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Witness Curses Ramirez, Identifies Him as Killer

Times Staff Writer

Screaming and cursing at Richard Ramirez, a petite 31-year-old woman identified the Night Stalker suspect on Tuesday as the man who shot her husband in the head and then savagely beat, kicked and raped her in their Diamond Bar home in 1985 before making off with her jewelry.

Extending an open palm toward the defendant, her face contorted in anguish, the woman screamed: “You son of a bitch! Why did you kill him? I gave you everything! You bastard!”

Then she turned beseechingly toward Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael A. Tynan and repeated: “I gave him everything!”

During her tearful outbursts, the 23 members of the jury and alternate jury sat transfixed. After the woman regained her composure, she apologized to a stunned, crowded courtroom for her language.

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Earlier, when co-prosecutor Phil Halpin asked her if she saw her attacker in the courtroom, the woman pointed to Ramirez and said, “Him, the one in the red tie.”

Then she yelled at Ramirez: “Stand up. What’s wrong with you!”

The Burma-born woman, who is working on a master’s degree in medical technology, was the seventh and final prosecution witness in the so-called Night Stalker trial to identify Ramirez as her attacker.

It was hours after this attack, in the pre-dawn hours of Aug. 8, 1985, that Los Angeles County Sheriff Sherman Block disclosed the existence of a serial murderer in the county, touching off widespread fear throughout Southern California. Ramirez was captured at the end of that month in East Los Angeles.

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On the stand Tuesday, the woman said she awoke on the morning of the attack to a popping noise. Although she did not realize it until much later, the sound was a gunshot that killed her husband, who was sleeping beside her.

At one point, the woman testified, Ramirez laughingly told her that he had only “knocked out” her husband by hitting him over the head.

She said Ramirez beat and kicked her before handcuffing her hands behind her back. He then dragged her by the hair, with her bleeding from the nose and mouth, to a guest bedroom, where he raped her.

Through it all, she testified, Ramirez--a self-proclaimed devil worshiper--called her numerous obscenities and made her swear upon Satan that she would not scream for help. She said he also threatened to kill her and her two boys, aged 3 and 10 weeks at the time.

During parts of the ordeal, she said, Ramirez also gagged and blindfolded her, and repeatedly ordered her not to look at him. But she said she got a good look at him anyway.

During the attack, the woman said, her 3-year-old son woke up, yelling: “Mama! Mama!”

Fearing that Ramirez would hurt him, the woman said she begged Ramirez to allow her to go to her son’s room. He did. She was still naked and had her hands cuffed behind her, she said.

The witness said she lay down beside the child, put her head on his shoulder and lulled him back to sleep. The couple’s infant slept through the attack in his crib in their bedroom.

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Later, the woman testified, her older child reawakened and came out of his room looking for her. She said Ramirez tied him up on the bed and put large sofa pillows over his head--causing the child to yell, “Mama, I can’t breathe.”

She said he left her son that way and handcuffed her to the bedroom’s doorknob before leaving. The woman managed to free her son and told him to check on his father.

She said she heard her son yelling “Daddy! Daddy! Wake up!”

‘He’s Not Waking Up’

Then the child returned to say, “He’s not waking up.”

Eventually, by promising him lollipops and candy bars, she managed to persuade the child to go out into the darkness to summon the neighbors.

On the stand, the woman identified photographs of numerous pieces of her jewelry that police later recovered and linked to Ramirez.

She gasped in shock as Halpin showed her--for purposes of identification--an autopsy photograph of her husband. “That’s my husband! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!” she sobbed, her body shaking as she buried her face in her hands.

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After a long silence, the woman looked up at the judge and asked: “What did he get out of killing him? He was such a nice man.”

Then, as she stepped down after 75 minutes of testimony, she calmly said to Tynan: “I hope you do good judgment.”

With the former Diamond Bar woman’s testimony, the prosecution case against Ramirez is nearing completion. Halpin said he expects to complete the prosecution’s case by late April.

Ramirez’s lawyers have not disclosed what their defense will be. The 29-year-old drifter from El Paso has pleaded not guilty to 13 murder counts and 30 other felony charges stemming from a series of night-time residential attacks throughout Los Angeles County.


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