Jury selection is expected to begin Monday, September 18, for the trial of David Anthony Strouth, 36, accused of killing the man whose home he had just moved into, weeks before the fatal incident on April 24, 2015.
Bradley Thomas Garner, 49 years old, was stabbed multiple times in the face and upper body. At the time of the incident, his two sons, Jameson, 3, and Kai, 2, were in their home at 1435 Santa Rosa Street in Oceanside.
It was about 9:30 p.m. when a bloodied Strouth allegedly told a 23-year-old babysitter named Jessica that he had “slayed the beast.” The young woman fled the home and Strouth followed the woman to her car, but she was able to escape and call neighbors for help, according to Oceanside police.
Two neighbors armed themselves, one with a knife and one with a gun, and went to the house, hoping to rescue the injured man and his two children. They found Strouth in the garage, kneeling over the body of Garner, and saw Strouth cutting his own neck and arms, police reported.
It took five officers to take Strouth into custody; a prosecutor said he asked police to kill him.
Strouth pleaded not guilty to one charge of first-degree murder. He is being held in lieu of $2 million bail.
The defendant was seen in court earlier this week. His dark hair was slicked back and he was cuffed to chains around his waist. Strouth appears bulkier and more muscular than when he was taken into custody two and half years ago. The sheriff describes Strouth as 5 feet 11 inches tall and 180 pounds.
Judge K. Michael Kirkman will hear the murder trial, which is expected to last about three weeks.
A civil suit was filed in April by an attorney representing the two minor children; the suit asks for an “unlimited amount.” The children are now six and four years old. The mother of the two boys lives in Bloomington, Minnesota, according to court papers. She has a different last name than the deceased father and was described by police as his “ex-girlfriend.” The civil suit alleges wrongful death of the children’s father and asks for funeral and burial expenses and compensation for loss of love and companionship and financial support. The next court date for the civil suit is set for December 2017.
The civil attorney stated in his court papers that he expects the criminal defense attorney will claim Strouth was “suffering a manic episode based upon his military experience.” It is speculated that defense attorney Sloan Ostbye might claim Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, based on Strouth’s reputed military service.