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Jury finds man guilty of murder in Ventura County deputy’s death

A Camarillo man was found guilty Friday morning in the murder of a Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy.

Jurors declared Kevin Hogrefe guilty of second degree murder for killing Deputy Eugene Kostiuchenko in October of 2014. The jury also found Hogrefe guilty of felony fleeing the scene of an accident.

At around 1:15 a.m., Deputy Kostiuchenko, 41, was finishing up a traffic stop when he was struck and killed by a vehicle driven by Hogrefe near the Lewis Road onramp of US 101.

The (then) 25-year-old Hogrefe was intoxicated and fled the scene. Two deputies witnessed the crash and pursued Hogrefe at a high rate of speed. Minutes later, Hogrefe crashed his vehicle while exiting the freeway at Las Posas Road. Hogrefe was arrested at the scene of that crash.

Friday’s verdict was announced just after 11:00 a.m. in Ventura County Superior Courtroom 46, after a 7 day trial and a day and a half of deliberation.

Kostiuchenko’s family spoke to NewsChannel 3 after the verdict was read.

“It’s been a very difficult two years. We have had to bite our tongue and wait and wait, but today justice is finally served fairness has happened. Eugene was out that night trying to stop drunk drivers when he was ambushed by a drunk driver,” said Kostiuchenko’s widow, Maura Kelley.

“This certainly doesn’t bring him back. It certainly doesn’t fix the widow’s life or the family’s life but there is some justice for the action’s taken in a very negligent way by Mr. Hogrefe,” said Sheriff Geoff Dean.

Hogrefe has been out on bail while he waited for his trail. After the verdict was read Hogrefe was taken into custody where he will be held without bail until sentencing.

Hogrefe’s father says his family feels for the deputy’s family and they all wish that night two years ago never happened.

“He feels horrible. He feels shattered. He is processing it the best he can. He feels in his heart he wishes he can make it better, and he will do everything he can to do that,” said Hogrefe’s father, Scott Hogrefe

Hogrefe will be sentenced on November 14 at 8:30 a.m. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 19 years to life in prison.

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