[UPDATED with $5,000 Reward Paid:] Itzcoatl Ocampo, Troubled Former Marine, Accused Orange County Serial Killer

Categories: 2011 Homicides
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UPDATE, JAN. 25, 10:58 A.M.: Before the arrest of Itzcoatl Ocampo, the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of a serial killer preying on homeless men. Union president Tom Dominguez is scheduled to hand Donny Hopkins a $5,000 check this afternoon. The Yorba Linda 32-year-old is credited with chasing Ocampo and helping police find the suspect after witnessing the fatal stabbing of 64-year-old transient John Berry Jan. 13 in Anaheim.

The unions representing deputies and Anaheim police officers say they are also donating $5,000 to Mercy House, which provides shelter and other services to the homeless.

UPDATE, JAN. 17, 9:05 A.M.: Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas may announce at a news conference this morning that the death penalty will be sought for Itzcoatl Ocampo, the Yorba Linda 23-year-old accused of fatally stabbing four homeless men since Dec. 20. Rackauckas will be joined at 11 a.m. at his Santa Ana offices by representatives from the FBI, the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the police departments of Anaheim, Placentia and Brea, which patrols Yorba Linda, the site of one of the murders blamed on the the troubled former U.S. Marine.

The DA's office is releasing no additional information about the charges and penalties to be sought against Ocampo before this morning's press conference.

Meanwhile, more about the accused has come out since his arrest following the murder of homeless man John Berry Friday night in Anaheim:

Ocampo entered the Marine Corps out of high school in 2006 and was discharged in 2010. The death of a longtime friend overseas apparently charged him. He had recently began drinking heavily and suffered headaches and the shakes. (Clarification: The headline to this post originally described Ocampo as a "combat" Marine. According to authorities, his assignment with the Marines' 1st Medical Battalion in Iraq involved meeting and inspecting wounded servicemen, friendlies and even the enemy that were flown into his hospital from combat zones.)

His father is homeless, and 49-year-old Refugio Ocampo told the Associated Press over the weekend that his son came back from his four-year stint in the Marines, which included deployment to Iraq, disillusioned, growing even darker when the younger man lost his job and home.

The father and a Vietnam veteran neighbor urged the younger Ocampo to get medical and psychological treatment. His father told the AP his son began talking "crazy" and saying things "that did not make sense." The young man said something about the world ending.

The father says his son showed him a photograph of James McGillivray, the first homeless man killed during the recent murder spree. Itzcoatl warned Refugio it's a danger being on the streets. The son is also accused of slaying Lloyd Middaugh and Paulus Cornelius Smit.

Refugio Ocampo says he was educated as a lawyer in Mexico, immigrated to the U.S. with his wife and Itzcoatl in 1988 and became a U.S. citizen. The father was a warehouse manager and Yorba Linda homeowner.

The father later lost his job, savings and, eventually, the home. He now lives in the cab of a truck he's working on in Fullerton. He remains close with his family. Itzcoatl had been residing in a rented home on a Yorba Linda horse ranch with his mother, younger brother and sister and an uncle.

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Itzcoatl Ocampo
UPDATE, JAN. 14, 4:27 P.M.: At a just-concluded press conference, Anaheim Police Chief John Welter said, "We are extremely confident we have the man responsible for the murder of all four men."

That man would be Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, of Yorba Linda, who a commenter to a previous Weekly update writes she knows as a troubled U.S. Marine recently returned from Iraq. Welter did not go into that much detail about Ocampo's  background, however. His department will request that the Orange County District Attorney's office charge Ocampo with four murder counts, the chief said.

The disclosure comes after Ocampo's home was subjected to a search warrant. The multi-agency task force created the investigate the serial killings is still receiving and seeking tips. "This investigation is far from over," one law enforcement official said at the press conference.

Welter, Brea Police Chief Jack Conklin, Placentia Police Chief Rick Hicks, FBI Assistant Special Agent in charge of Orange County Bill O'Leary, State Sen. Lou Correa (D-Anaheim), whose district includes the murder scenes, and other law enforcement officials thanked the community, homeless advocates and investigators who have worked without breaks since the task force was formed with helping to catch the presumed killer.

