Richard Ramirez: Why was the 'Night Stalker' never executed? Serial killer hailed Satan during sentencing
SAN, QUENTIN, CALIFORNIA: Even after Richard Ramirez a.k.a the 'Night Stalker' -- who terrorized Southern California in 1985 -- was found guilty in 1989 of 13 murders, five attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries and sentenced to death in the gas chamber, he was never executed by the state. Before his execution could be carried out, he died of cancer on June 7, 2013. At the time San Quentin State Prison spokesman Lt. Sam Robinson told The Associated Press that Ramirez, 53, "passed away this morning." The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Ramirez died of "natural causes." No other details regarding his death were released.
Ramirez had been taken from death row to Marin General Hospital where he breathed his last. He spent decades awaiting execution, even though it was years since anyone has been put to death in California. "Cancer. Such an odd death. Instead of staying in a box for decades and decades, he only stayed in the box for a relatively short time. Kind of a blessing. More than he gave his victims," Laurel Erickson, a reporter at KNBC News, says in Netflix's upcoming docu-series 'Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer' releasing on January 13.
Ramirez's trial was the most expensive trial in California's history until the 1994 O.J. Simpson murder trial. Ramirez, who was a Satan worshipper, was unfazed when Superior Court Judge Michael A. Tynan pronounced the sentence. Wearing dark glasses, he uttered a rambling, nearly inaudible statement in court. “You don’t understand . . . and you are not expected to, you are not capable of it,” he was heard saying. “I am beyond your experience. I am beyond doing evil. Legions of the night, night breed. Repeat not the errors of the Night Stalker and show no mercy. I will be avenged.” He ended his statement with “Lucifer dwells within us all.”
Throughout his hour-long sentencing, he sported a grin on his face and rocked back and forth on his chair. That was not the first time Ramirez had referred to Satan. During his preliminary hearing, he appeared in court one day with a pentagram drawn on the palm of his hand and flashed it to reporters as he said: “Hail, Satan!”
"I am sure that generations and generations from now, the image of his palm with the pentagram and the sound of his voice saying, 'Hail, Satan,' they'll be there. It was pretty clear, even then, that we were in for a roller coaster ride as this wound its way through the courts," Tony Valdez, a reporter for Fox KTTV News said.
A month before being sentenced to death, Ramirez had also sneered at the possibility of becoming a death row prisoner. “Big deal, death comes with the territory,” he told reporters at his sentencing recommendation. “See you in Disneyland.” After his September conviction, Ramirez flashed a two-fingered “devil sign” at photographers and muttered one word - “Evil," according to the Los Angeles Times. Apart from this, he also left Satanic symbols at murder scenes and made some victims "swear to Satan" after entering homes through unlocked windows and doors before sexually assaulting them or their relatives.