California Man Convicted Of Murdering 3 Juveniles Playing the Ding-Dong-Ditch Prank

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 04/29/2023
A Southern California man who was accused of purposefully hitting three adolescent boys' cars and killing them after they performed a practical joke on him was convicted guilty of murder on Friday.

A Riverside County courtroom found Anurag Chandra guilty on three charges of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder.

"Our town suffered a terrible and needless tragedy with the killing of two young guys. I appreciate the jury's decision. In a statement, county District Attorney Mike Hestrin noted that this was a significant step toward justice.


The victims, all 16 years old, were alongside six other teenagers in a Toyota Prius on January 19, 2020 when Chandra allegedly purposefully ran their car off the road before fleeing.

About 60 miles (97 kilometres) southeast of downtown Los Angeles, the Prius' driver lost control and the sedan slammed into a tree in Temescal Valley. The boys had challenged one of the boys to play "ding dong ditch" or jump into a pool at night.

According to The Riverside Press-Enterprise, Chandra, who didn't know the teenagers, said at the trial that one of the lads rang his doorbell and showed his buttocks before fleeing. Chandra said that he did so out of concern for his family's safety and a need to vent his resentment. He said that the joke had left him "extremely, extremely mad."

The publication added that Chandra also stated in court that he had 12 beers in the hours before the collision. Even though he acknowledged under cross-examination that he had been travelling at a speed of 99 mph (159 kph) prior to the collision, the driver claimed he did not intend to hit the Prius and that he did not stop after rear-ending the sedan because he did not realize anyone had been hurt.

According to the Riverside County coroner's office, the collision claimed the lives of Jacob Ivascu of Riverside, Drake Ruiz of Corona, and Daniel Hawkins of Corona.

The Prius's 18-year-old driver at the time was Sergio Campusano. Joshua Hawkins and Joshua Ivascu, both 13 at the time, and he all survived the collision. They gave testimony throughout the trial, and they were there when the judgement was announced.

When the murders took place in 2020, Chandra was already under investigation for suspected domestic abuse.

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