Stephen Merle Houk, 48, was found guilty Monday of kidnapping his two young children and fleeing from law enforcement authorities in a motorhome last year, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Jurors deliberated for two hours before finding Houk (pictured above) guilty of two counts each of kidnapping, child abuse, injuring a spouse and child detention, and one count each of assault with a firearm, criminal threats, fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Prior to the jury trial, Houk pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of failing to register as a sex offender.
Deputy District Attorney Tal Kahana of the Child Abduction Section prosecuted the case.
Houck is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 4 in Department 115 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. He faces more than 78 years in state prison.
On May 1, 2018, Houk and the mother of his children got into a fight in the family’s recreational vehicle motorhome while it was parked in Malibu. The defendant pointed a loaded firearm at her and threatened to kill her. The two children, one 10 months old and the second 3 years old, were awakened by the attack on their mother, the prosecutor said.
Houk drove away in the motorhome and stopped at a gas station before driving to a Santa Clarita coffee house where he forced the children’s mother to panhandle. The victim eventually asked for help from a passerby who called law enforcement. Houk fled when Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies responded and a pursuit ensued.
The defendant eventually fled from the RV after stopping near Bakersfield, the prosecutor said. He was later found in Barstow and arrested.
Case BA467774 was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Major Crimes Bureau.