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Transient charged in Wal-Mart baseball bat slaying

November 3, 2011 |  2:20 pm

Wal-Mart baseball bat killing
Prosecutors charged a transient with murder Thursday for allegedly beating a 74-year-old man to death at a Lakewood Wal-Mart with an aluminum bat.

Richard Lawrence Kalfin, 47, is due to appear in a Bellflower courtroom Thursday for arraignment on the single murder count. In charging Kalfin, prosecutors also noted he had a 2005 conviction for arson.

Authorities have identified the victim as David Oakleaf of Lakewood, who died Tuesday after being repeatedly struck in the head in what witnesses described as a vicious, methodical attack.

Kalfin is believed to be a local transient who frequented the Wal-Mart shopping center. On Tuesday, he wandered into the store and through its aisles before ending up in the sporting goods section.

He removed a baseball bat from a display rack and began walking the nearby aisles, stopping only when he spotted Oakleaf. Witnesses told authorities Kalfin began swinging the bat swiftly and furiously at the customer's head.

Sheriff's Lt. Eddie Hernandez said there was no evidence the two men had prior contact.

In a statement, Wal-Mart expressed its "deepest condolences" to the victim's family.

"We are working closely with law enforcement to offer what information we have, such as surveillance video that might help with the investigation," the company said.


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--Andrew Blankstein (Twitter.com/anblanx)

Photo: Wal-Mart where the baseball bat slaying occurred. Credit: KTLA-TV.