Charges added in beat­ing spree

Houston Chronicle - - CITY | STATE -

A Hous­ton man who fled Texas af­ter be­ing ques­tioned in the dis­ap­pear­ance of his aunt and un­cle faces a new round of charges in his base­ball bat beat­ing spree, ac­cord­ing to Cal­i­for­nia au­thor­i­ties.

Ra­mon Es­co­bar, 47, was charged Thurs­day with a fourth mur­der charge and four more counts of at­tempted mur­der re­lated to the three-week crime spree tar­get­ing pre­dom­i­nantly home­less peo­ple in the Los Angeles area, a Los Angeles County Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice spokesman said.

The amended com­plaint brings the to­tal num­ber of charges against Es­co­bar to four counts of mur­der, eight counts of at­tempted mur­der and six counts of sec­ond-de­gree rob­bery, spokesman Greg Ris­ling said.

The new charges make Es­co­bar elig­ble for the death penalty, Ris­ling said.

The ad­di­tional mur­der charge stems from the death of Jorge Martinez, who slipped into a coma and died in early Oc­to­ber af­ter be­ing badly beaten and robbed in Santa Mon­ica. Dur­ing the crime spree, which be­gan on Sept. 8 and lasted un­til his ar­rest on Sept. 24, Bran­den Rid­out, Kelvin Wil­liams and Steven Cruze were also killed.

Es­co­bar ap­peared in court Thurs­day and pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is slated to re­turn to court on Jan. 6.

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