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‘Night Stalker’ Jury Breaks for Weekend

Jurors deliberating the fate of convicted “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez broke for the weekend Friday without reaching agreement on whether to recommend that he die in San Quentin’s gas chamber or be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The Los Angeles Superior Court jury must decide between the two alternatives during the penalty phase of the 13-month-long trial, after finding the 29-year-old El Paso, Tex., drifter guilty of 13 murders and 30 other felonies during a seemingly random crime rampage in the spring and summer of 1985 that terrorized Southern Californians.

The jury of seven women and five men began deliberations after listening intently to arguments by both sides Wednesday. The prosecution urged them to give the killer his “just deserts,” while the defense asked for mercy.

The defense--with Ramirez’s agreement--decided not to call any witnesses during the penalty phase, saying that would prevent the prosecution from putting on rebuttal witnesses, avoid putting the defendant’s entire life on display, and spare his family and childhood friends the ordeal of testifying.

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Deliberations are scheduled to resume Monday morning.


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