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OC Serial Killer: Ex-Marine Accused of Fatally Stabbing 6 People Pleads Not Guilty, May Pursue Insanity Defense
Itzcoatl "Izzy'' Ocampo, the ex-Marine and possible serial killer accused of fatally stabbing six people last year in Orange County has entered a not guilty plea in response to his charges today in court, reports City News Service.
The 23-year-old Yorba Linda resident is thought to have killed a woman and her son in October, as well as four OC homeless men during a December spree. A Grand Jury indictment allowed the trial to proceed without any preliminary hearings. Prosecutors have not yet determine if they plan to seek the death penalty.
Following Ocampo's arrest for the murders of the four homeless men--described by prosecutors as "thrill killings"--the suspect was linked to a crime previously thought carried out by Ocampo's high school friend, Eder Giovanni Herrera. Detectives said DNA ties Ocampo to the scene of the crime, where Herra's mother, 53-year-old Raquel Estrada, and her son, 34-year-old Juan Herrara, were stabbed 30 and 60 times respectively last October.
There are inklings Ocampo's attorney will pursue an insanity defense, a move that would not sit well with some of the victims' relatives. Marie Middaugh, mother of murder victim Lloyd "Jim" Middaugh, said: "It upsets me because [Ocampo] needs to be responsible. [An insanity plea is] a cop-out excuse."'
Ocampo will be back in court March 9 for a hearing that will establish if both sides are prepared to proceed with the trial.