Opinions Run Deep In La Jolla Community

A spilled drink. This whole sad affair started because of a spilled drink. What followed were bad decisions. A brawl. A punch. A death. Lives ruined and an affluent community thrust into the pop culture spotlight of Nancy Grace and her sluethy ilk.

View photos of the memorial paddle out for Emery Kauanui

Seth Cravens was convicted of second-degree murder this week in the fatal beating of a quasi-professional surfer Emery Kauanui in the upscale San Diego neighborhood of La Jolla.

According to a San Diego Union Tribune (UT) article, court testimony stated that Cravens and four others – Eric House, Matthew Yanke, Orlando Osuna and Henri "Hank" Hendricks – left a La Jolla bar where House and Kauanui had gotten into an altercation.

The men drove to Kauanui’s mother’s home in La Jolla, and a fight broke out. At one point during the altercation, Kauanui rose to his feet after being on the ground, according to testimony. He argued with Cravens, who witnesses said hit Kauanui once in the jaw, knocking him to the ground.

According to the UT article, Yanke, House and Osuna pleaded guilty in June to involuntary manslaughter. House and Yanke were ordered to serve 210 days each in county jail. Osuna received the longest jail term at 349 days. Hendricks, 22, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Sentencing is set for Jan. 12.

The five men, according to the UT article, all graduates of La Jolla High School, were self-described as “the Bird Rock Bandits.” As a gang the men had engaged in numerous alcohol-fueled fights in the neighborhood over several years, prosecutors said during the trial.

The internet is boiling over with opinions about the incident deceased Kauanui, the crime, the community and convicted murderer Seth Cravens.

Here is some of the internet chatter from an emotional case:

I graduated from LJHS the same year as Seth. I knew Emery’s brother well. I surfed with Emery. I went to school with Seth. I want the world to know this was no freak accident. It was only a matter of time before Seth murdered someone. I said that many times before he did. It was not a hard thing to see coming. — Big Rock

The whole thing is a tragic waste all around. But, due process has been served, and hopefully everyone involved can begin to put the pieces back together as best they can. — craigj532

The verdict surprises, but does not sadden, me. Cravens was the type of guy who spent his life looking for trouble. Well, he sure found it now…He’s looking at hard time in a CA State Penitentiary. That’s no picnic. — ringer

Personally I don’t care if Seth spends the rest of his life in prison as I don’t think he’s much of a nice guy. But I don’t think he went to that house planning on killing anybody. But like said above, nobody wins in this case. Not even close. My two cents. — Esteban4000

I do not know Seth therefore I would not judge him as it is unfair to pass judgement on someone we do not know. I grieve for the poor surfer; no one deserves to die so young it is a tragedy and a tragedy for all.–Flori

They’re all a bunch of worthless punks. They are a blight on an otherwise awesome beach during the summer. Bunch of young, drunk morons trying to ruin other people’s good times. — dude

The defense has promised to appeal. The process is not over. Although the conviction of Cravens has begun the healing process for many, our justice system plods on. For better or for worse, it plods.