Serial Killer Profile: Richard Ramirez
Richard Ramirez, born on February 29, 1960 in El Paso, Texas, was dubbed the 'Night Stalker' after he spent part of 1985 terrifying the people of California with a series of rapes, abductions and murders.
Richard Ramirez's killing began on June 28, 1984 when he sexually abused and stabbed to death a 79 year-old woman whose home he had been burglarizing. However, Richard Ramirez's real spree started on March 17, 1985 when he killed one woman and then later the same day dragged another woman from her car and shot her dead. He had attempted to kill another woman that the same time he killed the first on that day but she survived and was able to give police an account of the attack. Two murders and an attempted murder by the same man in one day was bound to get media attention and Richard Ramirez was given the nicknames "The Walk-in Killer" and "The Valley Intruder".
Richard Ramirez was back on the attack on March 20, 1985 when he abducted and sexually assaulted a girl. On March 27, 1985 he killed again when he murdered 64 yea-old Vincent Zazarra and then stabbed to death his 44 year-old wife Maxine. Maxine Zazarra's murder was particularly terrifying as Richard Ramirez is said to have carved out her eyes after he killed her.
For most of April Richard Ramirez didn't commit any attacks but then he broke into the house of a 64 year-old man and shot that man in the head. He was about to kill his victims wife when the dying man scared Richard Ramirez away by somehow managing to call 911. The man died but he saved his wife in the process. A week later he attacked two women in their 80's. One of the women eventually died from her injuries and before he left their home Richard Ramirez drew pentagrams on the wall and on one of the victims.
During June and July Richard Ramirez went into the homes of three other people and killed them by slitting the throats of two of them and beating the other to death.
On July 20, 1985 he had another day when he killed more than once. Richard Ramirez started the day by killing a man and raping his wife while their 8 year-old son listened from the closet he was hiding in. Then later that day he shot dead a couple in their 60's.
On August 8, 1985, Richard Ramirez shot a couple that managed to survive and give the police a description of their attacker that matched that of the "Walk-in Killer". On August 17,Richard Ramirez was now killing in the Northern part of California when he shot a 66 year-old and beat the man's wife. The wife survived and gave the authorities a description that also matched the "Walk-in Killer". However, the media decided the name no longer fit and dubbed Richard Ramirez the "Night Stalker".
On August 24, 1985 a major turn happened in the search for the Night Stalker. Richard Ramirez shot a 29 year-old man and and raped his fiance. The man survived, despite a gunshot wound to the head, and was able to give a description of both Richard Ramirez and the station wagon he was driving. A teenager later spotted the car that she had seen on the news and managed to write down part of the licence plate.
The stolen car was tracked down and fingerprints were obtained that belonged to Richard Ramirez. His mug shot from previous arrests was released and was plastered all over every form of media in the country. The day after the mug shots were released, Richard Ramirez was recognized when he was trying to steal a car and a group of people from the neighborhood attacked him. Police broke up the crowd to prevent them from killing Richard Ramirez and he was arrested.
On September 20, 1989, Richard Ramirez was found guilty of 13 counts of murder, 5 attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults and 14 burglaries and on November 7, 1989, he was sentenced to die in California's gas chamber.
Richard Ramirez is going through many appeals and is living on death row at San Quentin State Prison.