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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Police ID man killed on Santa Ana River Trail

12-30-2011 California:

ANAHEIM – A man stabbed to death on the Santa Ana River Trail, near the 91 freeway, has been identified as 42-year-old Lloyd Middaugh, police said Friday.

About 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday, a person exercising on the trail called police to report a person down between Tustin and Lakeview avenues, Anaheim police Sgt. Bob Dunn said.

Police and paramedics responded to the trail and found a man, later identified as Middaugh, suffering from at least one stab wound, Dunn said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"There is information that he lived under the freeway overcrossing but we are not certain," Dunn said, adding that there was no indication that Middaugh, who was about 6 foot 4 inches tall and about 300 pounds, had been moved.

The motive for the stabbing is under investigation, Dunn said, and the weapon was not found.

Detectives are investigating whether the incident is related to another fatal stabbing involving a transient on Dec. 21 at a shopping center in Placentia.

Middaugh was a registered sex offender, according to the Megan's Law online database. Police indicated that he was required to register after a crime that occurred more than 20 years ago in San Diego.

The popular Santa Ana River Trail stretches 30 miles along the Santa Ana River, from Huntington Beach to the Orange-Riverside county line.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on the stabbing to call 714-765-1900. ..Source.. by DENISSE SALAZAR / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER


Arrest Made in Slaying of SoCal Homeless Men

1-15-2012 California:

Alert citizens chased a man down and led police to him in a Friday night attack of a homeless man in Anaheim

The man arrested in connection with the Friday night killing of a homeless man in Anaheim is being held as the main suspect in a month-long string of transient murders in Orange County.

"We are extremely confident that we have the man who is responsible for the killing of four homeless people," Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters said in a press conference Saturday afternoon.

Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, of Yorba Linda, is being held at the Anaheim Jail without bail, said Anaheim Police Sgt. Bob Dunn, a department spokesman.

Friday's stabbing was the fourth such killing of a homeless person in OC.

Officials will ask the District Attorney to pursue four counts of murder against Ocampo, Walter said during the press conference.

"This is great news to know that's been caught," Brad Olsen, brother-in-law of victim Lloyd Middaugh, told NBC 4. "Prayers have been answered. We feel blessed that it's over."

Middaugh was one of four homeless men killed in the area since December. James McGillivray, 53, was stabbed to death Dec. 20 near a Placentia shopping mall. Lloyd Middaugh, 42, was found on the Santa Ana River trail in Anaheim on Dec. 28. Paul Cornelius Smit, 57, was killed outside a Yorba Linda library on Dec. 30.

The latest victim, John, was killed after 8 p.m. Friday behind a Carl's Jr., at 3110 E. La Palma Ave.

The victim has not been identified, but locals called him “John” and believe he is a Vietnam War vet in his mid-60s.

Anaheim Deputy Chief Craig Hunter said the man arrested fits the description of a man wanted in three stabbing deaths - in Anaheim, Placentia and Yorba Linda - dating to Dec. 20.

“I saw (John) at CVS about a week ago and I started crying when he said he wanted to leave the area and I hugged him,” a woman told NBC4. “But then I saw him and I was so happy he was still here, but I've been busy and I didn't have time the last couple of days to say 'hi.'”

The suspect, chased away by some people who saw him running, was caught on La Palma about a quarter-mile away in next-door Yorba Linda.

Police were believed to be questioning more than two dozen witnesses, whom they recognized as "brave citizens" during the public meeting Saturday.

A task force of local police and the FBI had been set up to investigate three homeless men who were killed in December at the hands of what police believed was a serial killer.

A surveillance camera in Placentia captured images of the suspect, a thin man wearing a dark-hooded sweater, who may have been driving a four-door Toyota Corolla. ..Source.. by Jason Kandel and Samantha Tata


Former Marine pleads not guilty to 6 murders

2-21-2012 California:

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Itzcoatl Ocampo, the former Marine accused of killing four homeless men and two other people, pleaded not guilty to charges on Tuesday.

During the hearing, Ocampo mumbled to himself and at times appeared to smirk. His own defense attorney said his client is mentally ill.

"He's cracked. He's ill. He's got a mind that is wounded. His mind is so fractured that I think it's hard for him to understand not only the gravity, but even where he is right now," said defense attorney Randall Longwith.

The 23-year-old is charged with stabbing four homeless men to death. The murders took place in Orange County over a three-week period starting in December. It ended with Ocampo's arrest as he ran from the scene of the fourth murder in Anaheim.

Ocampo is also charged with stabbing to death a mother and son in Yorba Linda last October. Unlike the homeless victims, authorities allege Ocampo knew 53-year-old Raquel Estrada and her 34-year-old son Juan Herrera through Estrada's younger son.

Family members of one of Ocampo's homeless victims, 42-year-old Lloyd Middaugh, came to court to see the suspect. Middaugh was found stabbed more than 40 times along the Santa Ana River Trail in Anaheim.

"I'm kind of sick to my stomach," said Marie Middaugh, the victim's mother. "I can't wrap my head around it. It just doesn't seem possible."

Longwith said he has not yet decided whether to use an insanity defense, but stressed that Ocampo was affected by his eight months in Iraq. While he did not see combat, his attorney said Ocampo drove a truck and would have to deal with wounded and deceased people.

Prosecutors have not yet said whether they will seek the death penalty. Ocampo is due back in court on March 9. ..Source.. by Eileen Frere

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