More charges for man ac­cused in LA County home­less slay­ings

Merced Sun-Star - - News - BY JAMES QUEALLY AND CINDY CHANG

A man sus­pected of killing at least four peo­ple dur­ing a spate of sav­age at­tacks on Los An­ge­les County’s home­less com­mu­nity ear­lier this year was charged with four ad­di­tional counts of at­tempted mur­der, a pros­e­cu­tor said af­ter a court hear­ing on Thurs­day.

Ra­mon Es­co­bar, a 47year-old Hous­ton man, was ar­rested in late Septem­ber and charged in a week­s­long se­ries of as­saults that left a num­ber of home­less men beaten to death or co­matose in down­town Los An­ge­les and Santa Mon­ica.

The four ad­di­tional at­tempted mur­ders oc­curred dur­ing the same stretch of Septem­ber when Es­co­bar is ac­cused of com­mit­ting the other at­tacks. In all, Es­co­bar is charged with four counts of mur­der, eight counts of at­tempted mur­der and six counts of rob­bery, court records show.

In an amended com­plaint filed by pros­e­cu­tors on Thurs­day, Es­co­bar was charged with at­tempted mur­der and rob­bery in a Sept. 11 at­tack on Al­bert Gene Scott in the 4700 block of West Slau­son Av­enue in Wind­sor Hills.

An­other new at­tempted mur­der charge stemmed from an at­tack Sept. 15 at the edge of MacArthur Park. The vic­tim, Michelle Mat­ice, was severely in­jured, as was Scott. Mat­ice may have been a tran­sient, but Scott was not home­less, said Los An­ge­les County Deputy Dist. Atty. Vic­tor Avila.

On Sept. 19, four days af­ter Mat­ice was at­tacked, Es­co­bar al­legedly as­saulted Kyla Re­nard and David Dot­son in Grif­fith Park, leav­ing them severely in­jured, Avila said. Es­co­bar was also charged with rob­bing Re­nard. Avila said he was not sure whether the two vic­tims were home­less.

Pros­e­cu­tors also up­graded a pre­vi­ous at­tempted mur­der charge against Es­co­bar to mur­der. The vic­tim, 63-year-old Jorge Mar­tinez, was at­tacked on the morn­ing of Sept. 24 in Santa Mon­ica and died six days later.

Es­co­bar was ar­rested near the scene of the at­tack on Mar­tinez. In a down­town court­room early Thurs­day morn­ing, Es­co­bar ap­peared in hand­cuffs and blue jail scrubs, sport­ing a thick salt-and-pep­per beard. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, five of the sur­viv­ing vic­tims were left co­matose be­cause of in­juries they suf­fered dur­ing Es­co­bar’s at­tacks.

Es­co­bar last lived in the Hous­ton area, but po­lice say he fled to South­ern Cal­i­for­nia af­ter his aunt and un­cle, Dina and Ro­ge­lio Es­co­bar, dis­ap­peared in late Au­gust. The charred re­mains of Dina Es­co­bar’s car were found on a beach in Galve­ston, Texas, in early Septem­ber, and Hous­ton Po­lice have said they be­lieve they were vic­tims of foul play.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve Es­co­bar ar­rived in Santa Mon­ica on Sept. 5, liv­ing out of his car for the next three weeks as he al­legedly launched a se­ries of at­tacks on in­di­vid­u­als who ap­peared to be sleep­ing out­side.

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