The Richard Ramirez preliminary hearing in Santa Ana Wednesday was continued again to Sept. 28, two days before his pretrial motions are scheduled to begin in Los Angeles.
Prosecutors said the dates are too close. "The defense lawyers say they can work it out, one of them in Los Angeles and one of them down here, but I don't know," Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. James G. Enright said.
Ramirez faces 14 murder counts in Los Angeles. In Orange County, he is charged with rape and attempted murder in the Aug. 25, 1985 break-in at the Mission Viejo home of William Carns and his fiancee. Carns was shot three times in the head and is still in physical therapy.
Ramirez, a 27-year-old transient from Texas, was identified by Carns' fiancee as the man who raped her. She testified that her attacker said he was the Night Stalker.
Longer Than Expected
Testimony in the Orange County case was expected to begin in late July and the preliminary hearing to be completed by mid-August. But prehearing motions, including an unsuccessful defense move for a closed hearing, took longer than either side had expected. The hearing was interrupted several times at the defense's request.
Prosecutors called their last witness Thursday, and both sides said they expected the hearing to end this week. But discussions on minor points took until Wednesday afternoon. Central Municipal Judge B. Tam Nomoto, who is hearing the case, begins vacation today and is scheduled to return Sept. 28.
Daniel Hernandez, one of Ramirez's attorneys, said the defense will call several witnesses. He declined to say that the Orange County hearing would end before Sept. 30, when Ramirez is scheduled for court in Los Angeles County.