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Night Stalker Suspect Denies Saying, 'I Did It'

October 22, 1987|TERRY PRISTIN | Times Staff Writer

Murder suspect Richard Ramirez took the witness stand Wednesday for the first time and denied that he told the police officers who arrested him more than two years ago: "I did it, you know. You guys got me, the Stalker."

In a surprise move, the defense put the accused Night Stalker on the stand during pretrial proceedings in an effort to get the statements suppressed. Co-defense counsel Daniel Hernandez challenged the authenticity of the admissions, noting that the officers had not recorded them or written them down. Superior Court Judge Michael Tynan denied the motion, saying state law does not require that police interviews be recorded.

Wearing a three-piece gray suit with a red tie, Ramirez, who gave his first name as "Ricardo," testified that the officers "tried to ask me some questions" on Aug. 31, 1985, while he was in a patrol car and at the police station.

"Did you respond to them?" Hernandez asked.

Soft Voice

"No," Ramirez said in a soft voice.

Ramirez was asked whether he later requested an attorney after being read his rights.

"Yes, that's the way it happened," he testified.

Deputy Dist. Atty. P. Philip Halpin did not cross-examine Ramirez.

Earlier, Los Angeles Police Sgt. Ed Esqueda testified that Ramirez acknowledged that he was the Night Stalker after his arrest in East Los Angeles by a group of residents.

Esqueda said Ramirez told him, "It's me. You got me. I'm the one."

Asked outside court whether Ramirez would testify at his Los Angeles trial, set to begin Feb. 1, Hernandez said, "That's not a possibility that can be eliminated yet."

Ramirez is accused of committing 14 murders and 31 other felonies in Los Angeles County in 1984 and 1985. He is also accused of attempted murder and sexual assault in Orange County and a 15th murder in San Francisco.

Question Asked

Just after Ramirez was sworn in Wednesday, Tynan, in an apparent reference to testimony that Ramirez is a self-proclaimed devil worshiper, asked his lawyers: "Would your client rather affirm?"

Witnesses are given the option of "affirming" to tell the truth on penalty of perjury rather than swearing, "So help me God."

Ramirez's attorneys did not respond to Tynan's question.

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