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Uncertainty over whether Richard Ramirez would face trial in new slaying cases

Serial killerDespite the new investigation into Bay Area slayings connected to "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez, it remains unclear whether the serial killer would ever stand trial in the cases.

San Francisco police announced Thursday that DNA evidence had linked Richard Ramirez, the Southern California serial killer, to the 1984 slaying of a 9-year-old girl. Detectives this week took DNA evidence from Ramirez, who is on death row at San Quentin State Prison, and said they are building a case against him.

But officials have not said whether Ramirez would stand trial -- even if authorities find enough evidence to charge him.

Ramirez was long considered a suspect in the 1985 slaying of a 66-year-old man, Peter Pan, in San Francisco's Lake Merced district. The man's wife was also attacked but survived.

That attack occurred during the series of murders Ramirez committed in Southern California. After he was arrested, L.A. prosecutors charged him with crimes here, and he was found guilty and sentenced to death.

But Ramirez was never charged in that San Francisco attack.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the SFPD long considered Ramirez a prime suspect in the 1984 slaying of chef and restaurant owner Masataka Kobayashi. Again, no charges were filed.

ThumbforStalker
Ramirez was convicted in 1989 of 13 murders, five attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults and 14 burglaries. But, delayed by problems in getting him a lawyer and preparing the voluminous trial transcript, Ramirez's direct appeal was not heard by the California Supreme Court until June 2006. His convictions and death sentence were affirmed two months later.

Ramirez is continuing the appeals process. If he is charged with additional killings, it remains unclear whether authorities would take him off death row to face new trials. After Ramirez was convicted of the Southern California killings, San Francisco prosecutors decided not to charge him in the Pan case.

The unsolved case of the young girl's killing was reopened five years ago when Police Inspector Holly Pera recalled it from her days as a young patrol officer.

"That's part of the reason why the case was relooked at," Pera said during a news conference. "It's the type of case -- as a new officer, a case involving a little girl -- that you can't forget."

On April 10, 1984, Mei Leung was found dead in the basement of a residential hotel in the Tenderloin district, police said. Investigators did not release details about the slaying.

Police said Mei lived at the hotel with her family. Before her death, she and her 8-year-old brother were seen walking home from a friend's house.

At the time, Ramirez was staying at two hotels in the general area, said Deputy Chief David Shinn.

Mathew Gabriel, the DNA technical leader at the crime lab, said numerous items from the scene were tested, and one resulted in a "cold hit" when run through a national database. The Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) holds about 1.2 million profiles of convicted offenders, and arrestees from past felonies.

The DNA sample from the crime scene will now be compared with the new DNA sample from Ramirez to confirm the cold hit, Gabriel said.

--Shelby Grad and Ruben Vives

Photo: Richard Ramirez in 1985. AP

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Uncertainty over whether Richard Ramirez would face trial in new slaying cases

 
Comments () | Archives (37)

Can someone at San Quentin take care of this freak so we don't have to spend millions convicting him of more crimes?

Isn't the Times and it's anti-death penalty brethren proud? Here we have a mass killer who deprived 13 people of at least 260 years of life still in the news when he should have been cold and dead long ago. Hey, maybe we'll give him a trip to San Francisco now so he'll be able to see a few new sights in the SF Courthouse.

Let's enforce the death penalty. It's the right thing to do.

Why hasn't anyone put this rabid dog down for good yet? He should have been gassed 10 years ago.

Please do not spend tax payer money why is he waiting he should be executed. This man is killer has taken 13 lives and destroyed there families.

it's astonishing after all these years he still has appeals. even he is responsible for this child's death, justice won't be served. the death penalty.

death penalty... now SFCA>

Who cares about this turnip? I thought this guy was on death row for good. Now the higher-ups want to rehash this all over again, for what?? Leave him there! I do remember though, when he got the tar beaten out of him when he was caught in East LA trying to kidnap another young girl.

There is no point in spending the money to try a man who will never get out of prison.

I don't think they should take Ramirez to trial if the DNA proves he is the killer. Frankly, it would be a waste of money and he would probably enjoy the additional notoriety and the change of pace. They would have to take him off death row to try him and he would be staying in a county or city facility. He would enjoy all of this. I hope they close the case so that the family knows, once and for all, who killed their precious little girl, but a trial is unnecessary. He is already slated to die.

Why are tax dollars still being wasted on that idiot Ramirez, kill the guy already !!

There's no disputing his guilt, he has no remorse, instead he appears to be proud of his killings.

Our justice system is pathetic !

Rameirez should be executed today. What is the system waiting for? He's lived longer then he should already. But first, lets gouge his eyes out like I read he did to his victime.

Just fry him NOW.

While it may seem a folly to try the case, what happens if the 9th Circuit Court overturns his convictions? I don't think it likely, but it isn't impossible either, there are numerous instances of death row inmates being paroled when death penalties are ruled unconstitutional.

Are you serious? He should not be afforded another trial. He just be put down. I remember those years in Southern CA, as a teenager, and man was everyone in school scared to death. Charge him but don't let him out of prison, and put him down.

Do not spend our tax dollars on this. He needs to remain on death row. What will it prove if this goes back to trial and found guilty? He gets the death penalty??? Hello, he's already there.

Why is anyone on Death row still alive? Get it over with already.

I am not opposed to his continuing ability to appeal, because his conviction will never be overturned. However, what a ridiculous waste of taxpayer dollars for the government attorneys (attorney general or district attorney, it's all YOUR money) to waste their time compiling another case against him. Aren't there other criminals to pursue who AREN'T already in jail? The government apparently has money to burn.

Please don't waste any more of our money on this deviant. Just do us all a favor and take him out permanently. One 25 cent bullet should do the trick. That way you know you've solved the problem permanently!

i thought this murder had already been put to death.. BUT NO HE IS LIVIN AT THE HOTEL CALIFORNIA{ PRISON} THAT SONG IS ABOUT A PRISON. NE WAYS GETTING CABLE 3 MEALS OR MORE A DAY , FREE MEDICAL, FREE RENT FREE EVERYTHING. AND LOTS OF FAN MAIL. WHY ARE PRISONS LIKE THIS? FULL OF LUXURY? SOME PEOPLE DONT HAVE AIR CONDITON OR 3 MEALS A DAY. ETC BUT THESE KILLERS GET IT ALL. HE IS ON DEATH ROW. ACTUALLY ITS LUXURY ROW. FRY HIM AND BE DONE.

Why is this person even still alive?.. Funny how the law works sometimes. A sereal killer on death row, still alive several years later.. What, is he waiting in line to see when his turn is? Is there such a long line??... Ridiculous!!!!

Why would we need a new trial? He is on death row for 13 homicides. Why waste tax money? Is someone in the D.A.'s office looking for a pat on the back or for something to do? Do something else more constructive with the tax payers money, like actually carrying out the death sentence.

The state has too much money to spend on this case, he has been sentenced to death and wait to die old.
If he gets convicted again, then what is the point as he is already on the
death row, it is the waste of the money as we all pay tax for this
Execute him, so we do not have to carry out the trial on his grave !

Just put him to death and dont spend anymore resources on this guy. It is a waste.

No more BS.
Kill him.

It's been nearly 25 years and this moron is still alive...Take him to the prison yard and hang him...What a travesty of justice...He should have been executed 25 yeas ago...

 
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