Homeless killer suspect said he had 'killer' gene

March 15, 2012 - 9:15 PM

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A former Marine charged with the gory stabbing deaths of six people in California told investigators he targeted homeless people in part because they were vulnerable, and that he believes he has a "killer gene," according to court papers obtained Thursday.

Daron Wyatt, an Anaheim police detective, told an Orange County grand jury in February that Itzcoatl Ocampo provided a detailed account of his involvement in the murders of four homeless men following his arrest in January, according to a copy of the transcript from the proceedings.

Another investigator told the grand jury Ocampo later confessed to two more murders — the October killings of his high school friend Eder Herrera's mother and brother in Yorba Linda.

The revelations come as Ocampo, a 23-year-old former Marine, faces six felony counts of murder for allegedly stalking and stabbing his victims in killings authorities said were carried out with a roughly seven-inch military-style blade and that terrorized Orange County's homeless community.

Ocampo has pleaded not guilty to the charges. A message was left Thursday for his attorney, Randall Longwith.

If convicted, Ocampo could face the death penalty. The district attorney has not yet decided whether to seek capital punishment in the case.

Ocampo told investigators he started to kill homeless men because they were "available and vulnerable" and continued stabbing his victims even after believing they were dead, according to the transcript.

Ocampo said he looked at Penthouse magazine before the attacks "to pump himself up," Wyatt said.

"He seemed to get excited when he was talking about the actual kill," Wyatt testified. "So, I asked him if he was aroused by the act of killing."

Ocampo at first questioned the word arousal, according to the transcript, but then added, "my balls felt like they were going to explode, and I knew that I had the killer gene."

Ocampo was arrested in January after a witness helped chase down a suspect following the stabbing of a fourth homeless victim outside a fast-foot restaurant in Anaheim, about 26 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Ocampo was initially charged with the four murders and prosecutors last month added charges for the Yorba Linda killings.