Lawyer: Ajax Killed Suspect in Homeless Slayings

A man accused in several slayings was found near death in his jail cell this week. He died at a hospital.

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Authorities would not say whether an ex-Marine awaiting trial in the slayings of six people, including four homeless men, was on suicide watch when he died behind bars. Izcoatl Ocampo may have ingested a cleaning agent before he was found sick in his cell, his lawyer says. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Nov. 29, 2013.

    A former Marine who was awaiting trial on murder charges in the deaths of six people, including four homeless men in Orange County, died after ingesting Ajax in his jail cell, his lawyer told the Associated Press.

    Itzcoatl Ocampo, 25, apparently accumulated the cleaning product over time while in custody, said his attorney, Michael Molfetta, who was briefed on the death.

    Ex-Marine Who Died Behind Bars Swallowed Ajax: Lawyer

    [LA] Ex-Marine Who Died Behind Bars Swallowed Ajax: Lawyer
    The lawyer for an ex-Marine accused of killing six people, including four homeless men, in Orange County said his client may have ingested a cleaning agent before he was found near death in his cell. The suspect died on Thanksgiving Day. Jane Yamamoto reports from Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Nov. 29, 2013.

    The incident raises serious questions about how well Orange County jail deputies were supervising Ocampo, who had mental health issues, Molfetta said.

    Ocampo, a former Marine, was found shaking and vomiting in his single-man cell Wednesday and taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead Thursday afternoon, said Orange County sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock.

    An autopsy will be performed in the coming days.

    The Orange County district attorney's office will investigate the death and autopsy results by an independent pathologist are expected by the middle of next week, Hallock said.

    New Murder Charges for Ocampo

    [LA] New Murder Charges for Ocampo
    Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Friday the wrong man was charged with killing two people in Yorba Linda last October. The man accused of killing four homeless men will be charged instead.

    "If you spend three minutes with Ocampo, you are acutely aware of the fact that he has some mental issues. They were severe and they were obvious and they definitely were not contrived," Molfetta said. "With that being said, this was a guy who should have garnered the highest level of scrutiny ... and it wasn't done."

    Hallock declined to comment on inmate supervision or the attorney's account except to say jail deputies are required, in general, to walk by each inmate's cell a minimum of once an hour.

    Arrest of Murder Suspect Slight Comfort for Homeless

    [LA] Arrest of Murder Suspect Slight Comfort for Homeless
    News of the arrest of a suspect in the serial killings of four homeless men since late December, came as a slight reassurance for many who live on local streets.

    "We always want to prove the case in court and have justice for the victims' families," said Susan Kang Schroeder, the district attorney's chief of staff.

    Marie Middaugh, mother of victim Lloyd "Jimmy" Middaugh, said in a phone interview Friday that she was relieved to hear the news of Ocampo's death.

    Suspected Serial Killer Makes His First Court Appearance

    [LA] Suspected Serial Killer Makes His First Court Appearance
    Arraignment for Itzcoatl Ocampo is postponed until February, but his attorney expresses concern for how he is being treated in jail.

    "A trial wouldn't have brought our loved ones back," she said. "I'm sorry things happened the way it did for his family because I know they're grieving, too, but I'm just glad that really it's all over."

    Someone at a number listed for Ocampo's father hung up repeatedly when a reporter called Friday.

    Prosecutors alleged that Ocampo, a native of Mexico, stabbed four homeless men in what they called a serial thrill-kill rampage in late 2011 and early 2012.

    Ocampo targeted his homeless victims because they were vulnerable and because he felt they were a blight on the community, authorities said. He was charged in January 2012 with four counts of murder, with special allegations of multiple murders, lying in wait and use of a deadly weapon.

    Three victims were stabbed more than 40 times each with a single-edged blade at least 7 inches long. In one instance, prosecutors, said, Ocampo selected as his next victim a homeless man who was featured in a Los Angeles Times story about the killings.

    Ocampo, who was discharged from the Marines in 2010, also was facing murder charges in the deaths of a school friend's mother and brother in October 2011.

    At the time, his family said Ocampo was a troubled man after he returned from Iraq in 2008 and he went to visit the grave of a friend who died in combat in Afghanistan twice a week.

    He also began drinking heavily and he suffered from headaches and hand tremors, they said. His parents separated in 2010 and his father became homeless after losing his job.

    During the killing rampage, Ocampo visited his father on the streets and warned him about the dangers of being homeless, even showing him a picture of one of the dead men.

    In March 2012, Ocampo temporarily was placed on suicide watch after he began banging his head on a metal toilet in the jail. He told his attorney he was trying to stop voices as well as headaches and twitches that were bothering him, according to The Orange County Register.

    More Southern California Stories:

    Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment: iPhone/iPad App | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | RSS | Text Alerts | Email Alerts