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Felon charged with killing 3 homeless men, LA County employee pleads not guilty

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The felon charged for murder in the shooting deaths of three homeless men and a Los Angeles County employee in late 2023 pleaded not guilty on Monday. 

Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33, was charged with four counts of murder and one count of residential robbery and a felon carrying a concealed firearm for a series of crimes all committed within a four day period in November. Since then, he's remained behind bars without bail. 

He was arrested on Nov. 30 for the fatal shooting of Los Angeles County employee Nicolas Simbolon on Nov. 28 during a follow-home robbery in San Dimas. While in custody, investigators were able to connect Powell to the deadly shootings of three homeless men across the county. 

"Our detectives worked closely with sheriff's investigators and our forensics services overnight. The result of their work has positively identified the handgun recovered from Mr. Powell's car as being the murder weapon of our three homicides," said Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore at the time of his arrest.

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The four shootings happened on four consecutive days spanning from Nov. 26 to Nov. 29. 

"Each of the victims were in an open area, be it a sidewalk or alley, they were alone," Moore said. "We believe a single individual approached each one and shot and killed each one as they slept. The investigators have gathered physical evidence as well as video images and we've identified this possible male lone individual as well as a vehicle."

On top of the murder charges, Powell also faces special circumstances allegations for murder during the commission of a robbery for fatally shooting Nicholas Simbolon, the LA County employee, on Nov. 28 during the follow-home robbery in San Dimas. The charges alleged that Powell personally used the handgun during the commission of the crimes, and that he had a conviction from an assault in San Bernardino in 2015. 

Simbolon, 42, was discovered by his wife inside of his Tesla in the garage of their home after the shooting. He was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering a gunshot wound to the head. Investigators say that Powell followed him home from an EV charging station in West Covina. 

In addition to Simbolon, the victims of the shootings were Jose Bolanos, 37, who was killed on Nov. 26, Mark Diggs, 62, who was killed on Nov. 27, and Shawn Alvarez, 52, who was killed on Nov. 29.

There is no known connection between Powell and any of the victims.

If convicted of all charges, Powell faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. He is due back in court on April 24, when a date will be set for a hearing to determine if enough evidence is present for him to stand trail for the crimes. 

Sheriff Robert Luna said that investigators saw a vehicle of interest on surveillance video that was believed to be connected to the crime in San Dimas and were able to spot the license plate number of the 2024 gray BMW 440i four-door connected after it was entered into an automatic reader system. Beverly Hills Police Department officers were able to use the information to discover the car near Santa Monica Boulevard and Rexford Drive in Beverly Hills and pull Powell over, leading to his arrest.

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