Orange County District Attorney, Press Release
For Immediate Release, Case # 13HF1749: May 24, 2013
*Victim is an OCSD reserve sergeant with Search and Rescue
NEWPORT BEACH – A juvenile was charged as an adult today for attempting to murder his relative as the victim slept in their Trabuco Canyon home. John Edward Kudla, 17, has been direct filed as an adult and is charged with three felony counts each of attempted murder, aggravated assault, unlawful taking of a vehicle and a sentencing enhancement for causing brain injury and paralysis. If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison. The defendant is in custody on $1 million bail and is scheduled for a continued arraignment June 14, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. in Department H-1, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.
Sometime before May 2013, Kudla is accused of moving into his relative’s Trabuco Canyon home, where another family member also lived. The victim, John Doe, is a reserve sergeant for Orange County Sherriff’s Department (OCSD), Search and Rescue.
At approximately 6:30 a.m. on May 22, 2013, Kudla is accused of waking up, taking a large construction hammer from the kitchen area that was under renovation, and walked upstairs to John Doe’s bedroom. The defendant is accused of hitting the sleeping victim in the head multiple times. Kudla is accused of then getting dressed, eating breakfast, and telling his other family member that John Doe was sick and would probably stay in bed all day. He is accused of stealing the victim’s wallet and keys and taking John Doe’s Volkswagen convertible to school. The defendant is accused of meeting his friends and driving and dropping 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 remains comatose in critical condition after an emergency life-saving surgery was performed.
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 of the Felony Panel is prosecuting this case.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff