D.A.: Alleged serial killer was becoming more 'brazen,' violent
The alleged serial killer charged in the stabbing death of four homeless men was becoming more “brazen” and his attacks more vicious and violent, Orange County prosecutors said Tuesday.
In one of the slayings, accused killer Itzcoatl Ocampo stabbed his victim more than 50 times, authorities said. In a subsequent attack, the victim was stabbed more than 60 times.
Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said Ocampo had “purposely” sought out victims and waited for an opportunity to murder them, relishing the attention he was receiving in the media.
“He was a monster,” Rackauckas said.
On Tuesday, the district attorney’s office filed four counts of murder against Ocampo, a former Marine who served in Iraq and had a reputation for being a charity-minded person who gave money to the homeless. Family members said his months in Iraq left him a changed person.
No decision has been reached on whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
Ocampo was arrested Friday after he was chased down by two men after the stabbing death of John Berry, 64, behind an Anaheim fast-food restaurant.
The fatal stabbing was the fourth in a string of slayings that had left the homeless community on edge.
The victims were identified as James Patrick McGillivray, 53, killed in Placentia on Dec. 20; Lloyd Middaugh, 42, who was found in Anaheim on Dec. 28; Paulus Smit, 57, died in Yorba Linda on Dec. 30; and Berry, who was killed Friday.
Prosecutors have labeled the case a "serial murder spree" but have not said whether they've pinpointed a motive.
-- Hailey Branson-Potts and Steve Marble
Photo: During a news conference in Santa Ana, Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas holds up a photo of a 7-inch knife similar to the one he says was used by Itzcoatl Ocampo, the man accused of a serial murder spree of four homeless men. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times