The Orange County District Attorney has charged Malik Patt, 20, with three murders in a series of robberies at 7-Elevens in Southern California that left an employee, a customer and a homeless shelter.
Officials now allege they linked Patt and an accomplice to a total of 13 robberies.
Dist. Atti. Todd Spitzer said Patt was charged with two murders at 7-Elevens in Brea and Santa Ana on July 11 and the murder of a homeless man on July 9 in the North Hills of Los Angeles. The particular circumstances under which the murders were committed as part of a series of murders and in robberies make Patt eligible for the death penalty or life without the possibility of parole if convicted, Spitzer said.
He is also charged with two counts of attempted murder, three counts of theft and carjacking in a July 9-11 crime spree.
Spitzer said that due to a change in the state’s law of natural and probable consequences, he could not charge alleged accomplice Jason Payne, 44, with the murders. However, Spitzer said Payne will face robbery and attempted robbery charges in connection with holdups in Santa Ana, La Habra and Brea.
The Orange County Violent Crimes Task Force arrested the two men following what are now believed to be 13 robberies and three homicides that began on July 9 in Los Angeles and crossed counties from Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside.
Spitzer said that because Patt is charged with serial murder, Spitzer can consolidate the murder in the North Hills of Los Angeles with murders at Brea and Santa Ana 7-Elevens.
Spitzer said Patt “executed innocent people and shot others.”
Patt did not enter a plea.
The task force made up of officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and investigators from the Orange County Police Department followed the men for nearly a day at a home in the 1900 block of West 23rd Street in Los Angeles and took them into custody. Spitzer said the two suspects appeared to know each other.
Patt, according to authorities, was the shooter in the July 11 7-Eleven shooting. Security video from one of the thefts showed a masked man in a hoodie, with only his eyes visible; this image was shared widely as police conducted an extensive manhunt and 7-Eleven offered a $100,000 reward for a tip leading to an arrest.
The prosecutor said it was the ATF office that linked the murder of the homeless man on July 9 near a series of four robberies to the killings in Orange County. The federal agency brought this investigation to his office. Prosecutors in Riverside County and San Bernardino County plan to charge some of the robberies in their counties separately, officials said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said his detectives believe the two men were involved in two other robberies that were not included in the crimes made public when they were arrested on Friday.
Meanwhile, LA County Dist. Atti. George Gascón said he expects cases in the county to come to him for prosecution.
“We applaud the hard work and dedication of our law enforcement partners throughout Southern California who have arrested these dangerous individuals,” Gascón said. “Although the crimes that occurred in Los Angeles have not yet been brought before us, we expect that they will be brought before our office.”
Law enforcement sources said evidence recovered from one of the Orange County robberies links it to the four July 9 robberies at two 7-Elevens and two donut shops police were investigating in the San Fernando Valley. , as well as the murder of a homeless man near one of these scenes.
The armed robberies took place more than an hour and a half earlier that day in North Hills, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Detectives quickly determined the crime spree was ‘linked’ to the shooting in the head of a man in the 16100 block of Parthenia Street, police said, adding that detectives also linked it to the Orange County flights.
Los Angeles Times