Los Angeles/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 20, 2024
Ojai Man Confesses to 2019 Voluntary Manslaughter of Roommate, Set for 18-Year Prison TermSource: Ventura County District Attorney's Office

An Ojai man has confessed to the voluntary manslaughter of his friend, in a case that's rocked the Southern California community. Cameron Scott Lykins, 28, will serve prison time for the 2019 death of Houston Auer, his friend and roommate, according to the Ventura County District Attorney's Office.

The fatal incident took place on May 12, 2019, at Auer’s grandmother's Ojai home on Meyer Road, where an argument escalated fatally, culminating in Lykins bludgeoning Auer with a sledgehammer. Lykins’ subsequent actions included removing the body from the scene through a window and disposing it in the Angeles National Forest. He then fled to Lone Pine, where he involved his mother in his eventual surrender to the authorities, as reported by KTLA.

Initially charged with murder, Lykins faced a mistrial in his first trial due to the mishandling of evidence, prompting a retrial. It was during this interval that prosecutors stumbled upon new evidence that cast doubt on their ability to prove malice, an essential component of the murder charge. This evidence included documented communications between Lykins and Auer before the incident.

Ultimately, due to this additional evidence, Lykins entered a guilty plea to the lesser count of voluntary manslaughter, "Houston’s death was a tragic loss that could have been avoided and hopefully the defendant’s acceptance of responsibility helps his family begin to heal," Senior Deputy District Attorney Christopher Harman told the Ventura County District Attorney's Office. As per the Ventura County District Attorney's Office, Lykins is slated for sentencing on May 17 and is expected to receive an 18-year term in state prison.