A mentally ill man who ambushed and killed his neighbor in an unprovoked shooting outside her Oceanside apartment in 2018 was found guilty Thursday of murder.
Eduardo Arriola, 29, was also found to have been lying in wait when he fatally shot Devon Rideout, 24, steps from her front door as she walked her puppy.
Lying in wait is a special-circumstances allegation, and the finding from a Vista Superior Court jury means Arriola faces life in prison without parole when he is sentenced June 17.
There was no dispute at trial that Arriola was the one who shot Rideout outside her apartment on Los Arbolitos Boulevard, north of state Route 76. It happened shortly before 4 p.m. July 20, 2018.
Rideout, a Navy corpsman, had just arrived home and was still in uniform when she took her puppy out for a walk. She was gunned down at her front door as the walk ended.
There was also no dispute that Arriola, a former Marine, is mentally ill — he was diagnosed with schizophrenia after he went missing for a year while still on active duty. He was later discharged from the military.
Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe said Arriola opted not to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity in Rideout’s killing.
Still, his mental illness was central to his defense. At trial, Arriola’s attorneyargued that Arriola was not guilty because he was so mentally ill, he did not have the capacity to form the intent to kill.
Watanabe said the prosecution did not question Arriola’s diagnosis. The issue was whether the illness prevented him from forming the requisite intent to kill.
“We certainly believed he was capable of committing murder … and that he could be held responsible for his actions,” the prosecutor said.
Arriola’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Lindsay Itzhaki, left without making comment.