Welter and Conklin, in particular, thanked the people who, despite just having witnessed a murder, chased after Ocampo last night and provided detailed descriptions that aided officers with his capture.

Assistant Sheriff Mark Billings of the Orange County Sheriff's Department said Ocampo will be in the custody of the agency's jailers "for a long period of time" as court proceedings against him begin.

UPDATE, JAN. 14, 11:38 A.M.: Go to this post for more details on last night's fatal stabbing of a homeless man known as "John" and the capture of Itzcoatl Ocampo.

UPDATE, JAN. 14, 11:05 A.M.: Authorities have reportedly linked Itzcoatl Ocampo, the 23-year-old Yorba Linda suspect in the fatal stabbing of a homeless man known as "John" at an Anaheim Carl's Jr. last night, with the recent murders of other homeless men in Orange County.

Ocampo fits the description of the killer shown in grainy surveillance video that captured the Dec. 20 slaying of homeless man James McGillivray in nearby Placentia.

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The task force probing the fatal stabbings of now four homeless men has a press conference scheduled this afternoon. Stay tuned . . .

UPDATE, JAN. 14, 8:31 A.M.: Gustavo here. Last night, the serial killer who has targeted homeless men struck again, killing a man behind a Carl's Jr. on the corner of Imperial Highway and La Palma Avenue in Anaheim. This time, however, a suspect was caught: Itzcoatl Ocampo. Coker will update with full details as they emerge . . .

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94 comments
oc
oc

The killer looks like a man I saw at a McDonald's on Katella the night, or night before, of the last killing, which I immediately mentioned to at least 3 or 4 people because I was trying to decide whether to call the police.  He was wearing dark sunglasses at about 8:30 p.m. I wanted to call the police but was afraid of sounding like a complete nut. Framed behind him, as he sat on the bike, was a homeless man who always sat upright on a bus bench asleep. He has severe sleep apnea, I've heard. In fact I've never seen him NOT sleeping sitting up, with his blanket wrapped around him. The young man I saw was NOT in the aforementioned "white Corolla", but on a bike, seated low.  If this is the same young man, he was extremely clever, very subtle, very quiet spoken.  I think the average American killer would be a boar in a China shop compared to this very, very clever fellow. He wanted to kill. He went overseas to kill. He missed the dead bodies.

MayhemInTheHood
MayhemInTheHood

Can you be a "troubled combat Marine" if you were never in combat?

Ernesto
Ernesto

Del palido criminal:Que no qureis dar muerte ,ho jueces y sacrificadores,hasta que la victima no haya asentido con la cabeza?Mirad el palido criminal ha asentido con la cabeza; su mirada pregona su gran desprecio, Mi yo es algo que debe ser superado mi yo antoja el gran desprecio del hombre- . asi pregona esta mirada el aberse condenado asi mismo fue su instante supremo ;no rechaceis al enaltecido a la bajeza !a quien asi sufre de si mismo solo lo redime la Muerte fulminante . (Federico Nietzsche )

mitch young
mitch young

Tio, vas a confundir a los pochos -- incluso el redactor de este periodico-- con todo esto 'quereis' y 'mirad'. No entienden ni el idoma de Cervantes ni 'vosotros'. 

tito
tito

you guy are raises

cerberus0479
cerberus0479

so many things wrong with some of the mentalities commenting on this story...

I dunno how anyone could look at the known facts of the suspect's life and think the crime all boils down to him feeling like going out and killing white people. He was obviously a troubled soul BEFORE he went to Iraq, and now that he's back, who knows what could be wrong with his head. He could very well be suffering from PTSD. It boils down to this kid has simply snapped, due to a variety of factors. I doubt the race of his targets had much to do with it.

