Did This Man’s Obsession With His Stepmom Lead Him To Kill His Father?

Scott Eastman’s dark web search history may have held clues to solve his father’s murder.

January 24, 2022
Relis Eastman

Relis Eastman

Photo by: Discovery, Inc.

Discovery, Inc.

Relis Eastman

It was late on the night of June 25, 2016, when a 9-year-old boy walked into his family’s home and discovered his stepfather, Relis Eastman, dying on the kitchen floor of the family home.

First responders quickly realized the incident was not a burglary gone wrong, but an intentional shooting. The U.S. Army veteran had been shot in the back of the head and the bullet exited through his left temple. Relis’s phone and wallet were still in his pocket, and there were no signs of struggle. The man was clinging to life and was rushed to a nearby hospital.

According to The Mercury News, Relis was deemed brain dead and never regained consciousness. It was his 18-year-old daughter, Aurora, who made the decision to remove her father’s life support on June 30, 2016.

An investigation found that trouble had been brewing in the Eastman home for quite some time. Relis’s oldest child from a previous relationship, 22-year-old Scott Eastman, was still living at home, and Relis reportedly wanted his son to get a job and move out of the house. It was Scott who authorities zeroed in on and arrested for murder on July 9, 2016.

Scott and Relis had a strained relationship, according to testimony in Scott’s September 2018 trial. At the time of the murder, Scott was using the dark web to buy illegal drugs, and the young man was often at odds with his father over a curfew and access to one of the family vehicles, a silver Volkswagen Beetle.

On the night of the murder, Scott’s stepmother and half siblings were out shopping while Scott hung out with friends. Surveillance footage of the area around the Eastman’s Bigalow Drive home reportedly caught Scott parking the Volkswagen nearby and walking towards the house. Later, cameras caught a man walking towards the car and stopping at the trunk before continuing out of the frame.

About 10 days after Relis was shot, one of Scott’s friends reportedly found a spent .22-caliber shell casing in the trunk of the Volkswagen while he was searching for a cigarette.

Prosecutors say Scott also used the dark web to research whether or not a .22-caliber bullet, the same kind used in the shooting, would be an effective way of killing someone. Prosecutors also noted that Scott had recently learned he was listed as a beneficiary of Relis’s life insurance and stood to gain a substantial amount of money.

The defense, however, claimed that Scott’s stepmother, Kathleen Rogneby, was trying to frame her stepson by planting the shell casing. Police believed Rogneby was involved in the killing somehow, but she was never arrested or charged and eventually testified for the prosecution in exchange for immunity.

Further investigation into Scott’s browsing history untangled a twisted web of incestuous son-stepmother pornography searches, potentially revealing a darker side to Scott and Kathleen’s relationship.

Scott was found guilty of first-degree murder following his 34-day trial and five days of jury deliberation. He was sentenced to 50 years in prisonprision and is housed at the Calipatria State Prison in southern California. His earliest possible parole date is June 2040.

Go inside the twisted case with Lt. Joe Kenda on American Detective Season 2 premiering January 26 on discovery+.

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