San Juan Capistrano resident Robert Eugene Vasquez was found guilty Friday of brutally murdering his mobile home park neighbor. Vasquez had been wrongly told by his mother that the victim was a child molester, which was what motivated the crime.
The 36-year-old Vasquez did not deny he killed his neighbor, Bobby Ray Rainwater Jr., and said that he did it because he feared for the safety of his girlfriend. Vasquez was also found guilty of a brutal assault of another man while he was on the run after killing Rainwater. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing in August.
The incident took place in December of 2011. Vasquez waited in the bushes outside of the 54-year-old’s trailer home, which he shared with his parents, and he attacked the moment Rainwater came out for a smoke. Vasquez punched the back of the victim’s head, then stabbed him multiple times and sliced his throat so that he was nearly decapitated.
Vasquez fled the scene and hid at his friend Lance Lyons’ home. Two days later, Vasquez smashed his friend’s face in with a metal mallet after Lyons asked Vasquez not to enter his grandmother’s room without permission. He was stopped by Lyons’ brother from taking a second swing, which could have killed Lyons. Vasquez was then arrested a linked to the Rainwater’s murder.
Rainwater was a registered sex offender, but because of the attempted rape of an adult woman in the 1980s and not of children. However, because of other warnings from neighbors about Rainwater, Vasquez felt justified in attacking Rainwater.
"I like to try to protect my family ... He's not going to go in there and rape my [expletive] chick," Vasquez had explained to investigators.
According to the Daily Mail, Vasquez was suspected of having a mental illness in the months leading up to the murder and a UCLA psychology professor testified during the trial that he suffers from paranoia, schizo-affective disorder and Asperger Syndrome.