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Serial killer suspect stalked homeless men, D.A. says

January 17, 2012 |  3:25 pm


Itzcoatl Ocampo, who was charged Tuesday with killing four homeless men in Orange County. stalked his victims, looking for the right opportunity to strike, Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said. Ocampo is believed to have had more victims planned, Rackauckas said.

Authorities believe Ocampo relished media attention and targeted his last alleged victim, John Berry, after he was interviewed for a Los Angeles Times article. Rackauckas held up a copy of the newspaper where Berry's photo appeared.

“The evidence is going to show that the defendant specifically sought out this victim for participating in this article; that the defendant relished the media attention of the crime, and he stalked the victim until he got his prey,” Rackauckas said.

Berry’s slaying, Rackauckas said, was “the most brazen.”

Berry had placed a call to Anaheim police saying he felt like he was being followed and stalked, said John Welter, Anaheim chief of police.

“It’s unfortunate that we did not get to him before the suspect did,” Welter said.

Police were receiving hundreds of tips and leads on the case, Welter said.

“There were literally hundreds of police officers around the county searching for this guy,” Welter said.

Rackauckas showed a photo of the knife believed to have been used in the killings: a single-edged, 7-inch Ka-Bar Bulldozer knife. The blade, Rackauckas said, went through bone “without chipping or breaking the blade,” findings from the Orange County Crime Lab pathologist showed.

A Ka-Bar knife was found near the location where Ocampo was apprehended, Rackauckas said.



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-- Hailey Branson-Potts

Photo: 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 in the deaths of four homeless men. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times