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La Jolla man found guilty in beating death of surfer Kauanui

November 18, 2008 |  2:02 pm

Emery Kauanui enjoys a tube ride at Windansea in La Jolla. The surfer was beaten to death last May.

Another chapter in the sad saga involving Emery Kauanui and La Jolla's Bird Rock Bandits was slammed shut today as a San Diego Superior Court jury found Seth Cravens guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal beating last year of pro surfer Kauanui.

Prosecutors contended that Cravens, 22, was one of five members of a gang that followed and attacked Kauanui outside his mother's home on May 24, 2007.

La Jolla residents remember well the details of a case involving the five young men, all graduates of La Jolla High School.

According to testimony, trouble began with a skirmish in a local restaurant, after Kauanui had spilled a beer on one of the five close friends. 

Less than an hour later, the surfer was hospitalized with a fractured skull and bleeding of the brain. He died four days later.

Cravens also was convicted on four counts of assault with a deadly weapon to produce great bodily harm, one count of misdemeanor battery and one count of making a criminal threat.

Cravens' defense attorney said her client will appeal the verdict.

As for the four others, Matthew Yanke, Eric House and Orlando Osuna pleaded guilty in June to involuntary manslaughter. House and Yanke were sentenced to 210 days in county jail. Osuna received a 349-day jail term.

Henri "Hank" Hendricks, 22, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

For a Los Angeles Times front-section story profiling the Bird Rock Bandits and detailing events of that fateful May night, click here.

Cravens' sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 12.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Emery Kauanui enjoys a tube ride at Windansea in La Jolla. The surfer was beaten to death last May. Credit: John Slavin