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Man Arrested In San Diego Homeless Murders Has History Of Mental Illness, Arrests

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The man who was arrested Friday for allegedly killing and assaulting several homeless men in San Diego has a history of mental illness and prior arrests, police say.

According to the L.A. Times, 39-year-old Jon David Guerrero is charged with three counts of murder, two attempted murder counts, and two counts of arson. Detectives said that they found physical evidence at the scene of the Friday's most recent attack that "definitively links" Guerrero to the murders.

Guerrero has a decade-plus long history of arrests and mental health cases, as the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Guerrero was sent to Patton State Hospital for psychiatric treatment following several arrests and competency hearings, per court records. Public records uncovered by the Union Tribune also revealed that Guerrero pleaded guilty in 2008 to charges of burglary, grand theft, and marijuana and narcotics paraphernalia possession. In 2009, he was again convicted of robbery, after knocking down a homeless woman and stealing her bicycle.

Guerrero's mother wrote letters to the court, explaining why her son failed to comply with probation standards, and lobbied the court for psychiatric treatment. In one letter, she wrote that his poor hearing and speaking skills hindered his ability to keep appointments. She also said, "In the past a symptom of his illness has been to insert foreign objects into his body orifices and I am concerned that this may be the case again.”

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Tina Calderon, who told the Daily Beast that she often saw Guerrero at Kimball Park in National City, which is just south of San Diego, described him as "kind of scary" and said, "He goes past here all the time riding on a whitish-grey bicycle at about 5 o'clock in the morning." The Union Tribune noted that when police made the arrest Friday afternoon, they discovered a hammer in the backpack Guerrero was carrying.

One homeless man told the Daily Beast that many in the community were terrified in the days before Guerrero's arrest. "It feels safer in jail than out here," he said. "There’s more honor among thieves in jail than there is honor among homeless out here."