7-Eleven robberies: D.A. charges man with 3 murders, calling him ‘stone-cold serial killer’
Orange County’s district attorney has charged 20-year-old Malik Patt with three murders during a string of robberies at 7-Elevens across Southern California that left a clerk, a customer and a homeless man dead.
Officials say they have linked Patt and an accomplice to 13 robberies.
Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer said Patt is accused of two killings at 7-Elevens in Brea and Santa Ana on July 11 and the killing of a homeless man July 9 in L.A.’s North Hills.
If convicted, Patt would be eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole, Spitzer said.
Patt is also charged with two counts of attempted murder, three counts of robbery and a carjacking during a series of crimes from July 9 to 11.
“Patt is a stone-cold serial killer,” Spitzer said at a news conference Monday. “There’s no other way to describe him.”
Spitzer said that if investigators had not found Patt, the suspect would have continued killing.
“To see somebody who could just kill people in cold blood like this, it’s just unfathomable. It’s scary,” he said.
Spitzer said that because of a change in state law on natural and probable consequences, he cannot charge alleged accomplice Jason Payne, 44, with murder.
The district attorney said Payne will face charges of robbery and attempted robbery in connection with holdups in Santa Ana, La Habra and Brea.
The Orange County Violent Crime Task Force arrested the two men after what is believed to be 13 robberies and three homicides that began July 9 in Los Angeles and cut across Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Spitzer said that because Patt is accused of serial murder, Spitzer can consolidate the killing in North Hills with killings at the Brea and Santa Ana 7-Elevens.
Spitzer said Patt “executed innocent people and shot others.”
Patt has not entered a plea.
The task force consisting of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents and investigators from Orange County police agencies tracked the men for almost a day to a home in the 1900 block of West 23rd Street in L.A. and took them into custody. Spitzer said both suspects seem to know each other.
Patt, authorities said, was the gunman in the 7-Eleven shootings July 11. Security video from one of the robberies showed a man in a mask under a hooded sweatshirt, with only his eyes visible; that image was widely circulated 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 bureau that connected the July 9 killing of the homeless man near a string of four robberies to the killings in Orange County. The federal agency brought that investigation to his office. Riverside County and San Bernardino County prosecutors 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 more robberies that were not included in the crimes made public upon their arrest Friday.
Meanwhile, L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón said he expects cases in the county to be presented to him for prosecution.
“We applaud the hard work and dedication of our law enforcement partners throughout Southern California who arrested these dangerous individuals,” Gascón said. “While the crimes which occurred in Los Angeles have not yet been presented to us, we fully expect that they will be presented to our office.”
Law enforcement sources said evidence recovered in one of the Orange County robberies connects it to the four July 9 robberies at two 7-Elevens and two doughnut shops that police were investigating in the San Fernando Valley, as well as the killing of an unhoused man near one of those scenes.
The armed robberies occurred over about 1½ hours early that day in North Hills, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Detectives determined that the series of crimes was “linked” to the shooting of a man in the head in the 16100 block of Parthenia Street, police said, adding that detectives also connected it to the Orange County robberies.
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