Southern California breaking news and trends

Murder charges filed in OC homeless killings case

Homeless Homicides

Anaheim Police/AP

This photo provided by the Anaheim Police Department shows Itzcoatl Ocampo. The Orange County DA announced he plans to file four murder charges against Ocampo.

The Orange County district attorney announced the DA plans to file four murder charges with special circumstances lying in wait and use of a deadly weapon against Itzcoatl Ocamp, the 23-year-old Yorba Linda man accused in the serial slayings of four homeless men since Dec. 20. 

Though the L.A. Times had reported Ocampo's family members said he had seemed mentally ill since he returned from the Iraq war, the DA said he didn't seem mentally ill to them.

“This 23-year-old young man was a vicious killer, that he had in his mind a desire to kill people and that he followed through with that. And that he was a monster and that he was a terrible threat ... particularly to the homeless people in our county," said Orange County DA Tony Rackauckas, according to KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, who's at the presser.

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2 arrested in teen soccer player killing

DS12-ECR-TAFT-MB

Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News

El Camino Real's goalkeeper Francisco Rodriguez was fatally shot last week in Winnetka. (Photo used with permission from the L.A. Daily News)

A LAPD spokesman confirmed two people are in custody in connection with the murder of high school soccer player Francisco Rodriguez. Details regarding the suspect arrests will be announced by officials at a news conference this afternoon. 

The El Camino Real student was fatally shot in front of his Winnetka home last week in what police called a "targeted" killing. Witnesses initally reported a red-haired, teenage girl knocked on the door and lured the victim outside where he was shot four times. 

The suspects' names have not yet been released. The news conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the LAPD Topanga Division.

This post has been updated.

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Pinkberry co-founder arrested for allegedly beating a homeless man with tire iron

Mark Lennihan

An appetizing shot inside a Pinkberry.

News broke last night that the co-founder of the Pinkberry yogurt chain was arrested at LAX on a warrant for assault with a deadly weapon.

Then the L.A. Times reported, that Young Lee is accused of chasing down a homeless man last June and beating him with a tire iron.

According to the AP, police spokesman Bruce Borihanh says 47-year-old Lee was arrested by a joint police and FBI fugitive task force Monday afternoon as he arrived at LAX on a flight from South Korea. He is in jail on $60,000 bail.

AP's call for comment to the Pinkberry headquarters in L.A. wasn't immediately returned.

Lee co-founded Pinkberry with Shelly Hwang in Los Angeles in 2005. It now has more than 150 franchised stores, though it has seen the closure of its original West Hollywood location.

This post has been updated.

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See LA's plans for City Hall Park, Occupy LA's old home

Images courtesy Department of Recreation and Parks

The three options Department of Recreation and Parks officials are shopping around.

Los Angeles Police Move In To Evict Occupy LA Encampment

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

That's bare ground underneath the stuff left behind after police raided the camp.


Seemingly in line with the collaborative spirit of what was the Occupy LA encampment at City Hall, the city is presenting refurbishment options to the downtown community and trying to make what was once mostly a plain patch of grass better than ever. The plans are available on a Department of Recreation and Parks site labeled the "Restoration of City Hall Park."

It has already presented a set of three options to the Downtown Neighborhood Council, and according to the L.A. Times, the second choice is in the lead. That option would replace some of the grassy area with drought-tolerant plants, but maintain some room for public events.

You might recall that there was a lot of chatter about how much money it was going to cost to refurbish the lawn after a nearly two-month-long stay by Occupy LA protesters left it in tatters. The number the city settled on was big. Also, it pondered suing protesters to recoup that big number. Blogdowntown reports that the options would range from $350,000 to $1 million to execute.

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Countrywide mortgage investigation: Reps. Buck McKeon, Elton Gallegly got loans

Congressman Buck McKeon (R-Simi Valley)

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Armed Services Committee ranking member Rep. Buck McKeon (center) before a hearing in 2009.

Two veteran House Republicans from California — Reps. Buck McKeon and Elton Gallegly — were among four congressmen who got mortgages from the now-defunct Countrywide Financial under a VIP program, the Wall Street Journal first reported on Saturday.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been investigating whether some members of Congress got discounts from Countrywide under its VIP program. The AP has reported that that four House members had received the VIP loans, and one of the four remains unidentified. The three identified congressmen, including Rep. Edolphus Towns, a Democrat from New York, told the Journal they were unaware their mortgages were sent to a special VIP unit of Countrywide or that they might be receiving special discounts.

A 1998 loan to McKeon, who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, was for $315,000. Gallegly's 2005 loan was for $77,000.

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