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Ramirez Says He’s Innocent : --'Hail Satan!’

Times Staff Writer

Shouting “Hail Satan!” as he was led from the courtroom, Night Stalker suspect Richard Ramirez pleaded not guilty today--more than seven weeks after his arrest--to 14 murder charges and 54 other felonies.

Moments later, Ramirez’s new attorneys, Arturo and Daniel Hernandez of San Jose, said they did not hear their client’s comment as sheriff’s deputies ushered Ramirez, who was chained at the ankles and wrists, into a holding cell behind the courtroom.

But the stenographer in the court of Los Angeles Municipal Judge Elva R. Soper confirmed that Ramirez made the remark and said it is recorded in the official transcript of the proceedings.

Ramirez, who is suspected of a series of night killings, robberies, burglaries and sexual attacks, mainly in the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys, has long had a fascination with devil worship, according to court records and interviews with friends and acquaintances.

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An inverted pentagram, a five-pointed star that some believe to be associated with satanic rituals, was found scrawled on the walls of some of the victims’ homes, according to authorities.

Before Ramirez entered his pleas, Soper allowed him to discharge his former attorney, Joseph Gallegos of Oxnard, and substitute the Hernandezes, who are not related. At a hearing two days ago, Soper had questioned the Hernandezes’ qualifications.


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