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Suspected O.C. serial killer held in solitary confinement

January 16, 2012 |  2:49 pm


Stuffed animals, messages, candles and more make up a memorial to John Berry

A Yorba Linda man being held on suspicion of slaying four Orange County homeless men has been confined to a solitary jail cell and has refused requests for interviews, sheriff’s officials said Monday.

Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, was arrested Friday after bystanders chased him after the stabbing death of John Berry, 64, behind a fast-food restaurant in an Anaheim shopping center parking lot. It was the fourth in the string of killings of homeless men.

The Orange County district attorney's office is expected to announce a decision on filing charges against Ocampo at a Tuesday-morning news conference with local and federal law enforcement agencies.

PHOTOS: Serial killer targets O.C. homeless

In a news release, prosecutors labeled the case a "serial murder-spree of four homeless men."

Ocampo is being held without bail in a solitary cell apart from other inmates at the Central Jail Complex in Santa Ana, a common practice in high-profile cases, said a sheriff's official. Ocampo's profession, listed in jail records, is clerk.

The only suspect in the slayings targeting homeless men, Ocampo is a former Marine who was increasingly troubled after returning from Iraq in 2010, friends and family have said.

The other victims were James Patrick McGillivray, 53,  killed near a shopping center in Placentia on Dec. 20; Lloyd Middaugh, 42, whose body was found in Anaheim on Dec. 28; and Paulus Smit, 57, who was slain in Yorba Linda on Dec. 30.


Police probe string of O.C. deaths

O.C. serial killer sought in deaths of homeless men

Vulnerable homeless men try to foil Orange County killer

--Tony Barboza

Photo: Stuffed animals, messages, candles and more make up a memorial to John Berry, the fourth homeless man to be killed in a string of slayings.  Credit: Reed Saxon /Associated Press