LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California prosecutors will seek the death penalty against an Iraq war veteran charged with six murders, including the serial “thrill” killings of four homeless men in Orange County, a top prosecutor said on Monday.
Itzcoatl Ocampo, a 24-year-old former U.S. Marine, is scheduled to stand trial in September on six counts of first degree murder with special circumstances, including the brutal stabbing deaths of four transients beginning in late December.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The family of a Hollywood executive reported missing more than two weeks ago called off on Wednesday a major search planned for this weekend after consulting with authorities.
Relatives of Gavin Smith who had initially asked the public to help look for him also canceled a round of media interviews they had been scheduling for Friday.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The mother of a schizophrenic homeless man who died after he was beaten and repeatedly shocked with a stun gun by police in California last year has reached a $1 million settlement with the city of Fullerton, both sides said.
Videotape of the beating of 37-year-old Kelly Thomas, which was repeatedly broadcast on cable television, shows Thomas lying on the ground screaming, “They’re killing me,” as officers swarmed over him, delivering multiple blows and shocks.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A retired Los Angeles Police Department homicide detective has been arrested in Hawaii, accused of murdering his wife nearly six years after he blamed her death on an accidental fall, authorities said on Tuesday.
Daniel DeJarnette, 59, was taken into custody at his home on Hawaii’s Big Island on Monday, Hawaii police Lieutenant Greg Esteban said. He was indicted earlier in the day on a charge of second-degree murder by a grand jury, and pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Big-wave surfer Garrett McNamara has been recognized by Guinness World Records for surfing the largest wave ever ridden, a towering 78-foot (24 -meter) wall of water he says he caught at Nazare, Portugal, in November while “totally in the moment.”
McNamara’s record-setting feat was verified by Guinness after an independent panel of big wave and photography experts painstakingly measured still and video images of the colossal wave, a spokeswoman for the agency said.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The son of a Hollywood studio executive who has been missing for a week said Monday that his father had not used his cellphone or credit cards, leaving no clues to his disappearance.
Gavin Smith, a 57-year-old film distribution executive for 20th Century Fox, was last seen on Tuesday night driving away from a friend’s house in the community of Oak Park, north of Los Angeles, in his black Mercedes.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles prosecutors asked a judge on Wednesday to order the execution of two condemned killers using a single drug for lethal injections, a move intended to end a 6-year hold on the death penalty in California over the method used by the state.
The move comes days after Democratic Governor Jerry Brown told prison officials to consider using the single-drug execution protocol, and ahead of a November ballot measure that seeks to repeal capital punishment in the state.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A U.S. Marine sergeant who wrote in a Facebook post that he would not follow orders from President Barack Obama will be discharged from the military on “other than honorable” terms, a Marine spokesman said on Wednesday.
California-based Sergeant Gary Stein was advised of the decision after a commanding general upheld the recommendation by a review board, Major Michael Armistead said.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California voters will decide in November whether to repeal the death penalty in a state that is home to nearly a quarter of the nation’s death row inmates, after activists collected the more than 500,000 signatures needed to put the measure on the ballot.
The ballot initiative focuses on the high cost of the death penalty in a state that has executed 13 people since capital punishment was reinstated in the nation in 1976. Another 723 inmates sit on death row pending lengthy and expensive appeals.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Conservative activist Andrew Breitbart died of heart failure with no prescription or illegal drugs in his system, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s officials said on Friday.
There was no significant trauma to the body of Breitbart, who died in March at the age of 43, and foul play was not suspected, a coroner’s spokesman said in a written statement.