In the colorful and harsh history of serial killers, there may be none who were more debauched and the embodiment of pure evil than Richard Ramirez who came to be known as the night stalker. Ramirez carried out his grisly killings with such a bloodlust that he made killers who simply shot their victims look merciful by comparison. In every way, it is obvious that Ramirez killed for the sheer evil pleasure of inflicting harm on others and on causing human suffering, rape and mutilation of another human being. In all serial killers, there is an event in early life that turns an individual to a path of madness and destruction. For Richard Ramirez, it was the introduction of his cousin Mike to his life. Mike was a Vietnam veteran who had clearly become twisted by the war. It was Mike that exposed the young Richard Ramirez to hideous photos of rape and torture brought home from Vietnam. Ramirez became obsessed with what he saw and that early exposure to brutality along with the mentoring of Mike twisted the youth into he monster he would later become.
Mike also introduced his young cousin to drugs and murder when Mike shot his wife in the face for complaining about Mike’s lazy behavior. The murder sent Mike to prison but the fact that Richard witnessed the killing first hand only accelerated his path toward becoming a brutal killer. His love of drugs and the dark side of life became more pronounced in his teen years as he became involved in more hard drugs and developed a fascination with Satanism as well. It was a natural next step when Ramirez moved from El Paso Texas to southern California and became a petty thief and then became skilled at breaking and entering.
It was in June of 1984 when Richard Ramirez crossed the line into murder that would change him forever. While burglarizing the home of an elderly woman, he vented his anger at not finding anything of value at the woman brutally stabbing her multiple times. The blood that flowed that night excited Ramirez and he molested her body as well. This created a lust for violence, rape and mutilation that would set off the bloody crime spree that the killer would execute over the next several months.
The pattern of the murders carried out by Ramirez became recognizable and hideous. If he assaulted a couple, he often killed the man quickly by gunshot. He then took his time torturing the family engaging in rape, humiliation and physical brutality of the more heinous sort. In a relatively short time between June and August of 1985, the night stalker conducted a terrifying string of such murders throughout the Las Angeles area.
It took the brave help of Inez Erickson, who Ramirez had raped after killing her fiancé, Bill Carns. In a rare change of method, the Night Stalker left Erickson alive after the molestation. She not only was able to give police a description of Ramirez but one of his car as well. A neighborhood teenager became suspicious of what was going on and got the license number of the car Ramirez was driving and this was enough for police to find the car and then track down the vicious serial killer and arrest him.
The trial of Richard Ramirez took on some aspects of the Manson killings with “groupies” showing interest in Ramirez. When he was sentenced to death, Ramirez was defiant and unrepentant. Sadly, for his victims, this vicious killer now resides on death row in San Quentin Prison while appeal after appeal stalls his execution. Clearly, there is no serial killer more deserving of that death sentence than Richard, Ramirez, The Night Stalker.