The serial killer Richard Ramirez had a loud and romantic nickname – The Night Stalker. He did not receive it from street punks but from journalists who published reports on his crimes.
There was something mysterious and ominous about him. The Night Stalker tried to match his crimes to the infamous reputation given to his name. His deranged behavior, boosted by the constant drug use, increased his desire to be recognized as a villain.
A Biography That Started With Drugs
The future serial killer, whose intention was to intimidate Los Angeles residents, was born in 1960 in El Paso, Texas. His father, Julian, was a police officer who immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico. The parents had five children, the youngest of whom was Richard Ramirez.
His father got a job on the railroad to feed a large family. It allowed him to make ends meet, but he had no time to raise the children. Julian often solved the problems with his disobedient children by beating them.
In his early childhood, Richard Ramirez had epileptic seizures, but over the years, they stopped. He grew up a weak and underdeveloped adolescent and was often physically and verbally attacked by other students.
Maybe that was the basis of his future hatred of people. Undoubtedly, we should add to this the harmful use of drugs.
According to the testimony of his former colleagues, Richard Ramirez began to use them at the age of ten. They played a destructive role in his behavior, especially during his teenage years.
Ramirez had mediocre success in school from the very beginning. He ultimately lost the ability to learn anything in the classroom by using narcotics.
Making Of Richard Ramizer Aka The Night Stalker
When uncle Miguel took him under his wing, the boy's life started to change. His uncle, a big and confident veteran of the Vietnam War, represented everything that the insecure boy lacked and aspired to.
Unusual excitement pervaded sixteen-year-old Richard when his uncle called him aside and showed him two photographs. One showed him raping a young Vietnamese woman and the other beheading her.
"You see, kid, this means having power. Never hold anyone accountable for your actions! ".
This was pedagogical advice that Miguel's protégé had never forgotten. Richard had heard and enjoyed Miguel's stories of crimes against prisoners, and he asked Miguel to go through them multiple times, getting into every detail.
His beloved uncle quickly showed him that it was not a matter of mere boasting. After returning from the hunt, they went for a beer at Miguel's house. After a domestic dispute, the uncle grabbed his rifle and killed his wife. At the same time, the unfortunate victim's blood spewed all over the face of Richard Ramirez.
Thanks to a skilled lawyer, who played the card of temporary insanity caused by war trauma, the killer received only a few years in prison. Richard Ramirez, on the other hand, learned a valuable lesson. He realized how thin the thread of life was. And how easy it was to cut it.
Undoubtedly, the incident had a strong psycho-emotional impact on him because after seeing it, he became more confident and soon dropped out of school.
The First Theft And Robbery
Since then, his lifestyle has changed dramatically. Richard Ramirez started spending all the time on the streets with troublesome teenagers of Latin American descent. Their laws and morals ruled there. Adopting the habit of his greedy peers, he gradually went into house robberies. He built a reputation as a thief, of which he was very proud.
According to those who knew him in those years, he wanted to become a professional robber whose photos were printed in the newspapers.
At this point, the beginning of his fascination with Satanism developed. Over the next few years, he constantly changed his residence, moving from El Paso to San Francisco and back. He was arrested several times - once for possession of marijuana, then for petty theft, but each time he was released without going to court.
It wasn't until 1982 that Ramirez spent five months behind bars for theft. He decided to get a job in Los Angeles once he got out.
After becoming addicted to hard drugs, Richard Ramirez had no job, made money stealing, rented rooms in cheap hotels, or just spent the night with friends.
The First Victims Of Satanic Magic
Although the way of life that Richard Ramirez led until then left him with no blood on his hands, his "inner demons" started reappearing.
His first victim was 79-year-old Jennie Vincow. That hot summer night, in June 1984, the older woman decided to leave the window open, which made Ramirez's job easier. Silent as a cat, he crept into her bedroom. As he listened to the sleeping woman breathe, his heart pounded. He pulled a large hunting knife from its holster hung from the waistband of his trousers. The blade flashed in the moonlight.
Jennie's body was found two days later. An autopsy showed she had been savagely beaten and raped, and her throat was so extremely incised that her head nearly detached. A pentagram was drawn on the wall of the bathroom with blood.
Another victim, who opened up the way to a long series of murders, was the 9-year-old schoolgirl Mei Leung. Richard Ramirez brutally stabbed her. In this horrific act, as in most of his later works, the action was not a selfish showdown nor a robbery aimed at exploiting someone.
It surpasses the typical human psyche in that he got a sense of satisfaction at the sight of the victim's blood, torment, and death.
Richard Ramirez's Victims
His next victims were two unarmed young men and a girl lying on a night street in Los Angeles. Richard Ramirez shot them with a gun. Luckily, the bullet came back from a set of keys, which the girl pressed to her chest at the last minute, and that saved her life.
She described the attacker's appearance at the police station, and a sketch was made based on her description.
There is no doubt that Richard Ramirez, like most serial killers, had been contented for some time with fantasies about the crimes he committed. The images, however, began to fade out in his mind. Once intoxicated by the power of deciding on one's life, he needed fresh blood.
Twenty-nine-year-old waitress Angela Barrios was returning home around midnight, after a hard day's work. She drove into the garage, and the moment she got out of the vehicle, she spotted a tall man dressed in black. When she saw the gun in his hands, she screamed. The gunshot in the garage sounded like a bomb. Angela grabbed her chest and collapsed to the floor. She was wounded in the left shoulder, but she knew that her only chance of survival was to pretend to be dead.
