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Nearly 21 years after brutally murdering 13 people and putting Los Angeles in a state of fear, the notorious Night Stalker moved one step closer to California’s execution chamber Monday. The death sentence for Richard Ramirez � nicknamed for butchering his victims late at night or in the wee hours of the morning � was affirmed by the state Supreme Court in a unanimous 104-page ruling. The opinion relates each killing in matter-of-fact yet horrific detail while rejecting arguments that included improper venue, tainted voir dire, jury bias and denial of effective counsel. The decision, authored by Justice Carlos Moreno, steered clear of any emotional pronouncements about Ramirez’s murderous rampage, which also included five attempted murders, four rapes and four sodomies. Instead, Moreno let the facts speak for themselves. Ramirez was arrested on Aug. 31, 1985, after an angry mob apprehended him in East L.A. For the previous 14 months, he had terrorized the Los Angeles basin, striking randomly and murdering eight women and five men in gory fashion. Some were shot. Others were stabbed or slashed to death. Some were beaten or strangled. One woman’s eyes were cut out. Victim photos shown to jurors were so repulsive that Ramirez’s appellate lawyers argued they were inflammatory and should be grounds for reversal. Moreno rejected that argument, even though he agreed the photos “certainly are gruesome.” “The photographs at issue here are gruesome because the charged offenses were gruesome,” he wrote, “but they did no more than accurately portray the shocking nature of the crimes.” Ramirez’s main argument was that he had been denied effective counsel. At trial, he insisted on retaining Daniel and Arturo Hernandez, even though L.A. County Superior Court Judge Michael Tynan found they lacked the abilities to handle any death penalty case, let alone one as complicated and high profile as Ramirez’s. Moreno had no sympathy. “A defendant whose request to substitute counsel is granted,” he wrote, “cannot complain on appeal that the trial court should have denied that request.” Moreno also slapped down Ramirez’s arguments that:

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