An ex-Marine already accused of killing four homeless men in Orange County was charged today with the slayings of a Yorba Linda woman and her son, who were both stabbed numerous times.
Itzcoatl ``Izzy'' Ocampo, 23, made his initial appearance on the new charges stemming from the Oct. 25 slayings of Raquel Estrada, 53, and her son, Juan Herrera, 34, but did not enter a plea.
Ocampo's attorney, Randall Longwith, asked for an arraignment delay so he could review the latest charges, and the proceeding was rescheduled to March
Ocampo, now sporting a beard, leaned down to speak with his attorney through the courtroom's caged area for inmates. Longwith said after the brief hearing that Ocampo's primary concern is getting a chance to speak with family members, some of whom were tearful and shaking in court today.
``That's mostly what he's asking about -- family,'' Longwith said. ``The only concern he has now, aside from the charges, is seeing his family.''
Ocampo has seen family members only once since his arrest, and the visit lasted less than a minute, Longwith said.
One of Estrada's sons, Eder Giovanni Herrera, had been charged in the double killing, but prosecutors dropped charges against him Friday when evidence pointed to Ocampo, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.
``We don't have enough evidence to hold him,'' he said after Ocampo's
Rackauckas noted, however, that investigators were still working the case and he did not rule out future charges against Herrera.
``The case is still open,'' Rackauckas said, adding that on the night of
the double murder, Herrera's ``conduct was very suspicious.''
Herrera was with a friend when they drove past the crime scene, but he did not want to stop to check on his mother and brother, Rackauckas said. Herrera finally tried to call his mother and brother on their cell phones, but
only after his friend pressed him to do so, Rackauckas said.
`Grainy'' surveillance video obtained from a CVS store where the 911 call was placed to police showed someone wearing ``tennis shoes'' with a ``distinct pattern'' in the area, Rackauckas said.
`When Herrera was arrested he was wearing shoes like that,'' he said.
Ocampo and Herrera were high school friends and lived about about a mile from one another at the time of the murders, Rackauckas said. He said he did not know how long it has been since the two have had contact.
Detectives eventually tied Ocampo to the killings via a ``DNA hit'' for the victims on an item of clothing collected from Ocampo's home, Rackauckas said.
Rackauckas acknowledged that if investigators had suspected Ocampo of the double murder in Yorba Linda, they could have arrested him before the homeless men were murdered.
``In theory that would be true, but we had no evidence pointing to Ocampo at that time,'' Rackauckas said.
Longwith said he was ``shocked'' by the new allegations against his client, but told reporters he did not think they add up.
``These two cases do not fit,'' Longwith said.
``Here's a man who fought for his country and fought for these rights,''
Longwith said of the military veteran.
The defense attorney declined to comment on the allegation that DNA evidence links Ocampo to the double murder.
``I don't have any comment on that yet because I haven't seen'' the evidence, Longwith said.
The defense attorney said his client also was interrogated about a dismemberment murder in Hollywood. Rackauckas said he was unaware of that.
Ocampo was previously charged with fatally stabbing four homeless men, starting Dec. 20.
The first victim was 53-year-old James McGillivray, who was attacked as he slept outside a Placentia shopping center on Dec. 20. Eight days later, the body of Lloyd ``Jim'' Middaugh, 42, turned up on Anaheim's Santa Ana River Trail.
Paulus Cornelius ``Dutch'' Smit, 57, was found dead behind the Yorba Linda library on Dec. 30.
Ocampo was arrested Jan. 13, shortly after he allegedly stabbed John Berry in Anaheim and was chased into a nearby mobile home park. Prosecutors allege Ocampo killed Berry because he spoke to a Los Angeles Times reporter for a story about the homeless killings.
Ocampo is a 2006 graduate of Esperanza High School who served an eight-month deployment in Iraq in 2008 and was discharged in July 2010, according to Marine Corps Capt. Kevin Schultz.
- City News Service