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The Region

July 22, 1986

Attorneys for accused Night Stalker Richard Ramirez have filed legal motions asking for either a change of venue or outright dismissal of all 14 murder charges and 36 other felony counts on which he is scheduled to stand trial in September. In their court papers, the defense attorneys contend that the crimes have "aroused public hysteria . . . (and) fears in the Los Angeles County area due to their gruesome and seemingly random nature, with overtones of satanic rituals." The defense also contends that evidence presented at Ramirez's preliminary hearing was "inadequate" to mandate a trial. Deputy Dist. Atty. P. Philip Halpin, the prosecutor, said the dismissal motion is "ill-conceived," and added that he will oppose efforts to move the trial, "because L.A. County has the largest pool of prospective jurors in the state and it's a tremendous expense to relocate and to inconvenience the witnesses." Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dion G. Morrow set an Aug. 1 hearing on the defense motions.

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