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US man accused of killing 4 homeless men dies in jail

Children pay their respects Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, at a makeshift memorial at a drive-in for John Berry, a 64-year-old Vietnam homeless veteran who was stabbed to death by a serial killer in Anaheim, Calif. Prosecutors have charged 23-year-old Itzcoatl Ocampo, a former Marine and a Iraq war veteran, with the murders of four homeless men in a nearly month-long spree that prompted police in Orange County to urge the homeless to seek shelter indoors. .
Children pay their respects Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, at a makeshift memorial at a drive-in for John Berry, a 64-year-old Vietnam homeless veteran who was stabbed to death by a serial killer in Anaheim, Calif. Prosecutors have charged 23-year-old Itzcoatl Ocampo, a former Marine and a Iraq war veteran, with the murders of four homeless men in a nearly month-long spree that prompted police in Orange County to urge the homeless to seek shelter indoors. . AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A California man accused of killing four homeless men, a woman and her son died Thursday, a day after falling ill in his jail cell, authorities said.

Itzcoatl Ocampo, 25, was found in his single-man cell Wednesday and taken to a hospital, said Orange County sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock. He was pronounced dead Thursday afternoon.

No cause of death was immediately given, and officials said an autopsy will be performed in the coming days. The Orange County district attorney’s office will investigate the death.

Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty against the Mexican-born Ocampo. They alleged that he stabbed four homeless men in late 2011 and early 2012. Ocampo targeted his victims because they were vulnerable and because he felt they were a blight on the community, authorities said.

Ocampo also was facing murder charges in the deaths of a friend’s mother and brother in October 2011.

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Ocampo said he had no history of psychological problems and felt the need to kill after he was confined to driving a water truck and a dirt truck on a military base in Iraq.