Officer Says Eyes Of Night Stalker Victim Were Missing
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The body of an alleged victim of the killer known as the Night Stalker was brutally mutilated and ″the eyes were missing,″ a deputy sheriff testified.
Several spectators left the courtroom Wednesday as Deputy Russell Uloth gave graphic descriptions of what he found on March 29, 1985 as he investigated the slaying of Maxine Zazzara and her husband, Vincent, in suburban Whittier.
He was testifying in a preliminary into 14 counts of murder against Richard Ramirez, who is accused of being the so-called Night Stalker who terroritzed California last year.
Ramirez listened calmly and at one point leaned over, smiled and chatted with his attorney.
Asked to describe wounds suffered by Mrs. Zazzara,44, Uloth responded hesitantly:
″There was her eyes,″ he said. ″There was a lot of blood and disfigurement, and the coroner examined that area and the eyes were missing ... There were what appeared to be little indentations, numerous scratch marks around those eyes.″
Uloth, who examined the body with the coroner’s investigator, said the woman also had been shot and repeatedly stabbed in her bed.
Vincent Zazzara, 64, a pizza parlor owner, was shot in the head on a couch in the den, Uloth said.
The defense team earlier drew testimony from another deputy that a relative speculated the murders of the Zazzaras might be a Mafia gangland slaying motivated by narcotics dealings. But Municipal Judge James Nelson, who must decide if there is sufficient evidence for a trial, ordered the remark struck from the record.
Deputy Paul Archambault Jr. said Zazzara’s son, Peter, expressed suspicions when his parents’ bodies were found that they had been killed by the Mafia.
″He related to me at that time his father was involved in Mafia operations and that the murder might have come from narcotics sales his father was involved in,″ Archambault testified.
Defense attorney Daniel Hernandez pursued the line of questioning with Uloth, who said a son of Zazzara’s told him the victim had served time in federal prison. Nelson also struck that from the record.
The questions followed a defense pattern in which attorneys seek to show that others were responsible for the Night Stalker crimes with which Ramirez is charged.
Besides the 14 murders, Ramirez is accused of 54 other felonies in Los Angeles County - including five attempted murders, seven rapes, five acts of oral copulation, seven of sodomy, three lewd acts on children, two kidnappings, 19 burglaries and six robberies.
In Orange County, he is charged with eight felony counts in the attempted murder of a man and the rape of his fiance.
Police have said satanic symbols were scrawled at some murder scenes, and some victims’ bodies were mutilated.
Since the hearing began three weeks ago, the prosecutor and defense lawyers have had angry disputes in court. Nelson warned them Wednesday to stop bickering.
″I want you to try the case and not each other,″ he told them. ″Unless you are all very anxious to share the same cell, I would urge you not to use the court record to cast aspersions on each other. So far, the case is going very nicely.″