slaying, the sheriff's department said evidence had been developed and gathered "incriminating Rauda as being responsible for a series of armed burglaries, multiple shooting incidents, and the murder of Tristan Beaudette."
"A concentrated effort by detectives to unearth the past activities of Rauda correlating with this investigation has revealed that he apparently acted alone during this identified crime spree, stretching from November 2016 to October 2018. No similar crimes have been reported in the area since the October 2018 arrest of Rauda," according to the statement.
Beaudette's widow and two daughters filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county, claiming the sheriff's department failed to warn the public about earlier shootings in the same general area.
Sheriff's Lt. James Royal filed a lawsuit alleging that his supervisors retaliated against him for trying to inform the public about the shootings that occurred in and around Malibu Creek State Park before Beaudette's killing.
Both of those lawsuits are still pending.
Rauda is due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom for a pretrial hearing Jan. 24.