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Night Stalker victim had eyes gouged out, witness says

By
JAMES RYAN

LOS ANGELES -- A homicide detective testified Tuesday that a woman allegedly killed by a drifter accused of being the Night Stalker serial killer was found with multiple gunshot and stab wounds and with her eyes gouged out.

Los Angeles County sheriff's detective Russell Uloth, testifying at Richard Ramirez's trial on 13 counts of murder, said he examined the body of Maxine Zazzara, 44, who was found shot to death with her husband in their Whittier home March 29, 1985.

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Asked by prosecutors to describe the victim, Uloth said, 'We noticed that her eyes had been removed, that she sustained a gunshot wound to the temple.'

Uloth also testified that Zazzara, a lawyer who worked in Downey, was found with her pajama bottoms around one ankle, three stab wounds to the neck and cheek, a T-shaped wound to her chest and additional knife wounds to her abdomen and pubic area. A coroner's autopsy later found a second bullet wound to the neck, he said.

Zazzara's husband, Vincent Zazzara, 64, a retired investment counselor who operated a Whittier pizza parlor, also had been shot once in the temple.

The bodies of the couple were found by one of Vincent Zazzara's employees, Francisco Bruno Polo, in their suburban home, after not hearing from them for several days.

Ramirez, 28, a drifter and self-proclaimed devil worshipper from El Paso, Texas, is on trial in Los Angeles County for 13 murders and 30 other felonies. He is charged with a 14th murder in San Francisco and an attempted murder and sexual assault in Orange County.

The charges stem from a series of terrifying nighttime assaults in 1984 and 1985 in which a serial killer dubbed the Night Stalker broke into darkened homes and attacked his victims while they slept.

Many of the victims were shot, while others were stabbed or bludgeoned to death.

Ramirez faces a possible death sentence if convicted and remains in custody without bail.

Trials in the San Francisco and Orange County cases will follow the Los Angeles County trial.

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