Carlsbad Murder Verdict Conflicts Citizens

A+sign+in+front+of+Hosp+Grove+park+trailhead+leads+to+Hosp+Grove+park.+The+familiar+sign+marks+the+entrance+to+the+trail+where+Beaudet+stabbed+Thorburg+in+2020.+

Photo Taken From carlsbadca.gov

A sign in front of Hosp Grove park trailhead leads to Hosp Grove park. The familiar sign marks the entrance to the trail where Beaudet stabbed Thorburg in 2020.

Calling Carlsbad a city can seem erroneous because of its population of less than 115,000. Crime and safety precautions can be considered excessive and unnecessary due to the overall safety and security that the city provides.

However, when crime does invade Carlsbad, because of the area’s small population, every citizen is affected. Especially when it comes to aggravated crimes such as assault robberies and homicide. In the past decade, an estimated 21 homicides have taken place within the Carlsbad community. 

The most recent homicide occurred in Hosp Grove park and reached a controversial verdict in late September. Lisa Thorburg, a 68-year-old Carlsbad resident, was allegedly stabbed multiple times by 17-year-old Haloa Beaudet. After Beaudet entered a guilty plea on Aug. 18, the jury achieved a final verdict almost two years later on Sept. 1, 2022. 

The controversy lies in whether or not Beaudet should have been tried as an adult or as a minor under the juvenile district laws as well as the severity of his punishment. When the crime took place, Beaudet was 17 years old and would be tried easily as a minor if he hadn’t pleaded guilty as an 18-year-old adult. 

68-year-old Carlsbad resident Lisa Thorburg is shown before her death in Hosp Grove park. Family and friends mourned the kind and caring woman’s death in late November.
(Photo Taken From kpbs.org)

Tenth grader Donovan Hiersche notes that he remains “Glad that this person who is only a year older than [him] is in jail,” and adds that “it is very sad that a woman died but also scary that people this young are committing murder.”

Multiple factors were said to weigh into the jury’s decision, such as Beaudet’s age, whether or not the crime was premeditated and Beaudet’s previous family history. 

After delving into specifics of the crime, investigators came to a consensus. Beaudet had already pleaded guilty to his actions, the first vital part of the investigation was whether or not to charge Beaudet with premeditated first-degree murder or unplanned, reckless second-degree.

Thorburg had posted both her name and location on neighborhood app Nextdoor while looking for a hiking partner. It was determined by detectives that Beaudet had learned Thorburg’s intentions and followed her to the Hosp Grove hiking trail where she would be hiking alone. Therefore, the crime was premeditated and Beaudet was charged with first-degree murder. 

Although this crime is seen as an appalling act of violence, Beaudet’s past history was also taken into account. Since Beaudet has a father who is currently in jail being charged with second-degree attempted homicide yet had no previous criminal record, Beaudet himself entered a plea deal while being charged as a juvenile, his charges were less grave.

With those details accounted for, Beaudet was charged with seven years in prison and $2,110 in restitution fees. 

The Carlsbad community remains frightened even after the verdict. San Diego police sergeant Drake Lasley spoke out about how small communities not only in San Diego but all over the country can stay safe no matter the population size. 

“I think the basic principles of being safe apply to all age groups. Criminals will take advantage of easy targets no matter their age,” he notes. He advises citizens to “Make sure you are walking in groups, don’t go out alone and walk around at night alone, and be aware of your surroundings.” 

As a new resident of Carlsbad, Hiersche remembers that he was concerned by the violent nature of the crime.

“I was very surprised because I think that Carlsbad is a very safe place and now knowing that there was someone murdered on a hiking trail makes me feel a little worried to go out with just myself,” Hierseche said in light of the verdict. “It also worries me about my sister because she is smaller and it would be harder for her to defend herself.”

Sage Creek student resource officer, Julie Martinson, adds more insight into the relationship between population size and crime rate. 

Student Resource Officer Julie Martinson poses in her office on Sage Creek High School campus. Her specific job duties are to provide safety and security to the students on campus.
(Photo By Georgia Scherrer)

“Carlsbad tends to be a very safe city. We have a very low crime rate and an even lower homicide rate. It’s not a big city like Oceanside or San Diego, that’s why it shocks the community even more,” Martinson said. “When you look at it in the grand scheme of things, we’re still so low on the number of incidents like this. But it goes to show-any crime can happen anywhere.”

As for Thorburg’s family and legacy, the Carlsbad community pledged money to construct a memorial for Thorburg in Hosp Grove Park, where a community gathering occurred by the name of “Finishing Lisa’s Walk.” During this walk, residents were able to gather in a group patrolled by Carlsbad police officers and were able to walk the trail which Thorburg could not. 

Locals are encouraged to continue hiking and enjoy all Carlsbad has to offer, while still remaining vigilant and aware. 

“You can say ‘no nothing even happens to me, it’ll never happen to me,’” Martinson remarks. “But you still need to be aware of your surroundings because crime can happen to anyone anywhere.”

If anything, Carlsbad and other communities should learn and grow from this tragedy. Knowing to be aware of social media’s positives as well as negatives regarding what information is released, ensuring that citizens are aware of their surroundings at all times, and hiking with friends and family can help them and others they know to be safe and prevent crimes like this from occurring in the future.