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Here’s How An East LA Neighborhood Brought Down One Of America’s Most Notorious Serial Killers

In the mid-’80s, Richard Ramirez left residents of Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco paralyzed with fear. He entered the homes of at least 38 people through an unlocked door or window. He then raped, tortured, assaulted and/or murder his victims, striking fear into millions of Californians. This is the story of the man known as “The Night Stalker.”

From April 1984 until his capture in August 1985, Richard Ramirez claimed at least 28 victims, killing at least 13 of them.

Ramirez’s youngest victim was 9-year-old Mei Leung and his oldest victim was 83-year-old Malvial Keller. The connection between The Night Stalker murders and Mei Leung wasn’t discovered until 2009 when Ramirez’s DNA matched DNA recovered from the 1984 crime scene, according to the LA Times.

While Ramirez didn’t target anyone in particular, choosing his victims randomly, there was one common thread linking them: an unlocked door.

CREDIT: Inside Edition / Hye Nuv / YouTube

He would either access the home through an open window or unlocked door in the early hours of the morning while occupants were still asleep. Once inside, Ramirez would kill any males in the house before brutally raping and attacking the woman in the home. Some victims survived the attacks either by sheer will or because Ramirez inexplicably chose to let them live.

According to International Business Times, Ramirez used a wide array of weapons for his attacks.

During his killing spree, Ramirez used knives, a gun, a hammer, a tire iron and his own fists to attack his victims. In some instances, there were children who witnessed the brutal acts committed on their parents by Ramirez, according to International Business Times.

During the attacks, Ramirez would talk to his victims about Satanism.

CREDIT: Inside Edition / Hye Nuv / YouTube

According to International Business Times, Ramirez, who was raised Catholic, told one of his last victims to swear her love to Satan before leaving her alive but beaten and raped.

It was because of a 13-year-old boy that police began to make some headway in the case.

Los Angeles Magazine profiled James Romero about the time he encountered Ramirez. Romero, then a teenager, had just come home from vacationing with his family in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. He was up late the night they returned. Unable to sleep, Romero went outside to get a pillow he forgot in the family camper when he heard a noise coming from behind the house. He didn’t see anything at first so he started to work on his bike in the garage. That’s when he heard footsteps on the gravel walkway by the garage.

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Rosarito Beach, Mexico. Credit: desalination.biz

Romero told Los Angeles Magazine that he rushed into the house and went to his bedroom window just in time to watch a tall man dressed in black walk by. Romero was able to get back outside in time to see the man get into an orange Toyota hatchback with a chrome roof rack. He was able to get a partial license plate as the car sped off. He relayed the information to the police, who finally got a break in the case they needed. With this information, police were able to locate the car and get a fingerprint that traced back to Richard Ramirez. Police had a suspect.

But it wasn’t the police that caught Ramirez. It was a group of citizens that detained him.

According to Los Angeles Magazine, Ramirez was in Arizona visiting his brother when police released his name and photo to the public. He was unaware that the police were closing in on him and had already identified him as The Night Stalker

Image result for the night stalker la times
credit: LA Times

It wasn’t until he arrived in the Hollenbeck neighborhood of East LA around 8 a.m. on August 31, 1985, that he first noticed a photo of his face on the front page of a newspaper. The LA Times reports that Ramirez made his way to Hubbard Street, where he tried to carjack two women. However, the commotion of the carjacking caught the attention of the neighbors.

Night Stalker Crime Scene
credit: YouTube

Before he knew it, he was being chased by a hoard of people, who tackled him to the ground and beat him. It wasn’t until more neighbors started coming outside to see what was happening that people realized that they had captured Ramirez, according to the LA Times.

Image result for the night stalker
credit: LA Times

“He was saying, ‘Hey, let me go, c’mon, let me go,'” Julio Burgoin, one of the people who chased Ramirez down, told the LA Times. “I said, ‘No, you’re not going anywhere.'”

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credit: giphy

Police arrived and arrested the 25-year-old serial killer, taking him to the local jail where a large crowd of people surrounded the cop car and cheered for his arrest.

Ramirez’s trial took four years before he was formally convicted and sentenced.

It took three years before jury selection for the case began and another year to hear the case, according to Biography. During the trial, a juror was found murdered on August 14, 1989. However, it was proven that Ramirez didn’t orchestrate the murder.

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credit: The Orange County Register

The trial also became a major spectacle due to Ramirez’s wild outbursts and a moment in which he held up his palm to show a pentagram drawn on it to the cameras.

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credit: LA Times

On Sept. 20, 1989, Ramirez was convicted on 43 charges. Those charges were 13 counts of murder, 5 counts of attempted murder, 11 counts of sexual assault, and 14 counts of burglary. On Nov. 7, 1989, Ramirez was given 19 death sentences for his crimes, to which he responded, “No big deal. Death always comes with the territory. I’ll see you in Disneyland.”

