Gerald 'Jerry' O'Malley, 87, was killed when a 13-year-old boy broke into his home and beat him with a skateboard.
The boy, who The Tribune never identified because he was a juvenile, then went home, got a padlock and then locked O'Malley in his San Luis Obispo house to die in a pool of his own blood on the kitchen floor.
The boy and his 12-year-old friend then took the keys to O'Malley's green Ford Explorer and went for a joy ride.
The boys were arrested together early March 1, after a report of a drunken driver led police to the stolen Ford Explorer and then to O'Malley's body.
The most damning evidence, according to Baird, came shortly after their arrest, when the pair sat in the back of a San Luis Obispo police car.
In a police car recording submitted as evidence, the suspect said he flushed O'Malley's credit cards down a toilet at home.
He continued to talk about the location of two sets of keys to O'Malley's SUV: One in a plastic bag with ice cream the boys never got around to eating, the other left in a shed at a friend's house.
The fact that he hid the evidence, padlocked the door and flushed the victim's credit cards proves not only that the boy did it but also that he knew it was wrong, prosecutors said.
The boy's knowledge of right and wrong is as important as whether he did the crime because it's a juvenile case.
Just after the murder, a teenage neighbor described O'Malley as "old, sweet and lonely, because he lived alone."
Her mother said O'Malley's neighbors in the South Street mobile-home park in San Luis Obispo worried about him.
O'Malley moved into the park a few years before his death, after his partner of 20 years had died.
The night O'Malley died, the man had dinner with friends and then stopped by the Madonna Inn alone for a nightcap.
The younger boy was sentenced for the theft of O'Malley's SUV in a Kern County court.
The older boy, whose mother said had a low IQ and emotional problems, was sentenced to a state corrections facility for children.
Division authorities can hold the boy until his 25th birthday and, depending on his behavior, will likely release him by his 19th or 21st birthday.