`Night stalker' Richard Ramirez dies in US

Los Angeles, June 8 (IANS/EFE) Richard Ramirez, a serial killer dubbed "the night stalker", died Friday at a hospital in California, authorities at San Quentin State Prison said. He was 53.

Ramirez, who spent years on death row, died of "natural causes", officials said.

On Aug 31, 1985, Ramirez had to be rescued by police from a mob in the East Los Angeles neighbourhood that recognized him from a just-published sketch of the suspect in 13 brutal murders.

The murders were all cases of extreme sadism. The victims were attacked while asleep, some were shot, others beaten or stabbed and one had the eyes torn out.

Ramirez called himself a devil worshipper and at one of the court hearings he showed a pentagram he had drawn on the palm of his hand.

Other such Satanic symbols were found on the walls of the houses where he killed his victims.

On September 1989 he was convicted of murdering 13 people. A month later, a jury sentenced him to death, but the execution was postponed several times on appeal.

The case was made into a 1989 television movie called "Manhunt: Search for the Night Stalker" starring actor Gregory Cruz as Ramirez.




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