Cops: Man Poisoned Homeless People, Filmed Reactions

The crime 'shocks the conscience,' police say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2020 5:06 AM CDT
Cops: Man Poisoned Homeless People, Filmed Reactions
Police say victims thought they were getting free food from a Good Samaritan.   (Getty Images/MS Photographic)

(Newser) – A California man is accused of poisoning at least eight homeless people in a crime that "shocks the conscience," authorities say. William Robert Cable, 38, and a juvenile male relative allegedly gave victims food laced with oleoresin capsicum, the main ingredient in pepper spray, and recorded them having seizure-like symptoms, reports KTLA. "These human beings were preyed upon because they are vulnerable," says Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “They were exploited and poisoned as part of a twisted form of entertainment, and their pain was recorded so that it could be relived by their attacker over and over again." Some of the victims were told they were taking part in a "spicy food challenge," authorities say.

Cable gave some victims other food and beer to entice them to eat the poisoned food, prosecutors say. Some of the victims were hospitalized after suffering "intense mouth and stomach pain," the DA's office says. Cable faces eight felony counts of poisoning, one felony count of inflicting injury on an elderly person, and eight misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, Fox reports. "The inhumane nature of the crimes combined with targeting a vulnerable population shocks the conscience," says Huntington Beach Police Chief Robert Handy. “The fact an adult criminal would involve a juvenile is even more reprehensible.” Police say they are now trying to identify additional victims seen in videos found on the suspect's phone. (Read more California stories.)

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