LAPD seeks help finding 'person of interest' in 'death warrant' case
Los Angeles police released a photograph Thursday evening of a "person of interest" in a trio of stabbings of homeless people in which the suspect left behind signed "death warrants" at the crime scenes.
David Ben Keyes, who has been missing for weeks from the Santa Barbara area, is being sought by detectives with the LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division and Santa Monica investigators. Authorities stressed that he is a "person of interest" and not yet a suspect.
Police said that in each of the cases the victims were homeless people who were stabbed as they slept. Typed and signed "death warrants" were left at each scene, but the victims, two men and a woman in their 50s, survived the attacks.
The first incident was reported July 4 when a 56-year-old homeless man was found bleeding with a large "hunting-type" knife protruding from his back near the intersection of 3rd and Main streets in Los Angeles, according to sources. The man crawled 100 yards looking for help while the weapon was lodged between his shoulder blades.
On Tuesday, another homeless man was stabbed in a similar manner as he slept on a Santa Monica bus bench near the Third Street Promenade. Santa Monica police Sgt. Richard Lewis confirmed that a similar note was found by detectives but did not give details.
On Thursday, a 54-year-old homeless woman was stabbed in the back as she slept near the intersection of La Brea and De Longpre avenues, blocks away from Hollywood High School. Police recovered a black kitchen knife and another "warrant," also signed by the suspect.
On various websites, Keyes describes himself as "a musician, and writer of original psalms, proverbs, love letters, poems and riddles for the Roman Catholic Church and Jewish Synogagues."
-- Andrew Blankstein
Photo: David Ben Keyes, described by police as a "person of interest" in the "death warrant" case. Credit: Los Angeles Police Department