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Grand jury: Ocampo planned to set up friend for murder

March 15, 2012 | 11:56 am


The former Marine accused in a string of Orange County slayings told police that he also intended to kill a former friend and make it appear that the man had murdered his own family and then committed suicide, according to a grand jury transcript.

Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, is accused of killing four homeless men, as well as the mother and brother of his onetime friend.

During an interview with police shortly after his arrest in January, Ocampo told a detective that it was his plan to make it appear that his former friend, Eder Herrera, killed his mother and brother and then took his own life, the Orange County Register reported, citing a grand jury transcript made public this week.

PHOTOS: O.C. homeless slayings

The plan fell apart, however, when Ocampo showed up at Herrera’s Yorba Linda home and discovered that his friend had gone out for the evening, according to the transcript.

He told police that he went ahead and killed his onetime friend's mother and brother anyway, according to the transcipt.

Herrera was eventually arrested on suspicion of killing his mother and brother but was released after Ocampo was taken into custody.

As with the four homeless men Ocampo is accused of fatally stabbing, Raquel Estrada, 54, and her oldest son Juan Carlos Herrera, 34, were stabbed numerous times, authorities said.

The Iraq war veteran allegedly confessed to the killings after he was chased down and arrested after the stabbing death of a homeless man outside a fast-food restaurant in Anaheim.

Anaheim police Det. Daron Wyatt said Ocampo told him he intended to continue his killing rampage and hoped to eventually claim 16 victims, the same as Charles Whitman, the University of Texas student who shot and killed 16 people on campus in a 1960s-era attack, the Register reported, quoting the transcripts.

Ocampo allegedly said he knew that Whitman was also a former Marine.

Wyatt testified during the grand jury hearings that Ocampo told him that before each attack, "He would look at Penthouse magazine to pump himself up," and that he had studied human anatomy to determine the easiest and best way to kill people, the paper reported.

"He seemed to get excited when he was talking about the actual kill," Wyatt testified.

Ocampo, he said, told him he had “the killer gene.”


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-- Steve Marble

Photo: Iztcoatl Ocampo in Superior Court in Santa Ana after his indictment in February. Credit: Bruce Chambers