Richard Ramirez: The Night Stalker
Written by: ML
Edited by: Grave Reviews Staff
If Richard Ramirez or his moniker seems familiar to you, it’s because he has been featured in Season 9 of the American Horror Story as a villain. True enough, he was born in 1960 and has killed at least 14 people in just less than a year of causing terror in California in the 1980s.
Childhood Life and Influences
Ricardo Leyva Muñoz Ramirez was born and raised in El Paso, Texas on February 29, 1960. As a child, he suffered from physical abuse from his father. It was so intense that he sustained serious head injuries that led to his epileptic seizures.
To escape this problematic father-son relationship, he went with his cousin Mike when he was 12 years old. Mike was a war veteran who feels proud to show off his enemy kills. He showed pictures of his victims, women he raped, and other disturbing images. Mike even shot his wife in front of Richard.
Because of this exposure to violence, Richard was influenced of this brutality and became a heavy drug user at an early age. He even grew an interest in Satanism which became his reason for killing. As a teenager, he dropped out of high school and was arrested several times for petty crimes such as drug possession, addiction, burglary, and theft.
How He Became the Night Stalker
Mid 1984, Richard committed his first murder. The poor victim was a 79-year old woman who was sexually assaulted and stabbed in her own home. After that, a series of brutal killings followed. He murdered more than a dozen people and tortured many others. After nine months, he killed again. This time, it was one killing after the next, until he has formed similar patterns that investigators identified him with. He is even capable of committing multiple murders in different households in just one night of killing spree.
In the crime scenes, he made sure he left a satanic symbol which earned him the moniker Night Stalker since the murders always happen at night.
Most of his crimes happened inside homes since burglary was his expertise. Victims were often sexually abused and tortured. They were being convinced to believe in Satan and symbols were found in the crime scenes. Richard’s last few acts of terror led to his identification. He left marks, witnesses identified his vehicle, and was clearly described by a surviving victim.
Richard’s fingerprints were identified in the crime scenes and he became a most wanted criminal. In August 1985, Richard Ramirez did not know that his face was all over the front page of a newspaper. Unknowingly, he entered a convenience store in Los Angeles, saw a group of elderly women talking to a police officer and upon realizing what was happening, he quickly fled.
It was a game of chase until a group of bystanders caught him and beat him up. He would have been beaten to death if not for the police arriving at the scene and arrested him.
Conviction, Sentencing and Death
In September 1989, Richard was convicted of 13 counts of murder, 5 attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries. After two months, he was sentenced to die via the gas chamber but had been on death row for more than 23 years.
Eventually, he died from a serious illness and health complications on June 7, 2013 at the age of 53.
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