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Accused homeless killer somber in first court appearance

January 18, 2012 | 11:13 am

Itzcoatl Ocampo court appearance
The former Marine accused of killing four homeless men in Orange County in an alleged murder spree appeared in court Wednesday, handcuffed and confined to a holding cell as several family members watched the brief proceeding on television monitors outside the courtroom.

Itzcoatl Ocampo did not enter a plea to the four murder charges he faces and his arraignment was postponed until Feb. 17.

Ocampo's hands were cuffed behind his back and he sat quietly during the hearing, which lasted less than five minutes.

His father, Refugio Ocampo, and his 17-year-old brother Mixcoatl quietly watched the short court hearing. Mixcoatl Ocampo smiled briefly when he first saw his older brother.

Ocampo, who would be eligible for the death penalty if convicted in the string of slayings, is being held without bail at Orange County Jail on a psychological watch.

His attorney, Randall Longwith, said during a brief visit with Ocampo Tuesday that he found his 23-year-old client withdrawn.

"He was curled up in a ball under a blanket in underwear, no shirt, no pants," Longwith said. "He looked like a wet cat -- a scared, wet cat. It wasn't much conversation."


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Photo: In this image taken from a video feed, Itzcoatl Ocampo appeared in Department CJ-1 in Orange County Central jail on charges of murdering four homeless men. Ocampo is flanked by defense attorney Randall Longwith, left, and county Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times