Calif. serial killer Richard Ramirez dies

Mr. Ramirez yelled in court.
Mr. Ramirez yelled in court.
Lennox McLendon/A.P./1985

LOS ANGELES — Richard Ramirez, the demonic serial killer known as the “Night Stalker’’ who left satanic signs at murder scenes and mutilated victims’ bodies during a reign of terror in the 1980s, died last Friday, a prison official said.

Mr. Ramirez, 53, had been taken from San Quentin’s death row to a hospital where authorities said he died of liver failure.

Mr. Ramirez had been housed on death row for decades and was awaiting execution, even though it has been years since anyone has been put to death in California.

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At his first court appearance, Mr. Ramirez raised a hand with a pentagram drawn on it and yelled, ‘‘Hail, Satan.’’

His marathon trial ended in 1989. Observers wept when survivors testified.

Mr. Ramirez was convicted of 13 murders that terrorized Southern California in 1984 and 1985 as well as charges of rape, sodomy, burglary, and attempted murder.

The killing reached its peak in the summer of 1985, as the nocturnal killer entered homes through unlocked windows and doors and killed men and women with gunshots or knives.