Southern California breaking news and trends

Jewish family's Sherman Oaks home is a target of anti-Semitic scrawling, again

swastika in sherman oaks

Screenshot via NBC LA

Swastikas marked on three Sherman Oaks homes this week are being categorized as hate crimes, authorities say, because the victims of the vandalism are Jewish.

Residents woke Wednesday to find Nazi iconography on the cars, walls, gates and mailboxes of their Leghorn Avenue community. A second-generation Holocaust survivor who lives in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood was visibly shaken by the event, NBC LA reported.

Resident Jennifer Niman, whose grandparents perished in the Holocaust, remarked to KTLA, that "this is not something you want to walk out and see in Sherman Oaks," continuing, "It's like Germany 1938."

Niman, who told the Jewish Journal that her neighbors were too upset to speak with the media, wondered about the houses that were defaced. "There are 12 Orthodox Jewish families on the block," she said. "Why pick these three?"

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Ocampo allegedly stalked victims, planned to frame friend in murder/suicide plot

Homeless Homicides

Anaheim Police/AP

Itzcoatl "Izzy" Ocampo (Photo courtesy of Anaheim Police Department)

Details revealed in the grand jury transcript of accused homeless killer Itzcoatl "Izzy'" Ocampo continue to startle, with new information about the 23-year-old ex-Marine, the manner in which he allegedly stalked his victims, and the plans he had, detectives say, to kill his friend and frame him in a murder/suicide plot.

According to transcripts made public in Orange County Superior Court this week, Ocampo told police he intended to kill former friend Eder Herrera and make it appear as if the man murdered his own family and then committed suicide, the OC Register reported.

Herrera, who was initially charged with killing his mother and brother, left the house on the night of the attacks, forcing a change to the "suicide" part of Ocampo's setup sceme.

Ocampo went through with the Herrera family murders anyway, allegedly killling Eder's mother, 54-year-old Raquel Estrada, and her oldest son Juan Carlos Herrera, who was 34-years-old. Both were stabbed repeatedly in a similar manner to the four homeless men Ocampo is also accused of killing.

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Chainsaw suicide suspected in Palms (Updated)

chainsaw teeth blade

Photo by Dave Hosford via Flickr Creative Commons

A woman found dead with a chainsaw wound to her neck is thought to have used the tool to commit suicide, say authorities.

Valerie Nash was found dead in her Palms home just after 1 a.m. on Thursday, KTLA reports. Nash's body was reportedly discovered by her sister with whom she shared the Keystone Avenue residence.

Police are investigating the unusual incident, and the L.A. County coroner will make an official determination on the cause of the death. 

A note found by police near the victim's body led to suicide speculation.

 

This post has been updated. An earlier version incorrectly identified the location as Culver City.

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San Onofre can't take the pressure, tubes fail test

David McNew/Getty Images

It does not take a nuclear physicist to understand the troubling situation at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. 

Three tubes failed to pass a pressure test this week, prompting the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to send an inspection team to San Diego County.

The tubes, which move radioactive water through a steam generator, have been under scrutiny after unusual deterioration was found following a small radioactive gas leak in January. 

NRC officials explained the relatively obvious in a statement, by noting that the tubes that failed are more likely to rupture during plant events affecting pressure in the generator. 

It goes on to say that tube integrity is important because "the tubes provide an added barrier inside the containment building to prevent a radioactive steam release."

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'I knew that I had the killer gene,' accused Ocampo reveals in OC homeless killings case

Homeless Homicides

Anaheim Police/AP

Itzcoatl "Izzy" Ocampo (Photo courtesy of Anaheim Police Department)

Scarier than fiction, the grand jury transcript of accused killer Itzcoatl "Izzy'" Ocampo, published Wednesday night by the Orange County Register, reveals hideous details about the murders of four homeless men and two others during a three-month killing rampage.

Ocampo, an Iraq war veteran, was disappointed not to see combat during his six-month tour of duty, and told a detective that killing "had to be done." Detective Daron Wyatt, a lead detective on the serial killer task force who took Ocampo's confession, said that Ocampo felt he needed to kill in order to become a real Marine.

The detective testified that Ocampo "seemed to get excited when he was talking about the actual kill," and he asked him if he was "aroused by the act of killing." According to the transcript, Ocampo questioned what he meant by arousal, but then commented, "my balls felt like they were going to explode, and I knew that I had the killer gene."

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