I noticed the other day that mass murderer Richard Ramirez, known as the “Night Stalker,” had his death sentence upheld in California
That doesn’t mean a lot in California, which seems very reluctant to put to death even the most sadistic and brutal murderers.
I remember the Ramirez case well. I was running the news department of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner when he was killing 13 people in a spree that terrified half the state.
In fact, I am the guy that dubbed Ramirez as the “Night Stalker.” Naming serial killers in California was a big deal. There were lots of them, so editors had many opportunities. Believe it or not, before I came up with “Night Stalker,” he was most frequently called the “Valley Intruder.” There was no way somebody called the “Valley Intruder” could terrify Los Angeles like this guy did. I knew I could top that one.
But there were serial killers like Ramirez – even in the land of serial killers.
To this day, I carry around in the deep recesses of my psyche scars from the graphic details of his crimes that no one should ever have to hear about.
Everyone knows about the 13 murders. There were 30 other counts – including attempted murder, rape and first-degree burglary – for the nighttime killings between June 1984 and August 1985. In one murder, for instance, the former drifter from El Paso gouged out a woman’s eyes.
That detail was released to the public. But no one in the media had the stomach to reveal what he did with the woman’s eye sockets afterward.
The guy was pure evil. At one of his hearings, he held up his hand and yelled, “Hail Satan!” He wasn’t kidding. He is and was a self-professed devil worshipper.
So when the California Supreme Court upheld his death sentence, it was no shocker.
But it still surprised me that this bloody savage is still breathing oxygen 21 years after he was caught. This monster is long overdue for the big dirt nap, don’t you think?
He is now 46. That means he was 25 when he did these crimes. I was 31, for crying out loud, when I named him! Now I’m 52. A lot of water has gone under the bridge. What on earth are California officials waiting for? Is he going to die of natural causes on death row? Is that what death row is in the Golden State – a senior citizens retirement home? Will I live to see this guy choke on fumes in the gas chamber?
I mean, how evil does one have to be to get executed in this country any more?
What does the death penalty really mean if it takes 20-plus years to get it – even for the most vile offender, one with, I’m sure I speak for most here, few redeeming qualities?
I guess it’s an improvement over my early years in California where Chief Justice Rose Bird refused to allow anyone to be put to death in her state. It finally took a successful recall effort by California voters to dump her and reinstate the death penalty.
Yet, justice is hardly swift there – or in most states in the union.
But do we really do the victims justice by prolonging the lives of these miscreants with endless appeals?
What about the families of victims who have to relive the nightmares over and over again, every time a Richard Ramirez makes a mockery of the judicial system?
Now that Ramirez’s case has gone to the Supreme Court, can we finally exterminate the vermin?