ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY PRESS RELEASE
Case # 13HF1749
Date: August 21, 2015
*Victim was an OCSD reserve sergeant with Search and Rescue
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced today to 10 years in state prison for attempting to murder his relative as the victim slept in their Trabuco Canyon home. John Edward Kudla, 19, pleaded guilty on Jan. 16, 2015, to one felony count of attempted murder and one felony count of aggravated assault with a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury.
Sometime before May 2013, Kudla moved into his relative’s Trabuco Canyon home, where another family member also lived. The victim, Jon Kudla, (the father of the suspect) was a reserve sergeant for Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), Search and Rescue.
At approximately 6:30 a.m. on May 22, 2013, Kudla woke up, took a large construction hammer from the kitchen area that was under renovation, and walked upstairs to John Doe’s bedroom. The defendant used the hammer to hit the sleeping victim in the head nine times. Kudla then got dressed, ate breakfast, and told his other family member that John Doe was sick and would probably stay in bed all day. The defendant stole the victim’s wallet and keys and drove John Doe’s Volkswagen convertible to school. The defendant met up with his friends and drove the victim’s vehicle to drop them off at a McDonald’s restaurant, but did not go back to school.
At approximately 9:30 a.m., the family member found the victim injured and bleeding, and John Doe was transported by paramedics to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, where he remained comatose in critical condition after an emergency life-saving surgery was performed. The victim suffered brain damage and severe injuries to his skull and required several brain surgeries.
Shortly after 1:00 p.m., a California Highway Patrol officer spotted the Volkswagen vehicle going northbound on Interstate 5 in Los Angeles County. The defendant was pulled over and taken into custody.
During the investigation, the hammer used in the attack was found rinsed off and left in a bathroom sink between the defendant’s and victim’s bedroom.
Deputy District Attorney Robert Goodkin prosecuted this case.
TONY RACKAUCKAS, District Attorney
Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff