FILE-This 1985 file photo shows Richard Ramirez, center, know as the Night Stalker shows a pentagram on the palm of his hand in court. California corrections officials say convicted serial killer Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker, has died in prison. San Quentin State Prison spokesman Lt. Sam Robinson says Ramirez died Friday, June 7, 2013. . The man on the right is unidentified. (AP Photo,File) Purchase photo reprints »
FILE - This undated file photo released by the Los Angeles Police Department shows the booking photo of serial killer Richard Ramirez shown in Los Angeles, Calif. Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker, has died in prison. San Quentin State Prison spokesman Lt. Sam Robinson says Ramirez died Friday, June 7, 2013. (AP Photo/LAPD,File) Purchase photo reprints »
This photo released on Friday June 7,2013 shows convicted killer Richard Ramirez as seen in this June 15, 2007 photo in San Quentin State Prison in Marine County, Calif. California corrections officials say convicted serial killer Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker, has died. San Quentin State Prison spokesman Lt. Sam Robinson says Ramirez died Friday morning. (AP Photo/California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) Purchase photo reprints »
California serial killer Richard Ramirez dies
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Richard Ramirez, the demonic serial killer who left satantic signs at murder scenes and mutilated victims’ bodies during a reign of terror in the 1980s, died early Friday in a hospital, a prison official said.
Ramirez, 53, had been taken from San Quentin’s death row to a hospital where authorities said he died of liver failure. He had been housed on death row for decades and was awaiting execution, even though it has been years since anyone has been put to death in California. At his first court appearance, Ramirez raised a hand with a pentagram drawn on it and yelled, “Hail, Satan.” His marathon trial, which ended in 1989, was a horror show in which jurors heard about one victim’s eyes being gouged out and another’s head being nearly severed. Courtroom observers wept when survivors of some of the attacks testified.
Ramirez was convicted of 13 murders that terrorized Southern California in 1984 and 1985 as well as charges of rape, sodomy, oral copulation, burglary and attempted murder. Satanic symbols were left at murder scenes and some victims were forced to “swear to Satan” by the killer, who entered homes through unlocked windows and doors. Ramirez was finally run down and beaten in 1985 by residents of an East Los Angeles neighborhood while attempting a carjacking. They recognized him because his picture had appeared that day in the news media.
The trial of Ramirez took a year, but the entire case which was bogged down in pretrial motions and appeals lasted four years, one of the longest criminal cases in U.S. history.
Because of the notoriety of the case, more than 1,600 prospective jurors were called. After his conviction, Ramirez flashed a two-fingered “devil sign” to photographers and muttered a single word: “Evil.”
Texas actress arrested in ricin letters cases
DALLAS (AP) — A pregnant Texas actress who told FBI agents her husband had sent ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been arrested for allegedly sending the letters herself, law enforcement officials said Friday. It was not immediately clear what charges would be filed against Shannon Guess Richardson of New Boston, Texas, a mother of five who has played bit roles in television shows. Two U.S. law enforcement officials confirmed her arrest to The Associated Press but spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly during the ongoing investigation.
FBI agents wearing hazardous material suits were seen going in and out of her house Wednesday in New Boston, about 150 miles northeast of Dallas near the Oklahoma and Arkansas borders. Officials have said the search was initiated after Richardson contacted the FBI and implicated her husband, Nathaniel Richardson.
Roadside bomb kills three policemen in Pakistan
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Police say a roadside bomb targeting police has killed three officers and wounded another in northwestern Pakistan. Senior police officer Shafiullah Khan says the dead and injured officers were guarding a key road on the outskirts of Peshawar city when the bomb hit them Thursday evening.
Militants routinely target police and security forces in Pakistan. This latest attack came a day after the country’s new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was sworn in.
Sharif has called for holding peace talks with Pakistani Taliban. He has also opposed U.S. drone attacks in Pakistani tribal regions bordering Afghanistan. There was no claim of responsibility for Thursday’s bombing. Peshawar is the capital of troubled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Pakistani security forces have carried out several offensives against Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups there.
500 years later, theological debate simmers
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The debate over the Christian concept of Calvinism is about 500 years old. That’s not stopping it from causing division in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.
Calvinism is named for the 16th-century theologian John Calvin. Among other things, it teaches that Jesus died only for those who have been elected by God for salvation. That idea does not sit well with many Southern Baptists, who believe Jesus died for the whole world.
Some Calvinists believe that professors on their side have been forced out of positions at seminaries controlled by the Southern Baptist Convention.
Convention leaders say there is room for both sides and recently issued a statement trying to unite the factions ahead of their annual meeting next week in Texas.