Serial killer Richard Ramirez, dubbed the “Night Stalker” during a series of Southern California slayings in the mid-1980s, has died of natural causes after more than two decades on death row at San Quentin State Prison, according to the Associated Press.
Ramirez, 53, was sent to the prison north of San Francisco after he was convicted of 13 murders in 1989. The slayings and sexual assaults terrorized Southern California in 1984 and 1985 with reports of Satanic symbols at bloody crime scenes and killer who entered through unlocked windows and doors.
Some of the victims were shot to death, others were strangled or had their throats slashed.
When he was captured in August 1985, angry residents surrounded Ramirez and beat him in East Los Angeles after his attempted carjacking.
San Quentin State Prison spokesman Lt. Sam Robinson confirmed Ramirez’s death Friday morning to the Associated Press. Ramirez, admitted to the prison in November 1989, died Friday morning, Robinson said.
Ramirez had been taken from death row to Marin General Hospital, he told the AP, but it was not immediately clear when Ramirez was transferred.
The serial slayings began in March 1985 and continued through several tense months before two major breaks in the case.
In August 1985, Ramirez shot and killed a man and beat the victim’s wife in San Francisco, but the woman survived and provided investigators with a description of the attacker that matched police sketches.
About one week later, Ramirez was back in Southern California, where he broke into a Mission Viejo apartment. He shot and killed a resident before attacking the man’s fiancee.
The woman provided investigators with a description of her attacker’s vehicle. Police located the vehicle and found a fingerprint belonging to Ramirez.
His mug shot was broadcast on television and printed in newspapers, and Ramirez was tracked down in East Los Angeles just days after the Mission Viejo killing and attack.