|Image attribution: By San Quentin State Prison, California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation () [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons|
Between June of 1984 and August of 1985, residents of San Fransisco and Los Angeles were terrorized by a man the media dubbed 'The Night Stalker'. He would enter his victim's house in the dead of night, dressed all in black, targeting people of both genders and all ages. He attacked with unimaginable levels of ferocity, varying the weapons used, but generally favouring a gun. The men were usually shot, whilst the females would be tied up and raped. Sometimes, The Night Stalker would let the women go (for whatever reason). But on other occasions they were not so lucky. To add insult to injury, The Night Stalker would sometimes burgle his victims as well.
One of the females that the Night Stalker decided to let go managed to get a good look at him. Also, her 13-year-old neighbour had noticed a man acting suspiciously in the area. The observant adolescent managed to write down a partial license plate as well as a description of the suspect's vehicle.
The aforementioned vehicle was soon located and a single fingerprint was found on the car's rear-view mirror (despite The Night Stalker's best efforts to wipe the car down). The fingerprint belonged to a known felon by the name of Richard Ramirez. Police released Ramirez's photo to the media. Suddenly, The Night Stalker had a face and a name.
Ramirez was soon spotted in an East Los Angeles neighbourhood, whilst trying to steal a vehicle. A mob of angry citizens banded together and detained him until police arrived. On September 20, 1989, Richard Ramirez was found guilty of 13 counts of murder, 5 counts of attempted murder, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries. He was sentenced to die in California's gas chambers.
As a child, Ramirez had taken to sleeping in a cemetery in an effort to escape from his violent and abusive father. He also developed something of a drug problem, starting with glue sniffing at the tender age of 7, before moving on to marijuana at 10, and LSD, PCP, and cocaine by his adult years.
Also, at the age of 13, Ramirez witnessed his older cousin shoot his wife. Richard Ramirez was standing close enough that he got covered in the poor woman's blood. Quite understandably, after this he became sullen and withdrawn. He took to stalking and killing animals. He enjoyed watching horror movies, and developed something of an obsession with Satanism. He started to skip more school classes than he attended.
At the age of 15, Ramirez managed to find himself some work at a motel. But he was soon fired after he tied up a female guest and started to rape her. The husband returned and beat the teenager. No charges were ever filed as the couple were from out of town and wanted to move on ASAP.
Ramirez went to live with his aunt and her husband. Unfortunately, the husband happened to be an avid peeping Tom. He would regularly take Richard Ramirez out for a night of voyeurism. It is likely that this served to increase the frequency and intensity of Ramirez's violent sexual fantasies (a large number of serial killers experimented with voyeurism before moving on to murder, including America's most notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy).
When he was 22, Ramirez moved to California, where he made a living through drug dealing and burglary. A couple of years later, he would begin the murder spree that would shock a nation.
Richard Ramirez died on June 7, 2013 of liver failure, whilst still awaiting execution. During his incarceration, he received lots of sexually explicit 'fanmail' from love-struck females. One of these women was a freelance magazine editor by the name of Doreen Liog. In 1996, Richard Ramirez and Doreen Liog married. She described him as being kind and charming.
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