More than two decades after the crime took place, a jury convicted a man for the killings of 11 year old Jerry Rios, and his uncle, 37 year old Stephen Wells.
Stephen Deflaun was found guilty of shooting and killing the two at the Morro Strand State Beach in July 2001.
This shooting was a result of an argument over a campsite.
After shooting the boy and his uncle, Deflaun then shot at a park ranger, which he was also found guilty of.
Stephen Arthur Deflaun (dob 1-24-1959) convicted by jury for July 8, 2001 murder of 11 yr old Jerry H Rios and 37 yr old Stephen D. Wells using a firearm at the Morro Strand State Beach. And guilty of assault with a firearm against State Parks Ranger Charles Jackson. Sanity phase…— SLO County Dist Atty (@SLOCounty_DA) April 19, 2023
Deflaun has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and for three years following the shootings he failed every competency hearing.
In fact, he was actually sent to the Atascadero State Hospital by a judge back in 2004.
In that same year, a conclusion was reached that he will not be able to stand trial due to being incompetent.
That ruling changed in December of 2021, and he was held in the San Luis Obispo County Jail until the date of his trial—according to the County Sheriff’s Office website.
The sanity phase of the trial begins Thursday.