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The twisted path of Jerrid Powell, from jock to accused L.A. serial killer

Ruben Vives, Noah Goldberg and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES — In the days after Thanksgiving, authorities say, Jerrid Joseph Powell was cruising around Los Angeles in a $60,000 BMW shooting homeless people, striking three times in a four-day span.

The first to die was 37-year-old Jose Bolanos, who was sleeping on a couch in an alley in Vermont Vista around 3 a.m. Nov. 26. Twenty-four hours later, 62-year-old Mark Diggs was shot as he pushed a shopping cart in the Arts District. Then on Nov. 29, 52-year-old Shawn Alvarez was gunned down in Lincoln Heights.

Powell, 33, was taken into custody after a traffic stop in Beverly Hills the same day Alvarez was killed. His car was linked to a follow-home robbery on Nov. 26 in which Nicholas Simbolon, an employee of the Los Angeles County chief executive’s office, was shot and killed after pulling into the garage of his San Dimas home.

But more than a week later, much remains wrapped in mystery, including a motive in the slayings.

A review of Powell’s life highlights contradictions. A popular athlete in high school who later held down a job helping at-risk youths. Someone with a lengthy criminal record — mostly low-level infractions, though he also was convicted of a stabbing in San Bernardino. And a man who received a $700,000 settlement from the city of Santa Monica in a lawsuit he filed in April 2020.

Kelly Bayne said when she and Powell began dating in 2013, there was nothing amiss in his behavior.


The two had gone to high school together in San Bernardino and reconnected years later. He was the consummate boyfriend, Bayne said, kind and respectful. She even introduced him to her family, which was rare for her.

“He didn’t have any red flags,” Bayne said in a phone interview with The Times. “He was doing everything a good boyfriend does.”

She said that during their relationship he worked in Compton helping at-risk youths. According to Transparent California, a public salary database, Powell worked as a gang interventionist. But it is unclear exactly what he did, and city officials could not provide additional information.

Bayne said their connection to helping those in need brought them closer together.


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