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Charges expected for suspect in US homeless deaths
Murder charges expected for troubled US Marine veteran suspected in 4 homeless deaths
By The Associated Press

YORBA LINDA, California (AP) ' The killer of four homeless men on the streets of Southern California stabbed each more than 40 times, the daughter of one victim said.

Prosecutors were expected to announce Tuesday whether charges will be filed against a U.S. Marine veteran arrested in the stabbing deaths that led police in search of a serial killer.

Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, is being held in isolation.



Julia Smit-Lozano told the Orange County Register newspaper that prosecutors said her father was stabbed more than 50 times.

Anaheim Police Chief John Welter has said investigators are confident they have the man responsible for the murders that began in December and led police to go on nightly patrols to urge the homeless to sleep in groups or seek shelter.

Ocampo's father, Refugio Ocampo, said his son came back a changed man after he was deployed to Iraq in 2008. He said his son expressed disillusionment and became ever darker as he struggled to find his way as a civilian.

Ocampo's father is homeless as well. He lost his job and ended up living under a bridge before finding shelter in the cab of a broken-down truck he is helping repair.

Just days before he was arrested, Itzcoatl Ocampo visited his father, warning him of the danger of being on the streets and showing him a picture of one of the victims.

"He was very worried about me," Refugio Ocampo told The Associated Press. "I told him, 'Don't worry. I'm a survivor. Nothing will happen to me.'"

Itzcoatl Ocampo lives with his mother and other relatives in the suburbs. His mother, who speaks little English, tearfully brought her son's Marine Corps dress uniform out of a closet and showed photos, citations and medals from his military service.

His family described a physical condition Itzcoatl suffered in which his hands shook and he suffered headaches. Medical treatments helped until he started drinking heavily, they said.

A neighbor who is a Vietnam veteran and the father both tried to push Itzcoatl to get treatment at a veterans hospital, but he refused. Refugio Ocampo said he wanted his son to get psychological treatment as well.

Ocampo is being monitored 24 hours a day by jail personnel, said Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

"Obviously he has some psychological problems just by the nature of the crimes, so they don't want him to hurt himself," Amormino said.


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