Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Justices Uphold Night Stalker Convictions, Death Sentence

The Associated Press

May 30, 2007

The Supreme Court refused to review the convictions and death sentence Tuesday for serial killer Richard Ramirez, the so-called Night Stalker who killed 13 people in California in the 1980s.

The justices declined without comment to act on Ramirez's appeal. His killing spree terrorized the Los Angeles area in 1984 and 1985. Satanic symbols were left at murder scenes and some victims were forced by the killer to "swear to Satan."

Ramirez, convicted in 1989, is not likely to be executed any time soon. He still has another round of federal appeals to pursue, and the state's death penalty has been on hold for the past 15 months on order of a federal judge.

The state recently proposed completing a new execution chamber and requiring more oversight of prison officials in an effort to persuade the judge to allow executions to resume. Northern District of California Judge Jeremy Fogel said the state's lethal injection procedures were cruel and unusual punishment and asked whether the three-drug formula used was the best option.

More than 650 people are awaiting execution in California, home to the nation's largest death row.

The case is Ramirez v. California, 06-9529.

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