Man charged in murders of 3 sleeping homeless Los Angeles men, robbery victim: 'It was chilling'

ByShayla Girardin KABC logo
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Suspected serial killer makes first appearance in LA courtroom
Jerrid Joseph Powell made a brief court appearance after he was charged with four SoCal murders and his arraignment was postponed until January.

LOS ANGELES -- The suspect in the killings of three Los Angeles homeless men and a San Dimas, California resident was officially charged with the killings on Monday.

Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33, has been 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. Powell also faces special circumstances of committing multiple murders and murder in the course of a robbery, as well as personal use of a firearm allegations.

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If convicted of all charges, Powell faces a potential sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.

He made a brief appearance in court Monday, but at his public defender's request his initial arraignment was rescheduled to Jan. 8. He will remain held in jail on no bail.

San Dimas shooting

Powell was already in custody for the killing of a San Dimas man during a follow-home robbery last week when investigators connected him to the murders of three unhoused men who were shot while sleeping alone on a sidewalk or alley.

In the San Dimas killing, he is accused of following 42-year-old Nicholas Simbolon, an employee of the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office, from a charging station in West Covina, California to his home. There he robbed and shot him, then fled the scene, authorities said.

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Powell was arrested Wednesday for that murder after Beverly Hills police used an automated license-plate scanner to spot his vehicle, which was already subject to a law-enforcement alert.

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A handgun recovered from Powell's vehicle was the same weapon used in the three homeless killings, according to LAPD Chief Michel Moore.

The first homeless killing occurred around 3 a.m. Sunday, followed by another at about 5 a.m. Monday and another at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Moore said.

"It was chilling, and I've been in this work four-plus decades," Moore said. "The cold-blooded manner in which he walks up and shoots this individual without any hesitation, no interactions, and then leaves that location."

According to the chief and the county medical examiner, the victim in Sunday's shooting was Jose Bolanos, 37. Killed on Monday was 62-year-old Mark Diggs. The victim in Wednesday's shooting was a 52-year-old man, but his name was being withheld pending notification of relatives.

On Tuesday, Simbolon was found by his wife inside his Tesla in the garage of the home, suffering from a gunshot to the upper body, according to witnesses and sheriff's officials. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

The sheriff said there was no known connection among the four killings, and no known relationship between Powell and Simbolon.