Man charged with murder in Walmart bat killing

AP News

11/3/2011 10:45:50 PM - AP News

A homeless man was charged with murder Thursday for a baseball bat attack on a 74-year-old Lakewood man in a Southern California Walmart.

Richard Lawrence Kalfin, 47, was charged with murder with a special allegation that he used a deadly weapon. He faces 57 years to life in prison if convicted and remained jailed on more than $1 million bail.

Kalfin made an initial court appearance late Thursday in Bellflower Superior Court but did not enter a plea. His arraignment was postponed to allow special counsel to be assigned to his case, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Investigators say Kalfin grabbed an aluminum bat in the Walmart store in Lakewood and bludgeoned David Oakleaf during an apparently random attack Tuesday.

The store's security video shows that the attacker was in the store and had been wandering the aisles before Oakleaf entered, police said.

At some point, Kalfin took the bat from a sporting goods display and was walking along the aisles when he saw Oakleaf and attacked without warning, authorities said.

Oakleaf was repeatedly struck in the head and died at the store.

Investigators said it did not appear that Oakleaf and his attacker had ever met.

Kalfin, who has a 2005 conviction for arson, was arrested outside the store.

It was the second violent incident at the store this year. In August, police used beanbag rounds to subdue an incoherent man who brandished two knives at a McDonald's restaurant inside the same Walmart.