What's worse is there's so many people truly enraged over the race issue of this crime, when the real crime is the number of homeless in our streets, the fact that the number is increasing every year, and is set to get much worse in the coming years. No one cares about anything but their own lives and happiness anymore. The idea of a "civilized society" - people looking out for each other and working for the common good of society - is a thing of the past. And we want to take away even more from those who need help. We criminalize poverty and homelessness in this country, instead of working on the root causes. But no, helping the mentally ill, substance addicted and economically disadvantaged is not "the American way". It's easier to just call them lazy, stupid, and a blight. What a "civilized society" we white people have built for ourselves.

Charles Hugnes
Charles Hugnes

It is the very mental health treatments that causes people to snap. The Calabine students that went postal was on Psychometric medication for years. Before going on a rampage. The Indiana Tech student had 8 Different  psychiatric medications in him when he want on a killing rampage. he was also in violations of a number of court treatments.

Ihateusc
Ihateusc

with a name like itzcoatl, im guessing latin american studies major.. no wonder he was homeless and living on the streets..hey gustavo,  the only thing keeping you from the streets is the sex mags that advertise on this rag.... btw, i guess he was just doing a job that americans wouldnt do.....

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Bullied Chinito: He wasn't homeless—but why would you care for facts? Go be negligent with some other patient because of your obsession with pendejo comments...

deport_stabo
deport_stabo

stfu, you know-nothing beaner race-rider.  

Miss Me Yet
Miss Me Yet

CNN article http://articles.cnn.com/2007-0... This is an issue  that needs to be brought up ASAP!!!! this man served in the Marines and he suffered from post tramatic stress.Alots of our vets will suffer and are suffering from this now!!!! Its not an excuse just facts. He was a happy cheerful CHILD when he left for war and came back a damaged,nervous, "MAN".There was red flags and he needed help.Please look out for signs this is not the first or last of crimes that will be commited because of the damage the war causes on soliders.My prayers go out to all the victims family and the Ocampo family for they have lost thier son too.

White Bison
White Bison

Itzcoatl was an illegitimate son of Emperor Acamapichtli.He himself was elected as the king when his predecessor, his nephew Chimalpopoca, was killed by Maxtla of the nearby Tepanec city-state of Azcapotzalco.

----

The manzana falls close to the tree.

Missamanda007
Missamanda007

Good riddance! One less spick, catholic, no-birth-control-using, future welfare recipient that I have to work to take care of!

Kutesky1
Kutesky1

He served in Iraq!!! Just so you know! He was fighting to protect YOU and all of us.

mitch young
mitch young

Bullshit -- he was 'serving' to protect Israel. 

Fuckmitch
Fuckmitch

I was over there too, to protect my right to fuck your mom's asshole Mitch.

Missamanda007
Missamanda007

FYI, for the dense ones out there, I'm talking about the killer!

Lloyd Reife
Lloyd Reife

Another Mexican killing the white man , when will the media call it like it is?

Rick M
Rick M

what about the white guy in Seal beach who killed all those white ladies and white guy at the hair salon ?? Idiot !!

mitch young
mitch young

Yes, a white man killed a bunch of whites. Here a Mexican killed a bunch of whites. See the difference? 

mitch young
mitch young

No one should be a 'protected class'.

I doubt that his Marine/Iraq experience played a part. It sounds, very preliminarily like run of the mill schizophrenia which usually manifests itself in the late teens and early 20s. But his craziness channeled itself into violence against white, homeless men. And with a name like Izticoatl, one wonders if his parents didn't fill him with a bunch of indigenista hate towards the white man. Questions that should, but won't, be asked.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Typical pendejo Mitchie blames race completely without any regards to the Marines part—stay classy, pendejo! Also? Those evil Jews you hate like Brian Levin are trying to pass legislation that would make the homeless a protected group under hate-crimes legislation—not that your deluded ass actually cares about the homeless.

Dudemanbro
Dudemanbro

here is his 2006 esperanza yearbook senior quote ‎"walk the streets i walked alone, then sit and judge me"

mitch young
mitch young

Well well well.

Here we have a guy not only preying on an indentifiable group, but a genuine Aztec killing white  men. Will hate crime charges be filed? 

