VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - A Vista jury reached a verdict in the case of a mentally ill ex-Marine who’s accused of murdering his neighbor while she was walking her puppy.
Eduardo Arriola was found guilty of 1st-degree murder and guilty of lying in wait.
Arriola sat emotionless in the courtroom as the jury’s verdict was announced after a full day of deliberations. The trial began last Wednesday.
The shooting happened in 2018 at an Oceanside apartment complex where victim Devin Rideout had just gotten home from her job at Camp Pendleton and was out walking her new puppy. Arriola told detectives that he shot her because he thought that she was trespassing.
Her name was later found etched on the radiator of his car.
The defense had argued that even though Arriola took Rideout’s life, mental illness took his life years earlier.
While still in the Marines, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and other delusional disorders before he legally purchased the gun used in the shooting.
Earlier this year, Team 10 exposed the lawsuits that were filed against state and federal authorities for allowing the sale of the firearm to happen.
After the verdict was read on Thursday afternoon, Rideout’s mother and the lead prosecutor spoke to ABC 10News.
“[There was] so much emotion. So much relief. It’s not bringing my daughter back, but it is the best we can get out of what he did,” said her mother, Leslie Woods.
Lead prosecutor Keith Watanabe added, “The jury heard from several psychiatrists and psychologists and psychiatric witnesses in this case who testified about the defendant’s mental state and the schizophrenia that he suffered through and ultimately the jury decided that although he was suffering from a mental illness, he was still able to form the mental state required to commit murder.”
He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. He'll be sentenced on June 17th.