Suspect charged in killings of LA homeless men and San Dimas resident

Shayla Girardin Image
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Suspect charged in murders of 3 homeless people, San Dimas man
The suspect in the killings of three Los Angeles homeless men and a San Dimas resident was officially charged with the killings on Monday.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The suspect in the killings of three Los Angeles homeless men and a San Dimas resident was officially charged with the killings on Monday.

Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33, has been charged with four counts of murder, one count of residential robbery and one count of being a felon with a firearm, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced. Powell also faces special circumstances of committing multiple murders and murder in the course of a robbery, as well as personal use of a firearm allegations.

If convicted of all charges, Powell faces a potential sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.

He made a brief appearance in court Monday but at his public defender's request his initial arraignment was rescheduled to Jan. 8. He will remain held jail on no bail.

Jerrid Joseph Powell made a brief court appearance after he was charged with four SoCal murders and his arraignment was postponed until January.

San Dimas shooting

Powell was already in custody for the killing of a San Dimas man during a follow-home robbery last week when investigators connected him to the murders of three unhoused men who were shot while sleeping alone on a sidewalk or alley.

In the San Dimas killing, he is accused of following 42-year-old Nicholas Simbolon, an employee of the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office, from a charging station in West Covina to his home. There he robbed and shot him, then fled the scene, authorities said.

Fatal shooting suspect allegedly followed man home from West Covina to San Dimas

Investigators say the suspect followed the victim from a charging station in West Covina to his home in San Dimas, then robbed and shot him in his garage.

Powell was arrested Wednesday for that murder after Beverly Hills police used an automated license-plate scanner to spot his vehicle, which was already subject to a law-enforcement alert.

Beverly Hills license plate reader used in capture of murder suspect

Police are crediting the capture of Jerrid Powell, who is accused of murdering three homeless men, to an automatic license plate reader in Beverly Hills. However, the technology is garnering mixed reviews.

A handgun recovered from Powell's vehicle was the same weapon used in the three homeless killings, according to LAPD Chief Michel Moore.

The first homeless killing occurred around 3 a.m. Sunday in the 800 block of West 110th Street, followed by another at about 5 a.m. Monday in the 800 block of East Seventh Street, and another at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at South Avenue 18 and South Pasadena Avenue, Moore said.

"It was chilling, and I've been in this work 4+ decades," said Moore. "The cold blooded manner in which he walks up and shoots this individual without any hesitation, no interactions, and then leaves that location."

According to the chief and the county medical examiner, the victim in Sunday's shooting was Jose Bolanos, 37. Killed on Monday was 62-year-old Mark Diggs. The victim in Wednesday's shooting was a 52-year-old man, but his name was being withheld pending notification of relatives.

On Tuesday, Simbolon was found by his wife inside his Tesla in the garage of the home, suffering from a gunshot to the upper body, according to witnesses and sheriff's officials. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

The sheriff said there was no known connection among the four killings, and no known relationship between Powell and Simbolon.