SANTA MONICA/GRIFFITH PARK—A criminal complaint was amended on Thursday, November 8 against the suspect accused of killing four people and injuring eight others in a series of attacks in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office revealed.
Ramon Alberto Escobar, 47, is facing four counts of murder, eight counts of attempted murder and six counts of second-degree robbery. The charging document includes special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder during the commission of a robbery, making him eligible for the death penalty.
During a press conference, Captain William Hayes of the Los Angeles Police Department indicated that the suspect would randomly walk about to homeless man sleeping and assault them repeatedly with a baseball bat above the head and shoulders.
Escobar pleaded not guilty to all counts in court and is scheduled to return to court on January 6, 2019, for a preliminary hearing setting. On September 16, Escobar beat three homeless men and robbed one of them in downtown Los Angeles. Two of the victims identified as Branden Ridout and Kelvin Williams died from injuries sustained. Another individual suffered serious injuries during the assault.
The suspect then allegedly beat, killed and robbed Steven Cruze whose body was discovered under the Santa Monica Pier on September 20. It was first reported that Cruze was homeless, but his family later confirmed that was not the case. Escobar is accused of beating and robbing Jorge Martinez in Santa Monica on September 24. Officers from The Santa Monica Police Department received a radio call about a man suffering from head trauma in the 1500 block of 7th Street at 6:51 a.m. After arriving on the scene, officers found the victim unconscious and suffering from injuries to the head that were consistent with blunt force trauma, noted Lt. Saul Rodriguez of the SMPD. Martinez was transported to a local hospital where he later died.
He also attacked a man on September 8 at a Santa Monica beach and two people in Griffith Park on the same day, as well as several other individuals during separate incidents in the cites of Santa Monica and Los Angeles.
Escobar was located on the 600 block of Broadway Avenue. Following a preliminary investigation by SMPD Detectives was placed under arrest. Escobar is suspected to be involved in the disappearance of his uncle and aunt, Rogelio Escobar and Dina Escobar who went missing from Houston, Texas in August.
Escobar is an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, who had been deported from the United States six times. He won his recent appeal against the immigration court in December 2016. He has multiple felony convictions for burglary and illegal re-entry. He could face life in prison without the possibility of parole or death if convicted as charged. A decision will be made at a later date on whether to seek the death penalty against Escobar.