Eder Giovanni Herrera, Once Held for 2 Killings Pinned to Izzy Ocampo, Still a Possible Suspect
See the update at the end of the next page on the DA saying Eder Herrera is still being investigated for the murders of his mother and brother.
ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 3, 12:56 P.M.: The lawyer for a man who sat in Orange County Jail for three months after being arrested for the murders of his mother and brother--and that were later blamed on presumed serial killer Itzcoatl Ocampo--is seeking "justice" for his client.
Pasadena-based lawyer John Burton has sent a letter to Senior Deputy District Attorney Susan A. Price that accuses her office of having denied "closure" to Eder Giovanni Herrera by continuing to treat him as a "suspect" despite his "false arrest" by Brea police.
See also: Raquel Estrada and Juan Herrera, 2011 OC Homicides Nos. 55-56: Victims' Son and Brother is Suspect Itzcoatl "Izzy" Ocampo, Accused Serial Killer of Six Orange Countians, to Face Death Penalty Sources: Itzcoatl Ocampo Died After Eating Ajax in His Single-Man Cell
Raquel Estrada, 53, was stabbed more than 30 times in her upper body and her 34-year-old son Juan Herrera was stabbed more than 60 times before their bodies were left on the floor of their Yorba Linda home on Oct. 25, 2011.
Two days later, Estrada's other son, Eder Giovanni Herrera, who was 24 and another resident of the same home, was arrested by Brea cops for the murders after a traffic stop. (The Brea Police Department patrolled Yorba Linda under contract at the time.) The Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) later charged Herrera with two counts of murder, and his bail was set at $2 million.
At a May 2012 press conference, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced he would seek the death penalty for Ocampo and delivered this bombshell: the presumed serial killer was not only tied to the fatal stabbings of four homeless men through Jan. 13 of that same year but that his first known alleged slayings were of Estrada and Juan Herrera.
Rackauckas revealed Eder Herrera had been released from Orange County Jail at that time but that he could be re-arrested if the investigation revealed he had something to do with the murders of his mother and brother. Herrera's actions after the killings were "suspicious," according to the DA, who noted the murder scene was near fellow 24-year-old Ocampo's family home and that both had been friends in middle school and high school.
Burton's letter mentions that while Eder Herrera was behind bars, he was "unable to attend to family business or even the funerals of his loved ones," and, upon release, was turned over to federal immigration officials, making him another "victim" of the killing spree blamed on Ocampo.
"Following Eder's release from custody he was followed by 'Task Force' officers working closely with your office," Burton writes to Price. "There were even warrants for tapping telephones."
Considering the apparent death by suicide of Ocampo while behind bars, the letter seeks the return of seized property belonging to Herrera and any evidence indicating why he remains a murder suspect.
"Now that the Ocampo prosecution is over, you and your office need to fish or cut bait," Burton writes. "Either charge Eder or release his property. Now, more than two years after his family was murdered, and with the accused perpetrator dead, Eder is entitled to live without a cloud of suspicion unjustly cast over him by those very public officials who claim to care so much about victims."
Neither Burton nor OCDA representatives were available for comment as this post was published but vowed to get back to the Weekly later today.
UPDATE, DEC. 3, 4:38 P.M.: Eder Herrera remains a person of interest in the murders of his mother and brother even though DNA evidence linked the fatal stabbings to Itzcoatl Ocampo, according to authorities.
"Law enforcement is continuing to investigate Herrera's possible involvement in the murders," said Farrah Emami, the OCDA spokesperson. "The death of Ocampo does not absolve Herrera of being a suspect."
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