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Santa Monica Victim of Serial Assailant Dies, Marking Fourth Fatality
By Jorge Casuso
October 2, 2018 -- The final victim in a series of brutal assaults in Santa Monica and Los Angeles last month has died, bringing the total number of fatalities to four, Santa Monica police said Tuesday.
The victim -- a homeless man who died at a local hospital on Sunday -- had been in a coma since he was beaten with a bolt cutter on September 24 near Downtown Santa Monica, said Lt. Saul Rodriguez, the Police Department spokesman.
The suspect, Ramon Escobar, 47, was located in the 600 block of Broadway later that morning and arrested, police said. ("Suspect Arrested for Assault Monday in Santa Monica Could Be Responsible for String of Murders," September 25, 2018).
Two days later the Los Angeles County District Attorney charged Escobar with the man's attempted murder, as well as with the murder of three other men and the attempted murder of another four ("Escobar Charged With Murder, Attempted Murder in Santa Monica, LA Assaults," September 26, 2018).
The DA will amend the charges related to the final incident from suspected murder to assault, Rodriguez said.
All but one of the eight victims -- a man whose body was found under the Santa Monica Pier after an overnight fishing trip -- was homeless, police said ("Homicide Victim Found Under Santa Monica Pier Was Not Homeless, Authorities Say," September 24, 2018).
The man who died Sunday was the second killed in Santa Monica.
The first victim, who was assaulted September 8, has been released from the hospital, Rodriguez said.
"He doesn't remember the attack," Rodriguez said. "He was asleep."
The second victim, who was assaulted September 10 remains hospitalized in a coma sustained from the injuries.
Three of the victim assaulted in Los Angeles have survived, police said.
Police say Escobar used a wooden bat they found in his car trunk to beat the men in the head and shoulders while they slept. In the final attack he used a wire cutter found near the scene, police said.
Escobar, who arrived in Southern California on September 5 after driving from Houston, is a deported felon, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
A native of El Salvador, he was departed back to his country six times between 1977 and 2011, immigration officials said.
Escobar -- who police said spent five years in a Texas prison for burglary from 1995 to 2000 -- was allowed to remain in the country on an “order of supervision” after U.S. courts granted an appeal of his immigration case in December 2016.
Homeless himself, Escobar's motive in last month's assaults in Santa Monica and os Angeles, appeared to be robbery, police said.
Escobar fled Texas after being questioned on August 30 by Houston as a person of interest in the disappearance of the aunt and uncle he lived with before they were reported missing.
His aunt's van was found in Galveston, Texas, where it had been burned and abandoned.
If convicted of murder, Escobar faces a minimum sentence of life without parole.
Anyone with information related to this investigation should call Detective Leone (310) 458-8949; Detective Cooper (310) 458-8478; or the Santa Monica Police Department at(310) 458-8491.
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