Crime & Justice

Charges dropped in Yorba Linda double murder; new evidence points to new suspect

This photo provided by the Anaheim Police Department shows Itzcoatl Ocampo.
This photo provided by the Anaheim Police Department shows Itzcoatl Ocampo.
Anaheim Police/AP

Charges were dropped Friday against Eder Herrera, a man who had been awaiting trial in connection with the October fatal stabbings of his mother and brother in Yorba, with prosecutors saying new evidence in the slayings points instead to a former Marine who is already charged with the killings of four homeless men in Orange County.

Itzcotal "Izzy" Ocampo, 23, was expected to be charged Monday in connection with the Oct. 25 stabbings of Raquel Estrada, 53, and her son, Juan Herrera, 34, in their Yorba Linda home.

Estrada's son, Eder Giovanni Herrera, had been charged with the killings, but District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told reporters late today that "we no longer have sufficient evidence to hold Mr. Herrera in custody."

"If he's indeed not culpable for these murders, I don't think it would be right to keep him in custody over the weekend," Rackauckas said.

"Since the filing of the charges against Herrera and Ocampo, there has been a significant amount of new evidence discovered in the case," he said. "Ocampo and Herrera were friends from high school. Ocampo lived approximately one mile away from Herrera at the time of the murder. The victims on the Herrera case suffered a substantial number of stab wounds to the upper body, similar to the homeless victims. We made a significant DNA link to evidence collected at Ocampo's home from the Herrera crime scene.

"At this point we have not conclusively eliminated Mr. Herrera as a suspect in the case. We will continue to investigate the case," Rackauckas said.

Ocampo, a former Marine, is due in court Monday. He has already been charged with the "thrill killings" of four homeless men in a crime spree that began Dec. 20.