Murder charges filed against suspected ‘serial killer’ in 7-Eleven robbery spree shootings
(CNN) — A man who authorities are calling a “serial killer” is facing charges that could lead to the death penalty in a string of shootings that left three people dead and robberies at 7-Eleven convenience stores that gripped cities across Southern California.
Malik Donyae Patt, 20, and his alleged accomplice Jason Payne, 44, were arrested Friday in connection with the crime spree that spanned multiple counties. Both men appeared in court Tuesday.
CNN is currently seeking to reach attorneys for both men.
“Malik Patt is a stone-cold serial killer,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said Monday. “He executed innocent people and he shot others and his behavior and the crime spree he engaged in, literally, I just got chills up my own spine.”
Patt is charged with three felony counts of special circumstance murder, two counts of robbery while armed, two counts of attempted murder, and carjacking, according to a criminal complaint filed in Orange County Superior Court Tuesday. The charges carry a sentence that could amount to the death penalty or life without parole, Spitzer said Monday.
Prosecutors say Patt killed a homeless man on July 9 after robbing a 7-Eleven store before fatally shooting two others in separate incidents on July 11.
Patt’s alleged accomplice Jason Payne, 44, is charged with two felony counts of robbery while armed and one felony count of attempted robbery while armed in the string of crimes on July 11.
Payne cannot be charged with the alleged murders involved in the robberies due to a change in state law on natural and probable consequence, according to Spitzer.
Patt and Payne are also suspected of participating in other armed robberies in San Bernardino and Ontario, Spitzer said, and are expected to face charges for those alleged crimes once the Orange County case has concluded.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Seton Hunt alleged during Tuesday’s hearing that the two men “were actively evading law enforcement” and attempted to purchase more ammunition following their robberies on July 11 and before their arrest on July 15.
Patt and Payne are believed to be neighbors who lived on the same street, according to the DA’s office.
The judge ruled that Patt be held without bail and granted Payne a provisional bail of $100,000, saying the bail amount could be revisited in the future as more information becomes available.
The pair’s arraignment was postponed until August 18.
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