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‘Onion Field’ Killer Arrested in Drug Case

A man convicted of killing a policeman in the “Onion Field” murder case that inspired a book and movie was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of heroin use, a sheriff’s deputy said.

Jimmy Lee Smith was stopped shortly after midnight by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who said that they saw him running from a pay telephone. While questioning him, they determined that he was under the influence of heroin, said Deputy Gabe Ramirez.

Authorities released Smith, 61, of Pico Rivera, after citing him. Arraignment is scheduled Jan. 21.

Smith and an accomplice, Gregory Powell, were convicted and sentenced to die for the 1963 shooting death of Los Angeles Police Officer Ian Campbell. Campbell and his partner, Karl Hettinger, stopped Smith and Powell during a car theft investigation. Smith and Powell got the officers’ guns and drove them to an onion field near Bakersfield, about 160 miles north of Los Angeles. Campbell was killed there, but Hettinger escaped.

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