Itzcoatl Ocampo was indicted by the Orange County Grand Jury yesterday on six serial murder charges. Ocampo, a Marine Iraq war veteran, has been charged with the four unprovoked stabbing deaths of four homeless men and, in addition, the stabbing deaths of a Yorba Linda woman and her son in an October attack last year.
There are special charges against Ocampo in the indictment, specifically for committing multiple murders, for lying in wait to do so and for the personal use of a deadly weapon during the commission of a crime. These special charges will result in a minimum of a life term in prison without possibility of parole, if he is convicted. It is also possible that the Orange County District Attorney's office could also seek the death penalty for Ocampo, but it has not been decided yet.
Ocampo was arrested on January 13th as he ran, trying to remove stained clothing and discard a large knife, from an Anaheim parking lot where the fourth homeless victim was found stabbed repeatedly to death. Ocampo's initial arrest was for the slayings of the four homeless victims, but soon detectives on the case started working with the Orange County homeless serial killer task force, and refocused on an earlier incident, involving the 53-year-old Raquel Estrada and her adult son, Juan Herrera, 35. Both had been stabbed to death in Estrada's Yorba Linda home, with Estrada's younger son being initially suspected of the crimes.
Now prosecutors have dropped charges against Eder Herrera, Estrada's youngest son, after the investigators saw the similarities between the homeless stabbings and the Yorba Linda case, and investigators found DNA from Estrada and Herrera on a piece of clothing in Ocampo's home. By dropping the charges against Herrera the younger, he has escaped a possible death penalty, and Ocampo has the two deaths added to his indictment.
Because the indictment was made public yesterday, it accelerates the case and prevents defense attorney Randall Longwith from being able to cross-examine witnesses during a preliminary hearing. The preliminary hearing would have been open to the public, but now it will go straight to a grand jury, where proceedings are held in secret session.
What do you think about Ocampo's alleged crimes? Do you feel that he was driven to his crimes by post traumatic stress disorder? Or do you feel that they've already arrested the wrong person once, perhaps they did it again? Please let us know your opinions in the comments area below.
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This is not an attorney-client communication, and as such no advice is being offered in this article. Any and all communications related to the Glew & Kim Law website and MarijuanaLawyer.com website should be deemed and considered advertisement. This article is purely opinion, and the basis of this and any opinion was formed subject to the reporting by the actual news agencies, the information from which was used as source material.
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