Southern California breaking news and trends

'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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Job counselor stabbed to death, student arrested in Hollywood

job corps counselor stabbed by student

Photo via NBC LA

A group holds hands in a circle on the grounds of a Hollywood school where a counselor was fatally stabbed.

A job counselor at a vocational school in Hollywood was attacked in his office on Wednesday in a scene that witnesses described as "gruesome."

The suspect, a 22-year-old student, was stopped and held by nearby students and faculty until the police arrived on the third floor scene at the Job Corps facility, NBC LA reports

Dwayne Alexander, known commonly as "Mr. A," was taken to a hospital in critical condition for multiple stab wounds to his head and body. He later died.

Alexander reportedly had words with the suspect one day earlier, though the nature of the conversation was not known. 

Former students called the suspect quiet and disturbed, and and remarked that he was having diffiuculty adjusting to the school, which offers technical job training and education, and has dormitory facilities.

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HBO won't press its 'Luck,' cancels racing drama after third horse death

hbo luck good luck bar

Screenshot via HBO.com/luck

HBO has canceled its Dustin Hoffman / Nick Nolte dramatic series "Luck" after the deaths of three horses during production at Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia. The most recent accident occurred on Tuesday.

The network, which ordered a second season of shows immediately following the season one premiere, intends to air the remainder of the first season, but production has been shut down for good.

Executive produced by David Milch and Michael Mann, "Luck" was slow to catch ratings, and was criticized for its storytelling pace, says the L.A. Times. Fans, they say, praised the show for its "artistry." 

The official HBO statement via Deadline:

It is with heartbreak that executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann together with HBO have decided to cease all future production on the series Luck.

Safety is always of paramount concern.  We maintained the highest safety standards throughout production, higher in fact than any protocols existing in horseracing anywhere with many fewer incidents than occur in racing or than befall horses normally in barns at night or pastures.  While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won’t in the future.  Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision.

We are immensely proud of this series, the writing, the acting, the filmmaking, the celebration of the culture of horses, and everyone involved in its creation.

Quote from Michael Mann and David Milch:  “The two of us loved this series, loved the cast, crew and writers.  This has been a tremendous collaboration and one that we plan to continue in the future.”

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No more red-light camera tickets in Glendale

red light camera sign

Photo by Purple Wyrm via Flickr Creative Commons

Glendale police, like their Los Angeles counterparts, will no longer issue citations for violations caught on the city's red-light cameras. 

Officials said the decision, which took effect Feb. 24, was made because the program had become a burden on resources -- the officier assigned to reviewing violations was needed out in the field, reports the Glendale News Press.

Phoenix-based Redflex Traffic Systems, camera system's operator, received a letter from police last month notifying the company that they were terminating the program. 

Program costs had been paid by camera-caught citation revenue, according to officials, but the city was just breaking even after a drop in violations.

Glendale's move comes eight months after the Los Angeles City Council and Police Commission unanimously voted to terminate their red-light camera enforcement for an array of reasons, including its cost effectiveness and payment of the tickets.

While state laws allow police agencies to use red-light cameras for enforcement, recent successful litigation challenging the legality of those citations also played a role in the decision to stop the program, Public Works Director Steve Zurn said.

More than 5,800 red-light camera citations were issued last year. Motorists with pending tickets should check the status with local courthouses.

Police say they will not pursue citations issued before Feb. 24, and will not contest a ticket that's challenged in court. Those who paid fines and pleaded guilty to tickets before Feb. 24, however, will not be reimbursed.

Maybe the cameras could be repurposed to keep an eye on bears?

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'Pacific Standard Time: Art in Los Angeles 1950 to 1980' opens at Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau

Martin-Gropius-Bau

Photo by Martin aka Maha via Flickr Creative Commons

"Pacific Standard Time: Art in Los Angeles 1950-1980," goes on exhibit at Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau

Curators at Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau have assembled a program containing works from two of the core exhibitions of Pacific Standard Time: Art in Los Angeles 1950 to 1980.

The multi-institutional, multi-discipline art collaboration that opened last year across Southern California included over 60 institutions and galleries and was a decade in the making.

More than 70 works by over 50 artists were chosen from "Crosscurrents in L.A. – Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970" and "Greetings from L.A. – Artists and Publics, 1950-1980."

Lauded by the museum's former director as a "temporary national gallery of southern California art," guests of Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau will get a primer on three decades of Los Angeles art.

The exhibition project “Pacific Standard Time – Art in Los Angeles, 1950-1980” traces the development of the Los Angeles art scene during the post-war period, when the city on the Pacific hosted an impressively varied and versatile art scene, thus proving that it was more than Hollywood and a sprawling metropolis in the land of sunshine and palm trees.

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