California man charged with killing 3 homeless men, robbery victim

LOS ANGELES — A California man accused of fatally shooting a man in his garage and killing three homeless men as they slept last week has been charged with murder and other counts, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33, was arrested Thursday in connection with the follow-home robbery murder of Nicholas Simbolon, and he was then linked to the killings of three homeless men, officials said.

“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,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. “The swift actions of law enforcement undoubtedly saved lives this week.”

Police have not disclosed a possible motive.

Powell is charged with four counts of murder, one count of residential robbery and one count of being a felon with a firearm, the district attorney’s office said. Enhancements have also been filed that deal with multiple murders, murder during a robbery and using a firearm.

The killings started early Nov. 26, when Jose Bolanos, 37, was fatally shot as he slept on a couch in a rear alley, police have said.

The next morning, Mark Diggs, 62, was shot as he leaned against a rear wall.

The man killed in his garage, Simbolon, a Los Angeles County employee, was fatally shot Tuesday at his home in San Dimas, a city east of Los Angeles.

Then, on Wednesday, a 52-year-old man who had been sleeping on the sidewalk was fatally shot near an intersection, police said.

Powell is being held in lieu of $2 million bail, according to jail records. It was not immediately clear Monday whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

If he is convicted as charged, Powell could face life in prison without the possibility of parole, the district attorney’s office said.

Phil Helsel

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.

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