Sobbing uncontrollably on the witness stand, a Sun Valley woman Monday identified accused Night Stalker Richard Ramirez as the man who shot and killed her husband and then proceeded to sexually assault her and her 8-year-old son last July.
“I see him in my house, I see him in a picture, I see him on television--everywhere,” the 29-year-old woman declared, after a 10-minute recess to allow her to regain her composure.
Later in the day, another woman, shot in the head in her Northridge home, identified Ramirez as her assailant.
The women were the fourth and fifth surviving victims of alleged Night Stalker attacks to identify the 26-year-old drifter from El Paso in court as their assailant.
With Ramirez’s preliminary hearing now in its seventh week, 102 prosecution witnesses have testified so far about the 14 murders and 54 other felonies that Ramirez is accused of committing in Los Angeles County in 1984 and 1985. He is also charged with shootings in Orange County and San Francisco.
In her testimony Monday, the Sun Valley woman told of being awakened as she dozed in her living room early last July 20 by “a tall man . . . with a gun” who entered through an open sliding glass door.
“He just pointed the gun on my head,” she said tersely. “He just said, ‘Bitch, shut up.’ ”
The intruder walked down the hallway into her husband’s bedroom, and then, she said, “I heard a gunshot.”
“He came right out and tell me I kill your husband already . . .” said the woman, speaking with a thick foreign accent. “He said if you don’t do what I tell you, I’ll kill your children.”
She testified that the intruder then beat her, pulled off her clothes and bound her hands. At that point in her testimony, she burst into tears, prompting Los Angeles Municipal Judge James F. Nelson to declare a recess.
Returning to the witness stand later, she told of sexual attacks on her and her son. She said the assailant, who went to the kitchen and sipped apple juice between attacks, raped her on the bedroom floor as her dead husband’s body lay nearby on the bed. The woman’s 2-year-old daughter slept through the entire incident and was not harmed.
Pointing toward Ramirez at the defense table, the woman identified him as her attacker. She had previously identified him during a police lineup after his arrest. Rings, necklaces and earrings taken in the attack were also identified by the woman on the night of Ramirez’s police lineup at County Jail. The items had been confiscated by authorities after Ramirez’s arrest in East Los Angeles last August.
In other court testimony Monday, Virginia Petersen, 27, said that she and her husband, Christopher, 38, were awakened in the bedroom of their Northridge home in the middle of the night last Aug. 6 by a man with a gun.
“I started to scream . . . get out of my house,” she recalled. "(He) said, ‘Shut up, bitch, where is it?’ ”
Seconds later, Mrs. Petersen recalled, he fired the weapon and she saw “a red flash” and felt her face go numb. She was shot in the face. Her husband was then shot in the head, she said, but was able to rise and chase the intruder, who fled down the hallway. Both Petersens survived the shooting.
Asked if her attacker was in the courtroom, Mrs. Petersen said, “He’s the gentleman sitting over there in the blue jump suit,” nodding in Ramirez’s direction.