An Indian-American man named Anurag Chandra has been found guilty of killing three teenage boys who played a doorbell-ringing prank at his house in California, as per local media reports.
On Friday, Chandra was convicted of three counts of attempted murder and three counts of first-degree murder in Riverside County. According to reports, the incident occurred on January 19, 2020, when a group of teenagers dared to ring Chandra’s bell.
Three teenagers, aged 16, were killed in a car crash in Temescal Valley after being rammed off the road by a man who was chasing them down to express his anger. The driver, Anurag Chandra, testified during the trial that he was afraid for his family’s safety when he saw a person with a hooded sweatshirt outside his home.
He then chased down the teenagers, who he claimed flashed their buttocks at him and rammed their car off the road. The crash killed all three teenagers, identified as Daniel Hawkins, Drake Ruiz, and Jacob Ivascu, while Chandra sustained minor injuries. The trial revealed that Chandra had drunk 12 bottles of beer on the night of the incident.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise newspaper reported that the suspect in the fatal crash that killed three boys in California testified that he did not intend to crash into their car. According to the report, the driver also did not stop after the accident because he did not believe anyone had been injured. The 18-year-old driver of the car and two 13-year-old passengers survived the crash.
The suspect, identified as Anurag Chandra, is already facing charges related to a domestic violence incident in 2020. He is set to face sentencing on July 14, and according to the New York Times, he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
According to an email sent by Alex Ivascu on Saturday, he expressed anger over Mr. Chandra’s “spewing lies” during the trial. However, the most challenging part of the trial for him was watching his son take the stand to recall the events of that evening. Mr. Ivascu stated that his son has found a new level of peace and healing after the jury confirmed that nothing he did that night caused the death of his brother and best friends.
Mr. Ivascu said, “The confirmation from the jury that nothing he did that night caused the death of his brother and best friends have brought him a new level of peace and healing.”
Mike Hestrin, the Riverside County district attorney, said in a statement that the murder of the three boys was a senseless tragedy for the community, and he thanked the jury for their verdict.
The attorney for the convicted murderer expresses disappointment, and plans to appeal the verdict David Wohl, the attorney for the defendant in a murder case, has expressed his disappointment with the verdict, calling it “unfortunate.”
In a statement, Mr. Wohl, a lawyer for the defendants, said that he believed there were several issues that were ready for appeal, without providing further specifics. He also mentioned that during the trial, the defence had highlighted a “significant amount of corruption” that was carried out during the investigation.
The defendant, Chandra, was found guilty of first-degree murder in a case that had garnered significant attention over the past three years. Wohl has said that he plans to file a motion for a new trial on Chandra’s behalf and will appeal the guilty verdict if the motion is denied.
Meanwhile, the deputy district attorney has said in a statement that the prosecution is “very pleased that justice was served for the victims and mourn with their families over the losses they suffered.”