L.A. district attorney charges man in slayings of 4 people over 4-day span

UPI
Jerrid Joseph Powell of Los Angeles was charged Monday with four counts of murder in connection with the slayings of four people over a four-day span last week. Photo provided by the Los Angeles Police Department
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Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Los Angeles authorities on Monday charged a 33-year-old man with the fatal shootings of three homeless people and another victim he allegedly encountered at a vehicle charging station.

Jerrid Joseph Powell of Los Angeles was charged with four counts of murder, one count of residential robbery and one count of being a felon with a firearm, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced.

The Los Angeles Police Department placed Powell under arrest on Saturday following the killings of the four people over a four-day span.

Gascón alleged that from Nov. 26 to Wednesday, Powell shot and killed three houseless men sleeping alone on sidewalks or alleys in Los Angeles, as well as another man whom he allegedly followed from a charging station to a home in San Dimas, Calif.

San Dimas city officials identified the fourth victim as Nicholas Simbolon, 42, revealing he was killed by a gunshot wound to his upper torso in the driveway of his home.

The spate of homicides prompted widespread alarm among the Los Angeles homeless population and those working to help them, prompting local officials to activate an extension of the county's winter shelter program in an effort to give homeless individuals a safe place to go overnight.

If convicted on all charges, Powell faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"I want to extend my deepest appreciation to the incredible men and women of law enforcement who worked tirelessly to bring justice to our community and arrest this individual," Gascón said. "The swift actions of law enforcement undoubtedly saved lives this week."

An initial arraignment hearing set for Monday was rescheduled to Jan. 8 at the request of Powell's public defender, while in the meantime he will remain jailed without bond, KABC-TV reported.

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department said it identified the car Powell allegedly used in the killing of Simbolon and stopped it in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Wednesday, where they recovered a gun believed to be used in the slayings.

LAPD officials, meanwhile, tied the same vehicle to the trio of homeless victims.