‘Enjoyed Killing People,’ Ramirez Allegedly Said

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Times Staff Writer

Accused Night Stalker Richard Ramirez boasted to a jailer that he was a “super-criminal” who killed 20 people in California and enjoyed watching them die, according to newly unsealed testimony from Ramirez’s preliminary hearing.

“I love to kill people. I love watching people die. I would shoot them in the head and then they would wiggle and squirm all over the place and then just stop or cut them with a knife and watch the face turn real white,” Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Ellis said Ramirez told him. “I love all that blood.”

Ellis’ hair-raising account was presented in a closed court session Tuesday just before the conclusion of Ramirez’s nine-week preliminary hearing.


After the courtroom was reopened, both the prosecution and defense rested their cases. Then, Los Angeles Municipal Judge James F. Nelson ordered Ramirez, 26, to stand trial on 14 murder charges and 36 other felony counts stemming from a series of grisly attacks across Los Angeles County last year.

The transcript of Ellis’ statement was unsealed Thursday, one day after the court made public earlier testimony from two police officers regarding admissions made by Ramirez shortly after his arrest last Aug. 31. The officers testified that Ramirez admitted that he was the feared serial killer and that he asked for a gun to play Russian roulette with because, Ramirez allegedly said, “I would rather die than spend the rest of my life in prison.”

Defense attorney Arturo Hernandez maintained Wednesday that his client denies having made the statements either to the police officers or his jailers. But, Hernandez added, rather than fighting the allegations at the preliminary hearing--in which the prosecution needed only demonstrate a strong suspicion of guilt--Ramirez will wait and contest the allegations at his trial, where guilt must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to the newly unsealed transcript, Ellis testified that Ramirez made his rambling admissions last Oct. 10 as Ellis, who said he was assigned to “the special Ramirez watch,” sat outside the defendant’s cell at Los Angeles County Jail.

Ramirez, Ellis testified, spoke to him for about half an hour while the jailer listened without responding.

“He stated that he killed 20 people in California, that he was a super-criminal, that no one could catch him until he ------ up. He left one fingerprint behind, and that’s how they caught him.


“He made the statement that he went to San Francisco and killed Peter Pan. He stated he waited outside their house by the garage, waited until it was dark. . . . He said he went upstairs . . . saw two people lying there and the statement he made was, ‘Boom. Boom. I did them in.’ ”

According to Ellis, Ramirez also told him that he could have killed 10 police officers and sheriff’s deputies and that the next time “no one” will get away.

Ellis, in a report he wrote about the conversation, said Ramirez told him: “I would do someone in and then take a camera and set the timer so I could sit them up next to me and take our pictures together.” Ramirez also admitted, Ellis testified, that “he told one lady one time to give him all her money. She said no. He stated then I cut her and pulled her eyes out.”

Among the 14 murders for which Ramirez will be tried is the March, 1985, shooting and stabbing death of Maxine Zazzara of Whittier, whose mutilated body was discovered in her bedroom with her eyes gouged out. During graphic testimony on the Zazzara murder, Ramirez looked on in court with a wide grin.

Ramirez is also accused by San Francisco authorities of the August, 1985, murder of Peter Pan, 66, who, along with his wife, was found shot in the head.

Ellis said that Ramirez made his admissions after complaining for several minutes that his dinner had been drugged. Ramirez ate a portion of the meal but dumped the rest in the toilet, saying, “I could smell the drugs in it.”


Judge Nelson ruled that Ellis’ testimony was admissible as evidence in the case. He also admitted as evidence the testimony of a second jailer, Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Anderson, who said in closed court that Ramirez recently gave him a postcard to mail to an old friend who had testified for the prosecution. The postcard addressed to Ramirez’s former roommate, Earl Gregg of Lompoc, included a picture of a scorpion, a drawing of a pentagram and a threatening poem, according to testimony from Deputy Dist. Atty. P. Philip Halpin.