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'Night Stalker' Richard Ramirez is dead at 53

June 07, 2013|By Kate Mather | This post has been corrected, as noted below.

Richard Ramirez, the "Night Stalker" serial killer who terrorized California with a series of break-in murders in the 1980s, has died, state corrections officials confirmed to the Times.

Ramirez was 53. He died Friday morning of natural causes at Marin General Hospital, state Department of Corrections spokeswoman Deborah Hoffman said. Ramirez was serving time on Death Row at San Quentin.

Ramirez went on a months-long rampage of sexual assault and murder that generated widespread fear throughout Southern California.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Richard Ramirez, the "Night Stalker"

In most of the cases, Ramirez entered homes in the early morning hours through open windows or doors.

Some of the victims were found strangled, others had their throats slashed, but most had been fatally shot.

Spray-painted pentagrams -- a distinctive Satanist symbol -- were also found on the walls of the some of victims' homes.

INTERACTIVE MAP: The Night Stalker's path

The killings led to an increase in the sale of guns, ammunition, locks and window bars throughout Los Angeles County.

Ramirez's killing rampage finally ended on Aug. 31, 1985, when he was captured and beaten by angry citizens in East Los Angeles after he tried to steal a woman's car.

On Sept. 20, 1989, Ramirez was convicted by a Los Angeles jury of 13 slayings. The following month, the jury voted for the death penalty.

Ramirez was quoted as saying, as he left the courtroom: "Big deal. Death always went with the territory."

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Jeffrey Callison declined to comment.

[For the Record, 10:10 a.m. PDT June 7: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Ramirez died at San Quentin. He died at Marin General Hospital.]

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