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Man held in 'death warrant' homeless stabbings

July 20, 2012 | 10:10 pm

A man was in custody late Friday in connection with the stabbings of three transients while they slept. The attacker left behind rambling "death warrants."

Los Angeles Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said Courtney Anthony Robinson was taken into custody shortly after 9 p.m. by an LAPD Hollywood gang officer. He has since been turned over to robbery-homicide detectives, Smith said.

The detectives will question Robinson overnight, Smith said, adding that it's "unknown if he will be booked for the attempted murders at this time."

Smith said LAPD officers working with Santa Monica police located Robinson. Based on the "death warrant" notes left on the victims, officials Thursday called the person they wanted to question David Ben Keyes, who they said has been missing for weeks from the Santa Barbara area. On Friday, they said his real name was Courtney Anthony Robinson.

The attacks, none fatal, all occurred this month and involved middle-aged homeless people who were stabbed in the back.

The first attack was reported July 3 when a 56-year-old man was found bleeding with a large "hunting type" knife protruding from his back near 3rd and Main streets in downtown Los Angeles, according to law enforcement sources. The man crawled 100 yards looking for help while the weapon was lodged between his shoulder blades, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing.

On Tuesday, another man was stabbed in a similar manner as he slept on a Santa Monica bus bench near the Third Street Promenade, officials said. Police Sgt. Richard Lewis confirmed that a similar note was found by detectives, but he did not give details.

On Thursday, a 54-year-old woman was stabbed as she slept near La Brea and De Longpre avenues, blocks from Hollywood High School, authorities said. Police said they recovered a black kitchen knife and another "warrant."


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-- Andrew Blankstein