Mon. Mar 27th, 2023

Contacts: Laura Eimiller, Spokesperson, FBI, LA Office, Office:310-996-3343
Susan Schroeder, Chief of Staff, OCDA, 714-347-8408, Cell:714-292-2718
Farrah Emami, Spokesperson, OCDA, 714-347-8405, Cell: 714-323-4486



*Defendant was apprehended after mass multi-agency manhunt

SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office has filed charges against a former Marine for murdering four homeless men in a serial thrill-kill spree. Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, Yorba Linda, is charged with four felony counts of murderwith special circumstances for multiple murders and lying in wait and sentencing enhancements for personal use of a deadlyweapon, a knife, during commission of a crime. If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without thepossibility of parole. The special circumstances in this case make Ocampo eligible for the death penalty, and the DistrictAttorney will make this determination at a later date as is customary. Ocampo is being held without bail and is expected to bearraigned tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), and the Anaheim (APD), Brea (BPD), and Placentia (PPD) Police Departments.

Members of these agencies have interviewed more than 200 witnesses both before and after the arrest. OCSD Crime Lab made this case a top priority and analyzed the key physical evidence in this case. The FBI provided specialized information and expertise.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Susan Price of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case on behalf of the OCDA.

Defendant OcampoOcampo was in the United States Marines until he was discharged in June 2010.

For each of the four murders (described below), Ocampo is accused of planning the murders in advance and pre-selectingand stalking his victims. He is accused of being intelligent and calculating in carrying out these vicious, executions with noplans of stopping. He is accused of preying on homeless men because of their vulnerability. All four of the murders occurred inNorth Orange County.

Ocampo is accused of using the same Ka-bar Bull Dozer knife in all four murders.

Murder of James McGillivrayAt approximately 8:15 pm. on Dec. 20, 2011, 53-year-old James McGillivray was laying behind a commercial complex at 140N. Bradford Avenue in Placentia.Ocampo is accused of approaching the victim on foot wearing dark pants and a dark hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulledup over the back of his head. The defendant is accused of kneeling on the victim’s chest and striking him several times in thehead and upper torso as McGillivray struggled to defend himself. Ocampo is accused of then stabbing the victim more than 40times in the head, neck, and upper torso as the victim fought for his life. After McGillivray stopped moving, Ocampo is accused of continuing to stab the victim before fleeing the scene on foot.The murder was captured on a video surveillance camera, which had been installed by the property management companyonly two days earlier. The victim’s body was discovered the following morning and PPD began investigating this case.

Murder of Lloyd “Jimmy” MiddaughShortly before midnight on Dec. 27, 2011, 42-year-old Lloyd “Jimmy” Middaugh was taking shelter in the Santa Ana River Trailunder the California State Route 91 underpass in the City of Anaheim.Ocampo is accused of approaching the victim and murdering him by stabbing him more than 50 times in the head and torso.The defendant is accused of then fleeing the scene.The victim’s body was discovered the following morning and Middaugh was pronounced dead at the scene by respondingparamedics and the Anaheim Fire Department. APD began investigating this case.

Murder of Paulus “Dutch” SmitSometime after 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2011, 57-year-old Paulus “Dutch” Smit arrived in the area of the Yorba Linda PublicLibrary. Ocampo is accused of approaching the victim and murdering him by stabbing him more than 60 times before fleeingthe scene.Shortly before 5:00 p.m., the victim’s body was discovered. Responding paramedics from the Orange County Fire Authoritypronounced Smit dead at the scene. BPD, who patrols the City of Yorba Linda, began investigating this case.Based on the similarities between the three murders and suspicion by law enforcement that one person was responsible forall three attacks, the Homeless Homicide Investigative Task Force was formed on Dec. 31, 2011, with personnel from APD,BPD, FBI, OSCD, and PPD.

Murder of John Berry at approximately 8:15 p.m. on Jan. 13, 2012, Ocampo is accused of approaching 64-year-old John Berry on La PalmaAvenue in Anaheim wearing a black hooded sweatshirt. He is accused of murdering the victim by stabbing him several times.Witnesses observed the attack and began to chase the defendant, who is accused of fleeing the scene on foot. Otherwitnesses called 911. Responding paramedics from the Anaheim Fire Department pronounced Berry dead at the scene.The pursing witnessing lost the defendant in a nearby mobile home park, but a law enforcement perimeter was establishedand Ocampo was arrested shortly thereafter. At the time of his arrest, Ocampo is accused of having blood on his hands and face.

Death Penalty DecisionPrior to seeking the death penalty, a special circumstances committee consisting of the District Attorney, the Senior Assistantand Assistant District Attorney in charge of the Homicide Unit, and other prosecutors experienced in capital cases meet anddiscuss the nature of the crime, the vulnerability of the victim, the defendant’s criminal record, and other factors. Thecommittee also considers mitigating circumstances presented by the defense attorney.

California law permits the District Attorney to seek the death penalty if the aggravating factors substantially outweigh themitigating factors. Aggravating factors are any facts above and beyond the circumstances of crime that increases thewrongfulness of the defendant’s conduct, the enormity of the offense, or the harmful impact of the crime. Mitigating factorsare any facts that reduce the defendant’s blameworthiness or otherwise support a less severe punishment. The final decisionto pursue the death penalty rests on the District Attorney.

Law enforcement requests further informationThe investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact Supervising District AttorneyInvestigator Randy Litwin at (714) 347-8492. Please note, earlier in the investigation there was interest in a white vehicle inthe vicinity of Placentia. Law enforcement is no longer seeking information on this vehicle.


Anaheim Police Department, Brea/Yorba Linda Police Department,Federal Bureau of Investigations, Orange County District Attorney, Orange County Sheriff’sDepartment, & Placentia Police Department

Click here to watch a video of the Rackauckas Press Conference.

Click here to read O.C. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’ remarks.

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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