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Accused Homeless Killer Was 'Sick' After Serving In Iraq

Police say they're 'extremely confident' Itzcoatl Ocampo is O.C. serial killer. Ocampo was a former Marine serving in Iraq, news sources report.

The man Anaheim police accuse of killing four homeless men served as a Marine in the Iraq War, according to interviews with friends and family.

Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, of Yorba Linda, was arrested Friday night shortly following the stabbing death of John Berry, a homeless man in his mid-60s, in an Anaheim fast food parking lot around 8:15 p.m.

Police said the Friday night stabbing happened in front of many witnesses at a busy restaurant.

"We are extremely confident that we have the man who is responsible for all four murders of homeless men in Orange County," Anaheim police Chief John Welter said Saturday.

Just days beore his death, the victim had been interviewed by a Los Angeles Times reporter. At first, Berry said he wasn't scared. He had been living along the Santa Ana River bed.

"I just like to stay outdoors," Berry told The Times. "A guy can get killed crossing the street. I've been as careful as I can, watching and everything."

Recently, Berry began to grow afraid. He said he thought somebody was stalking him from the trees along the riverbed, The Times reported.

The suspect's high school friend Brian Doyle told The Times Ocampo had been kicked out of the military, but Anaheim police declined to comment on his military service at the Saturday news conference.

An uncle, Ifrain Gonzalez, told the paper that Ocampo came home from the war in 2010 "sick," meaning mentally ill. He had been living with two siblings in a home Anaheim police searched after his arrest.

Ocampo gave a small donation to a documentary about three wounded U.S. Marines in November or December, movie producer Bill Brown said.

-City News Service and Patch staff reports

Paige Austin January 16, 2012 at 04:12 AM
It is remarkable and so sad. This case really struck a nerve with me. I see homeless men and women under the pier or sleeping behind bus stops when I am walking my dogs. I was worried about one recently, and when I checked on her, I couldn't even wake her up - I ended up calling an ambulance, but she was okay. They are so vulnerable - it's frightening to think of people preying upon a segment of our population that is so ill-equipped to defend themselves. Conversely, a source tells me that the accused killer has extreme PTSD from his most recent tour of duty, which is likely to play a role in the trial.
John B. Greet January 16, 2012 at 05:49 AM
Please consider visiting the following site and supporting the efforts to, in turn, support our returning veterans and their families. Thanks! http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/
Nancy Wride January 16, 2012 at 09:13 AM
As a human being, I feel sick about hearing that this suspect's own father is homeless, according to KABC, which has a story quoting the Dad saying his son was worried about his safety in light of the murders.http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/orange_county&id=8505802 That or another local TV station had on at 11pm the brother of the suspect from behind a door, and he says his brother is innocent and only at the wrong place at the wrong time, and being tried in the media.
Beverly January 16, 2012 at 06:12 PM
It's hard to trust the media. They love to twist, spin and sensationalize most everything. Especially stories about how damaged individuals are when they return from military service. And yes Nancy, what a coincidence?
OC Mom January 17, 2012 at 06:09 PM
I may have watched to many episodes of CSI and other crime dramas, but I'm guessing he has some sort of psychological issue with his father and it manifested itself in him killing men about his father's age who were homeless like his father. The other articles I read said that he didn't actually experience combat in Iraq. He did transportation and unfortunately did have to see dead bodies and transport them. You never know what can cause someone to snap.

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