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 April 30, 2023

Man convicted of murdering teens who pranked him

Fox News reports that Anurag Chandra was just convicted of killing three teenage boys who played a prank on him. 

On Friday, the 45-year-old Chandra, a resident of Riverside County, California, was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder and three counts of first-degree murder.

The incident that led to Chandra's arrest took place in 2020.

On January 19, 2020, a group of three teenage boys, on a dare, decided to ring Chandra's doorbell and drive away, what some refer to as a game of "ding-dong ditch."

Chandra proceeded to follow the boys in his vehicle, and, when he caught up to the boys - driving as fast as 99 miles per hour - he rammed their vehicle, a Toyota Prius, off of the road. The boys' vehicle crashed into a tree, and Chandra fled the scene.

The three boys, 16-year-olds Daniel Hawkins, Drake Ruiz, and Jacob Ivascu all passed away. The vehicle's driver, an 18-year-old, survived, as did two 13-year-old passengers who were also in the vehicle.

At trial, Chandra made a number of claims in his defense. He claimed, for example, that one of the boys had flashed his buttocks at him before running away, that he, Chandra, was drunk at the time, that he was worried that he and his family were in danger, that he did not plan to ram the boys' vehicle, and so on.

The fact that Chandra has been convicted suggests that his attempts to defend himself from the charges were unsuccessful. That he has been convicted of First-degree murder, in particular, suggests that the jury did not find any of the circumstances listed by Chandra to be mitigating in any way.

Next up will be the sentencing for Chandra.

In the meantime, District Attorney Mike Hestrin is celebrating the conviction.

Hestrin released a statement after the jury's decision, saying, "The murder of these young men was a horrendous and senseless tragedy for our community."

"I thank the jury for their verdict. This is an important step toward justice," he added.

Some of the boys' families also released statements following the conviction.

Alex Ivascu, the father of two of the boys, said:

We are happy to see justice was served even though in this day and age it is hard to come by, but we had a reasonable jury that looked at the facts and realized that the facts speak louder than words — or lying words from the defendant.

Written By:
Robert Ayers

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