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Suspect in California homeless killings faces additional murder charges

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:23 AM EST, Mon February 6, 2012
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Itcoatl Ocampo is charged in four homeless men's deaths.
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Itcoatl Ocampo is charged in four homeless men's deaths.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • DA: Itzcoatl Ocampo will be arraigned on charges he fatally stabbed a mother and son
  • The prosecutor says the victims were the mother and brother of Ocampo's friend
  • Ocampo is also accused of fatally stabbing four homeless men in California

(CNN) -- A 23-year-old man prosecutors say fatally stabbed four homeless men in California will be charged Monday in connection with two other crimes: the brutal killings of a mother and son.

Itzcoatl Ocampo is accused of stabbing to death 53-year-old Raquel Estrada and her 34-year-old son, Juan Herrera, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said. Estrada and Herrera were the mother and brother of Ocampo's old friend.

The latest allegations against Ocampo were made public Friday, shortly after authorities dropped charges against the friend, Eder Herrera, in the killings.

"This case has expanded from murdering random, vulnerable strangers to murdering people he knew," Rackauckas said.

Authorities said Estrada was stabbed more than 30 times and Juan Herrera more than 60 times on October 25, their bodies left in pools of blood inside their Yorba Linda home.

War vet charged in homeless killings

Eder Herrera, 24, was arrested a day later, due largely to witness statements and surveillance video from a nearby store that showed someone resembling him in the area at the time of the killings, Rackauckas said.

But the brutality and similarity of the attacks caught the attention of a law enforcement task force created to investigate the homeless killings.

It is the latest twist in the case that began on December 20 when the body of a homeless man who had been stabbed more than 40 times turned up in Orange County.

Eder Herrera and Ocampo, an Iraq war veteran, had been friends since their high school days, Rackauckas said. He said the two lived about a mile apart.

The district attorney did not comment on a possible motive in the homicides of Estrada and her son.

Ocampo has been in custody since his January 13 arrest on suspicion of killing 64-year-old John Berry outside a Carl's Jr. in Anaheim, authorities said. His arraignment in the homeless killings has been postponed until February 17.

Ocampo is also accused in the deaths of James McGillivray, 50, who was killed December 20; Lloyd "Jimmy" Middaugh, 42, who died December 27; and Paulus "Dutch" Smit, 57, killed on December 30.

Ocampo served in the Marines from July 2006 until July 2010 and was deployed to Iraq for six months in 2008, according to Marine service records. He completed his service, with the rank of corporal, with the 1st Marine Logistics Group at Camp Pendleton, south of Orange County.

CNN's Greg Morrison and Rosalina Nieves contributed to this report.

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