VAN NUYS (CNS) - A man accused of killing a research scientist who was camping with his two young daughters last June in Malibu Creek State Park pleaded not guilty through his attorney today to murder and other charges.
During a brief appearance in a Van Nuys courtroom, Anthony Rauda, 42, was ordered to remain jailed in lieu of $10 million bail while awaiting trial on one count of murder, 10 counts of attempted murder and five counts of second-degree commercial burglary.
The murder charge stems from the shooting death of Irvine resident Tristan Thomas Beaudette while the 35-year-old Allergan scientist was in a tent with his daughters at about 4:45 a.m. last June 22. The girls, then 2 and 4 years old, were not injured and are among the attempted murder victims in the criminal complaint. Rauda is due back in court Feb. 4, when a hearing will be held to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial. 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 complaint.
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 different 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 also accused of a series of commercial burglaries between July 27, 2018, and Oct. 9, 2018. He was arrested last Oct. 10 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, according to the sheriff's department. Authorities allege Rauda had been captured on surveillance video in one of those crimes carrying a rifle and wearing what deputies called ``tactical gear.''The suspect in all of the heists stole food, deputies said, suggesting the man was living off the grid in the wilderness, carrying out the burglaries when he needed sustenance.
Rauda -- who has appeared in court for past hearings in a restraint chair with a mesh hood over his face -- has remained jailed since his arrest. He was sentenced Dec. 13 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, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
In a statement released after Rauda was charged Jan. 7 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 from the sheriff's department.
At a news conference last June announcing $30,000 in reward money provided by Beaudette's employer and others for tips about his death, his widow described Beaudette as a ``devoted husband and father whose life revolved around'' his family.
``We met when we were teenagers, grew up together, married, and had two amazing and beautiful daughters,'' Erica Wu said.
``In everything that he did, Tristan was kind, selfless, and giving, and had a natural ability to connect with just about anyone. We supported each other as we pursued our careers while balancing what truly mattered most -- spending time with our girls and living life to the fullest. I may never understand why our time together was cut short, but we had an incredible journey and I am so grateful for every day I had with him.''
Wu, who was studying for an exam and didn't make the camping trip, said Beaudette ``rejoiced in sharing his love for the outdoors with the girls and believed that campgrounds were the definition of a sanctuary where people could feel safe and secure.''
Last week, Beaudette's family filed claims for more than $90 million against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and other state and local agencies, accusing them of failing to warn the public about several shootings in and around the area before the slaying.