UPDATE, OCT. 29, 4:44 P.M.: After six hours of deliberation, a jury just found Steven Joseph Bruno guilty of second-degree murder for fatally shooting his adoptive father in the chest and head in his Irvine condo. The prosecution, which sought first-degree murder, claimed the slaying was premeditated so the 23-year-old could have money and a car to drive to Ohio to finally meet his Internet girlfriend. The defense countered Ernest Bruno was shot and killed about 9 p.m., Aug. 30, 2012, with a .40-caliber semi-automatic Glock handgun because the younger man feared the 60-year-old.
"It's a tragedy all the way around for everybody involved," defense attorney Leonard Matsuk told City News Service's Paul Anderson after the verdict was announced. "The family is forever fractured. I'm just grateful the jury did not find him guilty of (first-degree murder)."
Bruno could be sentenced to 40 years to life in prison at a scheduled Dec. 18 hearing.
ORIGINAL POST, OCT. 14, 6:07 A.M.: A 23-year-old man is scheduled to face trial this morning for the fatal shooting of his father in their Irvine home in 2012.
Steven Joseph Bruno is charged with murder and a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. If convicted at the trial scheduled to begin this morning in Santa Ana, he faces up to 50 years to life in state prison.
Bruno and his 60-year-old father Ernie had been arguing over money before the slaying, family members said in 2012.
It was also family members who found a large amount of blood in the home at 17 Dartmouth, which is near UC Irvine, and contacted the Irvine Police Department (IPD) around 1:30 p.m. Aug. 31, 2012. Officers then discovered the body of Ernest Bruno in a bedroom that had been locked. The owner of a company that provided embroidered golf tournament shirts and specialty products had been shot multiple times.
Missing from the home was Steven Bruno and his father's 2006 silver GMC Envoy Denali, which was pulled over on 1-76 near Sterling, Colorado, around 5:30 p.m. Aug. 31, 2012–with the younger Bruno behind the wheel. He was arrested by Logan County sheriff's deputies and later waived his extradition back to Orange County.
It is believed Ernie Bruno was killed after 9 p.m. on Aug. 30, 2012. The motive, prosecutors have previously said, was money.