Seven years after his conviction and sentencing, Ramirez married Doreen Lioy, who was a magazine editor at the time.

Lioy and Ramirez were married at the San Quentin State Prison despite her family’s objections to the marriage.

Ramirez died in 2013 as a result of B-cell lymphoma.

CREDIT: San Quentin State Prison, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Ramirez was at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, Calif., receiving treatment for the lymphoma when he died. It was also found that he had suffered from liver failure due to chronic substance abuse and hepatitis C.


READ: This Latino Serial Killer Was Once A Winner On “The Dating Game”

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After Tekashi69 Cooperated With Authorities Against His Gang He Now Fears Spending Time In Prison

Entertainment

After Tekashi69 Cooperated With Authorities Against His Gang He Now Fears Spending Time In Prison

6ix9ine / Instagram

Rapper Tekashi69 may have been sentenced to two years in prison last month, but he’s already petitioned the judge presiding over his case to serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement for fear of his life. Tekashi, born Daniel Hernandez, was initially facing 37 years in prison, for firearms, racketeering, shootings, and robbery charges. His cooperation in taking down his own gang, the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, reduced his prison sentence to two years. However, this means that Hernandez was transferred from a federal jail to a private prison alongside “various members of the Bloods,” according to Hernandez’s attorney, Lance Lazzaro, in a motion to modify Hernandez’s prison sentence. The term “snitches get stitches” is gang culture canon for a reason and Hernandez’s cooperation ensured the conviction of two Nine Trey gang members, a Bloods gang.

Now, Lazzaro is trying to get Hernandez out of prison by emphasizing that “Hernandez’s safety is still, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, seriously at risk.”

Daniel Hernandez, a.k.a. Tekashi69, hoped that his cooperation would warrant his immediate release from custody after pleading guilty to his charges.

CREDIT: 6IX9INE / INSTAGRAM

Judge Paul A. Engelmayer spoke directly to Hernandez in the courtroom last month when he told him, “Your conduct was too violent, too sustained, too destructive, too selfish, and too reckless with respect to public safety to make a sentence of 13 months at all reasonable,” according to The New York Times. Hernandez pleaded guilty to several shootings and robberies and appeared genuinely remorseful at his hearing. At one point, one of his victims testified about her experience of being shot by Hernandez. “I know I was wrong,” he reportedly said through tears. “I was weak. I was easily influenced. I can’t believe that was me. Again, your honor, there is no apology good enough.”

When Hernandez read his statement to the court, he spotted the father he hadn’t seen in over a decade in the crowd.

CREDIT: 6IX9INE / INSTAGRAM

Hernandez, 23, was giving his measured statement to the court when he visibly started to get emotional. Hernandez told Judge Engelmayer that he just noticed his biological father, who abandoned his family when Hernandez was in third grade, in the audience. The man confirmed and requested that he take the podium but Engelmayer told him that he “squandered” that right “many, many years ago.” 

The man and performer we knew as Tekashi69 has seemed to evolve during his court proceedings. Up until his arrest, Hernandez routinely rapped about gang life and his disdain for the law. Just one day after his arrest, however, he started “snitching” to the federal government on the Bloods.

The judge has described his cooperation as “game-changing” and “brave,” but it also makes him a serious target.

CREDIT: @ALMIGHTYJOKA / TWITTER

“As the court is well aware, Rolland Martin, a co-conspirator convicted in Hernandez’s case, was almost killed in a Bureau of Prisons facility, not for cooperating with the government, but for merely renouncing his membership in the gang,” Lazzaro told the court. Hernandez has not only renounced the gang but has “provided the government with critical insight into the structure and organization of Nine Trey” prosecutors stated in a court document meant to seek leniency in his sentencing. 

“Your cooperation was impressive. It was game-changing. It was complete and it was brave,” Judge Engelmayer told Hernandez during his sentencing, saying his cooperation “brought out the best in you, and you should be proud of yourself for it.” Since the government understands that Hernandez’s cooperation necessitates a lifetime of looking over their shoulders, his sentence has been reduced. With is safety in mind, he was sent to a private facility meant to provide extra security from Blood members. That very security measure may prove to be an obstacle in granting him early release into home confinement.

Now, Hernandez is seeking early release or to be transferred to a community correctional facility (CCC).

Credit: @ACAMBACANI / TWITTER

If his safety wasn’t a consideration, Hernandez would have been committed to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons until he was eligible for early release or a CCC. However, his cooperation with the government has imposed such a danger on his life, the Court sentenced him to a private facility without as much danger. Still, Lazzaro says that such accommodation has robbed him of the ability for an early release.

