Man who beat homeless men to death in series of L.A. attacks sentenced to life in prison

A man in a blue jumpsuit behind bars in a courtroom
Ramon Escobar, shown with an unidentified attorney in L.A. County Superior Court in 2018, was sentenced Friday for killing five men and injuring seven others in a series of Southern California attacks. He also admitted to killing his aunt and uncle in Texas.
(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

A man who pleaded guilty to a series of Southern California attacks that left five men dead and seven others injured was sentenced Friday to life in prison without possibility of parole.

Ramon Escobar, 50, received multiple life sentences after entering guilty pleas to murder with special circumstances and attempted murder. In a videoconference hearing, he also pleaded guilty to the 2018 killings of his aunt and uncle in Houston. He received additional life sentences for those slayings but will serve them consecutively in California.

Prosecutors said Escobar fled Texas after killing his relatives and was homeless when he began attacking people in Los Angeles and Santa Monica over the course of about two weeks in September 2018.


Prosecutors said Escobar bludgeoned victims with bolt cutters or a baseball bat as they lay sleeping on streets or the beach. All but one were homeless.

Prison officers reportedly found two “inmate-manufactured weapons” after the man was attacked, authorities said.

In an interview with police, Escobar said he killed some of the victims because they “irritated him, they were disrespectful to law enforcement, or he robbed them because he needed money,” according to a prosecution sentencing memorandum.

Surveillance video showed him ransacking the pockets and belongings of some victims in downtown Los Angeles.

Escobar had fled Texas after being questioned over the disappearance of his aunt and uncle, with whom he’d been staying. He drove 1,500 miles to California, arriving about a week before the attacks began there, authorities said.

Houston police later said Escobar confessed that he had killed siblings Dina Escobar, 60, and Rogelio Escobar, 65.

Ramon Escobar told police he beat his uncle to death because he felt disrespected, and then killed his aunt after hiding in her van when she went to look for her brother two days later.

In some ways, the evening was a retread of the last debate featuring the five candidates, with much of the criticism again trained on businessman Rick Caruso.

Escobar said he left the bodies in two different dumpsters, and they were later found at a landfill.

Escobar had a previous criminal record that included a five-year prison term for burglary in Texas and misdemeanor convictions for assault and trespassing, authorities said.

Escobar, who originally was from El Salvador, also had been deported six times from 1997 to 2011 but returned illegally, authorities said. In 2017 he was released from federal immigration custody after winning an appeal of his latest deportation case in an immigration court, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.