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Home blog Criminal Defense In the News Man Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder in Death of Father

Man Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder in Death of Father

By Michael Guisti on November 1, 2014

Santa Ana, CA — Sometimes the prosecution and defense will agree about the facts of the case, but vary greatly in their interpretation of those facts. For example, in a corruption case, the defense attorney might admit that the defendant did receive a substantial campaign donation, but that it was not accepted in exchange for any official action, while the prosecution would try to establish the transaction as a quid-pro-quo arrangement. In a recent Orange County murder trial, the jury was presented with a case in which both parties agreed that the defend had killed the victim.

On Wednesday, the jury in the trial of Steven Bruno found him to be guilty of the second-degree murder of his father, Ernest Bruno. Bruno, 23, killed his father in a condominium in Irvine on August 30, 2012. The body was discovered the next day by Bruno’s brother, David, then 17, and Steven was arrested while driving through Colorado on his way to visit a woman he had met online.

Steven and Ernest Bruno had been sharing the condominium after Steven was kicked out of his parents’ house and while his parents were getting a divorce. According to the defense, Steven Bruno had locked himself in the bathroom with his father’s gun, intending to kill himself, however, when he came out of the bathroom his father surprised him and Bruno fired the gun.

The prosecution described the event as a premeditated murder in which Steven Bruno killed his father, who was the only obstacle keeping him from driving out to Ohio to meet with his girlfriend who he had only communicated with online. They cited the evidence that Bruno had hidden the body, stolen money and credit cards, and was texting his girlfriend from the road as he drove.

Ultimately, the jury decided that although Bruno’s actions did constitute murder, that the act was not premeditated, and entered the verdict of second-degree murder. Bruno is scheduled to return to court on December 18 for sentencing. He could sentenced to up to 40 years to life in prison.

There are several possible defensive strategies that can be successful when a case goes to trial. However, before that the most important step you can take is to hire a criminal defense attorney. A good attorney can sit you down and go over not only the charges you might face, but the options you’ll have both before and after the trial begins. They can advise you on how to best deal with law enforcement and whether you should take the stand in your own defense.

At the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, our team of award-winning legal professionals will be here to help you through the process of an investigation and trial. We’ve been practicing law in Orange County for over 16 years and in that time we’ve built a strong reputation for obtaining the best results for our clients.

In fact, meeting our clients’ needs is our greatest priority. As a fixture in Orange County’s legal scene we’ve helped hundreds of people get the charges against them reduced or dismissed in Southern California’s state and federal courts. Our staff is available 24/7 to help address any questions or concerns you might have about your case. We maintain offices in Irvine, Santa Ana, Garden Grove, and Newport Beach so that we can better serve our local court districts and we are committed to serving the diverse local community by offering foreign language assistance if needed.

So if you need the best possible defense against felony or misdemeanor charges in Orange County, call the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti at (714) 707-2797 or click the “Contact Us” link above.


Emery, Sean. “Jury: Son is guilty of murdering father.” http://www.ocregister.com/articles/bruno-640107-father-steven.html. October 28, 2014, updated October 29, 2014.

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