Man found guilty of murdering teens who ‘ding-dong-ditched’ his house

Anurag Chandra was convicted of murdering three teenage boys who played a doorbell ditch prank at his Corona home in 2020.
(Riverside County Sheriff’s Department)

A Corona man was convicted of murder on Friday for the deaths of three teenage boys who played a doorbell ditch prank at his home in 2020.

Anurag Chandra was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder after authorities said he intentionally rammed into a 2002 Toyota Prius filled with teenagers and forced it off the road. The jury deliberated for about three hours before announcing they had a verdict.

“The murder of these young men was a horrendous and senseless tragedy for our community. I thank the jury for their verdict. This is an important step toward justice,” Riverside County Dist. Atty. Mike Hestrin said in a statement.


Chandra’s attorney, David Wohl, called the conviction of first-degree murder “a complete overreach.” Wohl said he planned on filing a motion for a new trial.

“I think that we felt worst-case scenario would be voluntary manslaughter, but we also thought we had made a great case for an acquittal outright,” Wohl told The Times on Sunday. “The battle has just begun as far as I’m concerned.”

Authorities say Anurag Chandra of Corona chased six teenagers after one of them played a “ding-dong-ditch” prank at his home.

Jan. 23, 2020

The deadly encounter unfolded on Jan. 19, 2020.

Six teenagers were having a sleepover, and one of them dared their friends to pull a “ding-dong-ditch” prank — ringing a doorbell and quickly driving away — at a nearby home, according to an investigation conducted by the California Highway Patrol.

One of the boys rang the doorbell of Chandra’s home and ran back to the waiting Prius while Chandra chased after them.

As the Toyota and Chandra’s 2019 Infinity Q50 approached Squaw Mountain Road, authorities said, Chandra struck the back of the Prius, causing it to veer off the road and crash into a tree.

Jacob Ivascu of Riverside died at the scene. Drake Ruiz and Daniel Hawkins, both of Corona, died after being transported to a hospital, according to the Riverside County coroner.


Firefighters freed the three other teens trapped in the car: the 18-year-old driver, a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old, according to a CHP news release.

Wohl said media outlets had reported it as a simple prank but that a teenager had pounded on Chandra’s door at 10:30 p.m. and “exposed himself, with pants pulled down below his rear end.”

Chandra’s wife and two daughters were inside the home, Wohl said, and “he was in extreme fear for their safety.”

“It was much more serious than a ding-dong-ditch,” Wohl said.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported that family members and friends of the victims gathered in court Friday, many of them sobbing as the verdicts were read.

“We are happy to see justice was served even though in this day and age it is hard to come by,” Alex Ivascu, the father of two of the teens in the car, told the news outlet. “But we had a reasonable jury that looked at the facts and realized that the facts speak louder than words.”