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Ex-Marine pleads not guilty to killing 6, including homeless

By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times –

SANTA ANA, Calif. — A man accused of killing six people — four homeless men and a mother and her son — pleaded not guilty Tuesday in a Santa Ana courtroom.

Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, wearing orange jail scrubs, appeared to be distraught in court and sometimes mumbled to himself. He is charged with six felony counts of murder with special circumstances for lying in wait and multiple murders. Ocampo’s attorney, Randall Longwith, would not say if the plea would change to a potential insanity plea. He said he was still having trouble communicating with his client.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I need to see the facts of the case and decide at what point his mental health affects the plea.”

Ocampo is accused of stabbing four homeless men to death from Dec. 20, 2011, to Jan. 13, when he was chased by bystanders into a restaurant parking lot after a fourth victim was killed. Ocampo was arrested that night.

Two weeks later, police announced Ocampo was a suspect in the slayings of a woman and her son nearly two months before the killings of the homeless men began.

Relatives of homeless victims Jim McGilivray and Lloyd “Jimmy” Middaugh attended Tuesday’s hearing. Middaugh’s mother, Marie Middaugh, 65, said she went because she wanted to see Ocampo in person, a sight that she said made her “sick” because she could not comprehend how someone could have killed her 6-foot-4, 300-pound son.

“He would have fought back,” she said.

A hearing is scheduled for March 9 in the case.

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