LOS ANGELES — A man suspected of attacking three homeless people in Santa Monica and Los Angeles was charged Monday with three counts of attempted murder, the District Attorney’s Office announced.
Courtney Anthony Robinson, 37, called 911 on Friday and said it was his face being distributed on flyers around the city, Commander Andrew Smith said Saturday. Officers found Robinson inside a fast food restaurant in Hollywood and took him into custody without incident.
Police previously described Robinson as a possible homeless man from Santa Barbara, who also went by David Ben Keyes, a name written on notes — referred to as “death warrants” — left at the three stabbing scenes. Robinson admitted to signing the notes, Smith said.
Robinson was charged with three counts of attempted murder with personal use of a knife and great bodily injury allegations, said Deputy District Attorney John Gilligan. Prosecutors will ask that his bail be adjusted to $3 million. He is currently being held on $500,000 bail.
Robinson is scheduled to be arraigned today at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Department 30, sometime after 8:30 a.m.
If convicted, Robinson faces up to life in prison.
Gilligan said three homeless people, two men in their 50s and a woman in her 40s, were stabbed in the back while they were sleeping. All three victims survived.
The first incident was reported July 4 when a 56-year-old homeless man was found bleeding with a large “hunting-type” knife protruding from his back near the intersection of Third and Main streets in Los Angeles. The man crawled 100 yards looking for help while the weapon was lodged between his shoulder blades, according to Los Angeles Times.
On July 17, another homeless man was stabbed in similar fashion as he slept on a bus bench at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Sixth Street across from the Main Library.
And on July 19, a homeless woman was stabbed in the back as she slept near the intersection of La Brea and De Longpre avenues, blocks away from Hollywood High School. Police recovered a black kitchen knife from the scene.
Smith said investigators believe Robinson might also be connected to the unsolved stabbings of two homeless men in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara Police Sgt. Riley Harwood said, however, that there were no notes and the knives were different in the Santa Barbara cases.
Most crimes against the homeless are committed by other homeless people, while crimes by outsiders have typically been one-time acts by hooligans in pursuit of thrills, said Neil Donovan, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless.
Serial crimes, however, seem to have turned into a trend over the past year, he said, noting the stabbing murders of four homeless people in Orange County, Calif. last December and January.