LEE87
LEE87

Mitch making racist innuendo (if you understand what innuendo is) does nothing but make you sound ignorant. Race is irrelevant especially to the now 4 men that have lost their lives in such a violent way.

mitch young
mitch young

If some white kid had killed four jornaleros, we'd be hearing about 'hate' from all the usual whingers.

Even without the race/ethnicity factor, the case goes to show how evil 'hate crime' laws are. These guys were obviously targeted for no other reason but their belonging to a certain group or class, but because they aren't in a special 'protected' class, their killer could get a lesser sentence than if they were a 'minority' or homosexual etc. That isn't justice.

Aleja123
Aleja123

How are we protected again?

maria1234
maria1234

Why don't they mention that itzquoalt ocampo was in the MARINES

Old friend.of his sad to hear he could so this .

fairNsquare
fairNsquare

I am sorry, Maria, that your old friend turned out to be the killer. You must be very sad. Ignore the jerk who said he didn't care--I care. Also, ignore the angry racist comments. I am "white," and I don't think it had to do with race. Likely we will soon find out what caused him to make those poor choices.

Lastly, RIP to all 4 gentlemen who lost their lives, and my prayers to their families and friends.

deport
deport

who gives a shit? 

Runinwsizzrs
Runinwsizzrs

Typical OCSD using the murder of 3 homeless men to self promote. Wasn't that long ago that Sheriff Mike Carona who is now serving time in federal prison, did the same marketing move with the murder of poor little Samantha Runion. Sickening.

Matthew T. Coker
Matthew T. Coker

Just to be clear, it's the deputy union offering the reward, not OCSD.

Dwight Smith
Dwight Smith

The Catholic Worker serves in the Civic Center parking lot five times each week, and i have never seen the Rescue Mission Van offer medical care, much less food.  Moreover, after Jim Palmer personally promised to have the van visit the Civic Center at least once each month, I could never get a copy of the schedule to distribute to the homeless.

If Jim Palmer is providing healthcare with public funds, I sincerely hope his honesty doesn't again descend to the level demonstrated when his staff claimed to have served "thousands of Thanksgiving meals" for which Jim raised money thru huge mailings, at the Armory, capacity 400!

Jim has always been very secretive about that number one budget item: postage.  Even when he served in a public capacity on the Tustin City Council, I could never get him to disclose his printing and mailing budget for the Rescue Mission.

Neither can the investigative reporters at the Weekly, apparently!

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mpschwartz
mpschwartz

My thanks to the article author, this is a great story andhas been well worth the time reading it. So I would just like to say thanks andit will be a please to come back and read more of them in the future. Thanksagain!

 Webmaster of Nikon M223

mpschwartz
mpschwartz

My thanks to the article author, this is a great story andhas been well worth the time reading it. So I would just like to say thanks andit will be a please to come back and read more of them in the future. Thanksagain!

 Webmaster of Nikon M223

Iwonder
Iwonder

Aren't ALL homeless 290 registrants prohibited from staying in shelters, regardless of conviction or risk? Not sure about this, but think so. The punishment continues to pile on, this time in the risk of getting murdered in ones sleep.

James Crowley
James Crowley

Is he black? Not very typical if so. I was expecting some sort of goth kid like the west memphis 3 killers. Probably a reader of this magazine who smoked too much marijuana and decided to start offing people. 

anon
anon

one problem with that, The west memphis 3 are innocent

James Crowley
James Crowley

Is he black? 

Jacinda
Jacinda

Chances are he is NOT black. He like his victims is white. May be a former addict or formal sexual predator. He lives or works in the area. I believe he lives in the immediate area. He may also be into fitness..running biking. I also think this is an anger motivated spree. 

Kkdj60
Kkdj60

James was my brother, he was also a father and grandfather that was delt a bad hand from a young age. Yes he is at peace now but did not deserve such a brutal death. R. I. P.  

Sgt Martin
Sgt Martin

My sympathies, Seriously.  Your right, Nobody deserves that kind of end.

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