SANTA ANA, Calif. – A 44-year-old Los Angeles man pleaded guilty today to three felony counts of robbery and one felony count of attempted robbery in connection with a robbery spree that targeted convenience stores across Southern California in July.
Jason Payne, 44, of Los Angeles, was immediately sentenced to seven years in state prison following his guilty plea in which he admitted his role in the robberies that occurred on July 11, 2022 in Santa Ana, La Habra and Brea and an attempted robbery. Payne, who did not physically enter any of the robbery locations, had faced a maximum sentence of 10 years if convicted on all counts.
Payne’s neighbor, 20-year-old Malik Patt, has been identified by law enforcement as the person who shot and killed three people and wounded three others during the deadly crime spree that was carried out across Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino counties.
Patt is charged with three felony counts of murder with the special circumstance of multiple murder, two counts of attempted murder with the personal discharged of a firearm causing injury, three felony counts of robbery with an enhancement of personal use of a firearm, and one felony count of carjacking while personally armed.
Patt is also charged with two additional special circumstance enhancements of murder in the commission of a robbery and three enhancements for personal discharge of a firearm causing death. Patt could face the death penalty if convicted. He is currently being held without bail.
Orange County is prosecuting the murders that occurred in neighboring counties in accordance with California state law which allows serial murders that occurred in other counties to be consolidated and prosecuted in a single county in the interest of judicial efficiency and to prevent victims from having to endure multiple court proceedings in different jurisdictions.
“Today is an important step in achieving justice for the victims who were terrorized by this reign of terror these two individuals carried out across Southern California,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “They targeted vulnerable victims who were hardworking people just trying to make a living or survive on the streets. An incredible amount of coordination and collaboration between law enforcement across jurisdictions resulted in these dangerous suspects being quickly identified, arrested, and charged with their crimes. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to fight to ensure justice is served for the killer who mercilessly gunned down his victims as he crisscrossed Southern California on a deadly road trip.”
Patt and Payne were arrested in Los Angeles on Friday, July 15, 2022 by Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)’s Orange County Violent Crime Task Force. Over the last five years, the ATF Task Force, which includes ATF agents, as well as Fullerton and Brea police officers and investigators from the Orange County District Attorney’s AB 109 task force, has investigated and arrested individuals and crews committing commercial robbery series, smash-and-grab robberies, home invasion robberies, commercial burglaries, as well as firearm and narcotic offenses that occur within or otherwise impact Orange County. The task force also works regularly with the Santa Ana Police Department.
The following crimes are being prosecuted in Orange County:
- On July 9, 2022 Patt is accused of shooting a sleeping homeless man in the head in North Hills in Los Angeles County after robbing a 7-Eleven. The man died from his injury. The Los Angeles County Coroner has not yet released the victim’s identity pending notification of next of kin.
- On July 11, 2022, at 3:03 a.m. Patt is accused of robbing a Yum Yum Donuts store in the 2400 block of N. Tustin Avenue in Santa Ana at gunpoint.
- Twenty minutes later, at 3:23 a.m. Patt is accused of shooting and killing 24-year-old Matthew Rule after trying to walk into a Santa Ana 7-Eleven in the 300 block of E. 17th Street, but finding it locked. Rule was shot in the head after Patt confronted him and another man in the parking lot.
- Thirty-one minutes later, at 3:54 a.m., Patt is accused of robbing 40-year-old Matt Hirsch, a clerk at a 7-Eleven in the 100 block of West Lambert Road in Brea. After robbing Hirsh, Patt is accused of shooting the clerk in the head, killing him.
- At 4:55 a.m., Patt is accused of robbing a 7-Eleven store in the 300 block of E. Whittier Blvd. in La Habra and then shooting a man sitting in a vehicle outside of the store. The man was shot in the face, but survived. Patt is also accused of shooting and wounding the 7-Eleven clerk who came out of the store.
- Following the shootings, Patt is accused of carjacking a resident leaving his home and then later abandoning the stolen vehicle.
- Payne was charged in connection with the robberies that occurred in Santa Ana, Brea, and La Habra and the attempted robbery in Santa Ana.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Seton Hunt of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.