Richard Ramirez kicked her body several times, but the brave woman was perfectly still. Even after the attacker left, she dared not move. Angela was afraid of getting shot again and dying. She realized that her roommate Dayle Okazaki was not that lucky when she entered the apartment. She was in a pool of blood and shot in the head. The furniture was scattered, and the precious jewelry was gone.
The murder of Dayle Okazaki did not satisfy Richard Ramirez's thirst for blood. He attacked the same evening again, and the victim was 30-year-old Chinese Lian Yu. He dragged the unfortunate woman out of her car into the Monterey Park area and shot her several times. She died the next day in the hospital.
Three days later, he struck again. The victim, who was raped and then had her throat slit, was only eight years old. Panic gripped Los Angeles, and reporters called the killer monster The Night Stalker.
A grave silence answered when Peter Zazzara rang the doorbell at his parents' home that Sunday. Surprised because Sunday lunch had been a tradition for years, yet nobody answered. The young man reached for the key under the doormat and entered the house.
The sight he saw made him vomit: his father was lying on the floor with his head shot, and his mother's naked body was on the bed. A knife handle protruded from her left breast, and her eyes were dug out. This double murder caused great pleasure to Richard Ramirez, aka The Night Stalker, as he had attacked couples predominantly since.
Six weeks later, Richard Ramirez broke into the home of Harold and Jean Wu. He shot the husband in his sleep, beat his wife with a metal bar, and raped her several times. Bloody and half-dead, Jean had to repeat over and over that she loved Satan. Although she had a skull fracture, the woman survived and gave the police a detailed description of the attacker.
Richard Ramirez's murderous rage peaked in the spring of 1985. He carried out fifteen attacks in a month, leaving behind dead, wounded, and deeply traumatized people.
After raping and beating a six-year-old boy, the citizens' anger towards the killer could no longer subside. The Night Stalker group was formed and consisted of volunteers who patrolled the streets of Los Angeles at night.
Further Bloody Road
Feeling the taste of blood and being encouraged to roam free created even greater madness for the killer. Richard Ramirez started terrorizing the inhabitants of the enormous metropolis.
The daily morning newspapers were full of reports of his new crimes. He entered the houses of ordinary citizens, robed, raped, and slowly, with pleasure, killed them.
However, he deliberately left some victims alive, so their testimonies describing his sadistic fantasies created a more sinister halo around him. In his desire to become famous, he achieved his goal.
His name was on the TV screen and printed on the front pages of newspapers. "The Night Stalker" became a symbol of horrors.
Richard Ramirez supported this in all possible ways, leaving a picture of Satan's pictogram at the scene of his crimes. He drew one with a rose on the inside of the thigh on one of the victims he had slaughtered. It was on an eighty-eight-year-old woman.
Unsuccessful Police Efforts
To general outrage, Richard's victims were adults and children. It was known that in June 1985, this sadist terrorized a six-year-old girl. Los Angeles police knew they had to catch him soon, but the serial killer continued to rampage at large.
The matter was complicated because he chose different, random victims. Usually, such psychopaths focus on a specific type that allows the police to plan.
His sketch was shown on television and published in the newspapers. But it was all in vain.
Many Latinos were living in America, and identifying the killer from people's words was almost impossible. On top of it, the surviving victims had a hard time recovering from the shock of meeting the killer.
But soon, a turning point came about by accident. One of the survivors described the serial killer's car in which he went missing.
Determining The Identity Of The Killer
As the media reported extensively on his activities, Richard Ramirez decided to leave the city for a while. He went to San Francisco, killing a man called Peter Pan. Ramirez raped his wife and left satanic marks on the apartment.
He then returned to Los Angeles and attacked for the last time on the last day of August 1985. He shot 29-year-old William Carns in the head. He also sodomized and brutally beat his girlfriend, Renata Gunther.
Fortunately, the woman was sober enough to remember the license plate of the car the attacker drove. A few days later, the abandoned vehicle was found in a parking lot in a Los Angeles suburb. An investigation revealed that the car had been stolen. But luck smiled on the detectives again: they found a partial thumbprint on the steering wheel.
The Sacramento database had been updated just days earlier, so police got a perfect match. The print belonged to the petty criminal Richard Ramirez.
He was now in the city, and the police didn't present a sketch for the killer but actual pictures of him that were taken once he was at the police station.
Catching of the brutal offender was done with the help of publishing his photos. When he returned to LA from a short trip, he had no clue that his appearance had become known throughout the city.
On the morning of August 31, 1989, Richard Ramirez went to the store to do some shopping. The police arrived immediately and arrested him.
Wedding To Doreen Lioy
In November the same year, a trial took place, which sentenced the killer to death. Like all those sentenced to death, Richard Ramirez was put on death row, where he spent twenty-four years awaiting execution.
During that time, he managed to marry one of his many fans. The wedding took place there, in jail, in the visitor's room. After that, the convict behaved extremely defiantly. His behavior took unacceptable forms. In this regard, the administration has been forced to step up its detention regime. Richard Ramirez refused in every way to serve his sentence.
He died in June 2013 of kidney failure.
Disputing The Causes Of The Tragedy
His father, Julian Ramirez, stated that the main reason behind his son becoming a serial killer was the drugs and their devastating effects.
One of Richard's close acquaintances, who covered the same topic, mentioned the car accident he was in in 1980. According to him, despite Ramirez not suffering physically, his psyche was affected by the depression he experienced, caused by a friend who died in that car.
Probably both versions are attention-grabbing though they can't be considered an excuse for all the crimes he committed.
In general, the real cause should be sought in all life circumstances, as serial killer Richard Ramirez was a miserable man. Documentaries about him still circulate on screens around the world, making him infamous far beyond the borders of America.