Richard Ramirez was one of the worst and most terrifying serial killers of the last 50 years. Ramirez, also known as The Night Stalker, terrorized the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas from June 1948 until August 1985. His legacy of terror traumatized residents for years to come.
Like many serial killers, Ramirez had a troubled childhood. His father was a railroad worker who was prone to fits of extreme rage. As a child, Ramirez spent nights in the local cemetery to escape his father. Young Ramirez was also heavily influenced by his older cousin Mike.
Mike was a Green Beret in Vietnam and often talked in detail with Ramirez about his gruesome exploits during the war. Ramirez began using drugs very early on in his life. According to some, Ramirez started smoking marijuana around at the age of 10.
As he grew up, Ramirez began to use LSD and developed an interest in Satanism. Before dropping out of high school in the 9th grade, Ramirez took a job at a local hotel. There, he used his master key to steal from from sleeping guests.
Ramirez was fired when one guest came back to his room and allegedly caught Ramirez trying to rape his wife. The husband badly beat Ramirez at the scene before police arrived. However, because the couple declined to return to testify again Ramirez, the case was ultimately dropped. At age 22, Ramirez moved to California from his hometown of El Paso, Texas.
Two years after moving to California, Ramirez began his killing spree in June 1984 as the so-called “Night Stalker.” The murders that Ramirez perpetrated were gruesome and merciless.
But perhaps the most terrifying part was the random quality of the murders. Ramirez stalked his victims and singled them out completely at random for his unique brand of violence.
Most of Ramirez”s murders followed a similar pattern: He would break into a person or family”s house. Then, he would either kill them while they were sleeping or tie them up and rape them.
After he was done with that, he would steal the valuables from the house and paint satanic symbols on the walls. His weapon of choice was a .22 caliber handgun.
The media dubbed Ramirez “The Night Stalker,” and he eventually began referring to himself by the nickname. Ramirez told one of later victims to “tell them the Night Stalker was here.” After receiving a tip about a stolen car near the scene of one of the Night Stalker murders, police were able to locate the stolen vehicle and pull a fingerprint from inside.
The print led them to Richard Ramirez, whose prints they had on file after a previous arrest in Texas. Soon, Ramirez”s mugshot was plastered all over California. He was ultimately captured and subdued by a group of bystanders after he returned to California from a trip to Arizona.
Ramirez”s court proceedings were equally as theatrical. During his first appearance, Ramirez raised a hand with a pentagram drawn on it, yelling “Hail Satan.” Jail employees also overheard Ramirez talking about how he planned to kill the prosecutor using a gun smuggled into the courtroom.
Ultimately, though, on September, 20 1989, Ramirez was convicted of 13 counts of murder, 5 attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries. He was sentenced to death, but the sentence did not seem to phase him. “Big deal. Death always went with the territory. See you in Disneyland,” said Ramirez to reporters after the verdict.
However, because of California”s lengthy appeals process for death sentences, Ramirez was never executed. Rather, Ramirez died of complications of B-cell lymphoma in June 2013. He was 53-years-old, and had been on death row for more than 23 years at the time.
Throughout his court proceedings, Ramirez never once showed any sign of remorse or regret for the things that he had done. This might make him one of the most terrifying serial killers in all of human history.