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California

Man held in L.A. homeless stabbings is suspect in 2 more attacks

A homeless man who authorities suspect stabbed three Los Angeles-area transients while they slept and left behind rambling “death warrants” is believed to also be responsible for two other knife attacks in Santa Barbara, police said Saturday.

Courtney Anthony Robinson, 38, called 911 on Friday evening and surrendered to police about 8:40 p.m. at a Hong Kong Express eatery in the center of Hollywood, said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith. Robinson was “lucid” and was taken into custody without incident, Smith said.

Sgt. Riley L. Harwood, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara Police Department, confirmed that Robinson was being investigated as “a person of interest” in connection with the non-fatal stabbings of two homeless men in separate incidents on June 26 and July 1.

No “death warrant” or knives were left at the scene of these crimes, Harwood said. He declined to say whether the victims were asleep when they were attacked.

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In the LAPD’s jurisdiction, Robinson is suspected in the July 3 attack on a 56-year-old man at 3rd and Main streets in downtown Los Angeles and the stabbing Thursday of a 54-year-old homeless woman as she slept near La Brea and De Longpre avenues in Hollywood. Police also believe Robinson stabbed a man on July 17 as he slept on a bus bench along the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

In all three attacks the knife was left in the victim’s body, but none of the stabbings was fatal, police said. In one incident, the weapon was described as “a hunting knife.”

Investigators believe Robinson is responsible for the attacks in LAPD’s jurisdiction “based on the interrogation and evidence recovered at the scene from the suspect’s property,” police said.

Smith declined to discuss details of the “death warrant” that was typed, attached to each victim, and signed “David Ben Keyes.”

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The victims were targeted “for specific reasons,” Smith said. But detectives requested that he not discuss the particular reasons. “That’ll be presented to the district attorney and that’ll come out in court proceedings,” Smith said.

Police do not believe Robinson was related to any of the victims.

Smith would not discuss a possible motive for the stabbings, but said “no robbery was evident.” He said he didn’t know whether the attacks were racially motivated — Robinson is African American and the L.A. and Santa Monica victims are white. Harwood declined to identify the race of the pair stabbed in Santa Barbara.

Robinson was booked on suspicion of attempted murder and is being held on $500,000 bail, plus $31,705 in outstanding misdemeanor warrants, Smith said.

“Tonight, in Los Angeles,” the police commander said, “our homeless population will sleep a little bit easier knowing that this individual is in custody and they don’t have to worry about this madman running around.”

ann.simmons@latimes.com


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