Richard Ramirez, the serial killer known as 'Night Stalker' who infamously claimed he was compelled by Satan when he mutilated and killed people in the 1980s, died from liver failure on Friday. He was 53.

Ramirez went on a killing spree between 1984 and 1985 that tormented Southern California residents. He earned the name 'Night Stalker' in the summer of 1985, when he climbed through the unlocked windows and doors of his victims and killed them with gunshots to the head and knives to the throat in the middle of the night. He sexually assaulted his female victims and stole things from their houses. California residents were urged to lock their windows and doors at night as Ramirez remained on the loose.

"If you go back to the old news stories, there were tips," recalled San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr. "Make sure your windows are locked. If you have a dog, put your dog out. It was a very anxious time in San Francisco."

In the most grisly of his murders, he gouged out victims' eyes and nearly severed victims' heads. Ramirez worshipped the devil, leaving inverted pentagrams - which are often used to represent Satanism — on the walls of some victims. And he told one of the victims who survived his gruesome attack to "swear to Satan."

Ramirez was eventually captured and beaten by California residents who recognized him as he tried to carjack a driver. The residents had seen his photo on news reports earlier that day.

Apparently, Ramirez was a symbol of evil to California residents and authorities alike. Chief Suhr recalled seeing Ramirez on the sixth floor of the Hall of Justice as he awaited trial. Ramirez "scared me," said Suhr. "He was in the window, just standing there, looking out. One of my brother officers just about jumped into my arms. Jeez, can you imagine that in your closet? If you look up the definition of evil in the dictionary, there'd be a picture of Richard Ramirez."

Ramirez's victims were both male and female and ranged in age from 6-years-old to over 80-years-old. At his first court appearance, the killer had a pentagram drawn on his hand and yelled "Hail Satan!" in the courtroom. The widely publicized trial was almost brought to a complete halt when a female juror was murdered during the final stages of proceedings. In the end though, the jury was able to move on and convict Ramirez of 43 crimes. In 1989, Ramirez was sentenced to death for 13 murders and a myriad of other charges including rape, sodomy, oral copulation, burglary, and attempted murder.

In response to his sentence, Ramirez told reporters, "Big deal. Death always went with the territory."

"The Richard Ramirez case was the most difficult trial I ever handled. It was an experience I will never forget, and I'm glad the ordeal is over," said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Tynan, upon hearing the news of Ramirez's death Friday.

Ramirez had been moved from San Quentin State Prison to Marin County hospital where authorities say he died of liver failure. Prison officials refused to release any further details about Ramirez's cause of death.