California man sentenced for bludgeoning friend to death with sledgehammer

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun10,2024

OJAI, Calif. (TCD) — A 28-year-old man will spend 18 years behind bars for killing his friend with a sledgehammer in 2019 and dumping his remains in the Angeles National Forest.

Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko announced the sentencing against Cameron Lykins on May 17. Lykins pleaded guilty in April to the voluntary manslaughter of Houston Auer, as well as special allegations of use of a deadly weapon, prior strike, prior serious or violent felony, and serious prior felony.

According to the district attorney’s office, on May 12, 2019, Lykins beat Auer to death with a sledgehammer in the victim’s bedroom at his grandmother’s house. Lykins reportedly fled the residence through the window, carrying Auer’s body with him before dumping his remains in the Angeles National Forest. Prosecutors said Lykins then went to his mother’s home in Lone Pine, where Inyo County Sheriff’s Department deputies apprehended him.

Lykins was transported to Ventura County and initially charged with murder.

On June 23, 2019, a Department of Fish and Wildlife warden found Auer’s partially decomposed body in the brush, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

Some of the victim’s family members made impact statements at the sentencing hearing, including Auer’s mother and uncle, the Ventura County Star reports.

Lykins reportedly spoke at the hearing and said, “I killed Houston Auer, and I accept full responsibility for that and everything else that happened after he was killed.”

According to the Ventura County Star, Lykins also said he used the sledgehammer to “prop his door open,” and he hit Auer “on the forehead, temple area.” The “whole confrontation was very fast and only lasted around one minute,” Lykins added.

However, Senior Deputy District Attorney Christopher Harman, who called Lykins’ sentencing an “unhappy compromise,” argued that the defendant actually struck the victim in the head multiple times.

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Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “California man sentenced for bludgeoning friend to death with sledgehammer”
  1. I can’t believe someone would commit such a heinous act against a friend. Violence like this is truly unsettling and tragic. Justice has been served with the sentencing, but the pain for the victim’s family will never truly heal. Let’s hope for more peace and empathy in our society.

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