Sat. May 18th, 2024

California man pleads guilty to killing friend with sledgehammer and dumping remains in forest

Jamie Roberts By Jamie Roberts May8,2024

OJAI, Calif. (TCD) — A 28-year-old man is expected to receive 18 years in state prison after recently pleading guilty to fatally bludgeoning his friend and dumping his remains in a forest in 2019.

Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko announced April 19 that Cameron Lykins pleaded guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter and special allegations of use of a deadly weapon, prior strike, prior serious or violent felony, and serious prior felony in connection with the death of his friend Houston Auer. Lykins is set to be sentenced on May 17.

According to prosecutors, on May 12, 2019, Lykins killed his friend with a sledgehammer in a bedroom at the victim’s grandmother’s home. Lykins reportedly escaped through a window with his friend’s body and then dumped the remains in the Angeles National Forest.

Following the incident, the district attorney’s office said Lykins went to his mother’s residence in Lone Pine and asked her to contact law enforcement.

Deputies with the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department initially arrested Lykins on May 13, 2019, at his mother’s house on a charge of murder.

According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, on June 23, 2019, a California Department of Fish and Wildlife game warden found the victim’s partially decomposed body in a brush.

Testimony at Lykins’ first trial began on Feb. 1. However, after eight days, the trial was stopped because evidence was mistakenly presented before the judge determined it could be used. Before Lykins’ retrial, both sides uncovered evidence they hadn’t shown during the first trial. While examining new evidence, the district attorney’s office said it “tended to weigh against some of the motive evidence the prosecution relied upon.”

According to prosecutors, the additional evidence, including messages between Lykins and Auer before his death, “could impact their ability to prove malice.”

As a result, prosecutors added voluntary manslaughter to a revised complaint, which Lykins pleaded guilty to.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Christopher Harman said, “Houston’s death was a tragic loss that could have been avoided and hopefully the defendant’s acceptance of responsibility helps his family begin to heal.”

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Jamie Roberts

By Jamie Roberts

Jamie is an award-winning investigative journalist with a focus on uncovering corruption and advocating for social justice. With over a decade of experience in the field, Jamie's work has been instrumental in bringing about positive change in various communities.

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One thought on “California man pleads guilty to killing friend with sledgehammer and dumping remains in forest”
  1. As a Californian, I am deeply disturbed by the heinous actions committed by Cameron Lykins. It’s tragic that a friendship ended in such a brutal manner. Justice must be served for the victim and their family.

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