“Given the sensitive nature of his testimony as a government witness and his celebrity status, my client will have to take extreme measures for both the security of himself and his family for quite possibly the rest of their lives,” Lazzaro said, implying that a life sentence from a violent gang has already been assigned to Hernandez. 

Hernandez has declined the government’s offer of being placed in witness protection and says he wants to continue making music. In fact, just weeks before his trial, he signed a $10 million record deal. Today, he says he’s thinking of the children who have looked up to him to become an example of someone who can turn their life around.

READ: Tekashi69’s Undocumented Driver Cooperated With Federal Authorities To Avoid Being Deported

A Jury Has Finally Been Selected For The Harvey Weinstein Rape Trial And Gigi Hadid Is Out

Entertainment

A Jury Has Finally Been Selected For The Harvey Weinstein Rape Trial And Gigi Hadid Is Out

@Current_Knewz / Twitter

After more than 100 women accused him of varying degrees of sexual assault, Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial is now underway. The jury selection process began almost two weeks ago in New York State Supreme Court, where a diverse pool of prospective jurors gathered, ready for the opportunity to participate in one of the most intense legal battles of the #MeToo movement. However, the process of selecting an impartial jury proved difficult—while 120 prospective jurors showed up that first day, many people admitted an inability to remain unbiased, which ultimately disqualified them from participating in the trial. This pattern continued the following day, when 47 of the additional 120 prospective jurors were dismissed for the same reason.

This past week, one of the people dismissed was supermodel Gigi Hadid. Hadid claimed that she could be fair and impartial if selected as a juror, but her involvement in the Hollywood social scene gave Judge James Burke pause.

Credit: Jim Haffrey / Associated Press

According to a pool reporter inside the Manhattan courtroom, Burke read a list of potential witnesses, asking the potential jurors to speak up if they knew anyone on the list. Hadid raised her hand and said, “I have met Salma Hayek.” She also affirmed that she had met Weinstein before.

“I think I’m still able to keep an open mind on the facts,” she said. But Burke was not convinced, and dismissed her from the selection pool.

Although Weinstein has been accused of harassing scores of women, the trial addresses just five charges from two accusers. The charges include predatory sexual assault, rape, and a criminal sexual act in the first degree. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. Yet Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, and he maintains that all of the sexual encounters in question were consensual.

The trial is estimated to last until March, with two weeks of jury selection and eight weeks of arguments and testimony—all before actual deliberations are due to start.

Credit: Associated Press / Mark Lennihan

According to Weinstein’s attorney, Donna Rotunno, one of the major challenges with securing a jury was finding people who are able to commit to such an extensive trial. Weinstein’s defense team has also expressed concern with a perceived inability to locate impartial jurors in New York City—as a metropolitan area heavily tuned in to the media, Weinstein’s team feared that most prospective jurors have been following the case and forming opinions about Weinstein’s misconduct since it was first brought to light in 2017. According to CNN, Weinstein’s team made multiple attempts to move the trial to different cities in New York, where the likelihood of locating unbiased jurors might be higher.

On January 16, seven jurors—four men and three women—were seated. But that day, prosecutors accused Weinstein’s team of deliberately eliminating young white women from the pool of prospective jurors, as Weinstein’s lawyers had used half of their peremptory challenges to excuse prospective white women jurors who were not dismissed for bias or previously deemed unfit by prosecutors.

Why is this important, you may ask? Well, first of all, it’s illegal to use peremptory challenges to eliminate potential jurors on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity or religion.

Second of all, while lead prosecutor Joan Illuzi did not clarify why a lack of white women jurors would be problematic for the prosecution, legal experts said that the defense seemed to assume that jurors of this demographic were especially likely to sympathize with Weinstein’s accusers. So, the idea is that the defense tried to limit jurors of this kind in a strategic attempt to prevent even subconscious opposition to Weinstein during the trial.

Yet defense lawyers dismissed this accusation, citing specific reasons for rejecting each individual white woman and claiming that the remaining white female jurors’ responses to a questionnaire ultimately deemed them unfit to sit on the jury.

Rotunno said that the responses to the questionnaire that aimed to determine whether prospective jurors had experienced sexual assault (or knew someone who had) ultimately determined who would be a viable, unbiased candidate for jury selection, and that the defense’s resistance to seating certain individuals “had nothing to do with race or sex.” But due to the high number of women—regardless of race—who have experienced sexual violence, this stipulation largely diminished the number of women deemed fit for consideration at all. On the first day of jury selection alone, roughly 30% of the 120 prospective jurors stepped down for bias linked to personal experiences of sexual assault.

Ultimately, the final 12-person jury is comprised of six white men, one black man, two white women, and three black women. The alternate jurors, who will only serve if one of the first 12 jurors must withdraw, include a white man, a Latina woman and a black woman.