Opening statements in trial for mentally ill Oceanside veteran accused of murder

Posted at 2:50 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 21:19:19-04

VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - On Wednesday, murder suspect Eduardo Arriola sat inside a Vista courtroom in his green jail uniform, as attorneys introduced him to jurors as a mentally ill ex-marine who gunned down his neighbor, Devon Rideout. It happened in 2018 outside of their Oceanside apartment complex while Rideout was walking her new puppy.

Witness Jeremy Mitchell is a UPS driver who was making a delivery at the time of the shooting. He described hearing loud bangs and screams. He choked back tears as he described running to help Rideout. “I grabbed her hand. I told her, ‘It’s going to be okay. You're going to be alright.’ After that, her breathing started to slow," he told the courtroom.

“She was caught by surprise, and she was ambushed,” prosecutor Keith Watanabe told jurors. He said that Arriola is charged with murder in the first degree because, he said, he intentionally shot Rideout multiple times.

Watanabe added, “The defendant [told officers], ‘I shot her with my gun because she was a trespasser.’”

He also said that her name was later found etched on the radiator of Arriola’s car.

“Mr. Arriola is not guilty of first-degree murder,” public defender Lindsay Itzhaki told jurors. She said that her client took Rideout's life, but that mental illness took his life years earlier.

“The military discharged Mr. Arriola in 2017 with 100% service-related disability for schizophrenia,” Itzhaki told the courtroom.

Arriola had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and other delusional disorders before he legally purchased the gun that was used in the shooting. Earlier this year, ABC 10News exposed the lawsuits that were filed against state and federal authorities for allowing the sale of the firearm to happen.

Since the shooting, Arriola has had four mental competency hearings and was ultimately found competent to stand trial.

The trial is expected to last for about two weeks. If convicted, Arriola faces a sentence of life behind bars without the possibility of parole.