Richard Ramirez was perhaps one of the brutal serial killers of all time, notably for the intense brutality and indiscriminate violence visited upon his victims. Ramirez was known as the “Night Stalker’, a man who cruised Los Angeles, California homes and randomly selected areas and victims of all genders, ethnicities, and types.The trial of Richard Ramirez was one of the most expensive in California history, outdone only by the O. J. Simpson media circus to come years later. Lucifer-worshipper Ramirez is currently awaiting a Death Row date with his real maker with all his Supreme Court appeals having been exhausted.
Richard Ramirez typically attacked couples or home owners while at home asleep in their beds at night. Brutal shootings through the eye or death by a blunt object applied with force might occur before victims were fully awake. The vicious and purposely satanic mien of Ramirez during his trial was a chilling reminder of what evil a single individual is capable of. After double digit homicides and invasive murders accompanied by burglary, one final targeting by investigators led to a desperate chase by civilians who recognized the man trying to steal their neighbour’s car. Things might have been different for many people if only the judge for his break-in and motel assault of a woman when he was 16 had been more seriously punished.
Anybody waking up to the face of Richard Ramirez in their bedroom had a date with death. Ricardo Munoz Ramirez had little holding him anywhere except a taste for the suffering of others and the displacement of their cash and goods for resale and drug purchases. Ramirez, a drifting drug user whose violent tendencies were ameliorated by no guilt, religious or conscientious forbearance, had rotten teeth from poor diet habits and had begun a career in robbery to finance a cocaine habit. Ramirez was the child of Texan Mexican American immigrants, yet he favoured rock band AC/DC music, Satanic themes, and decidedly non-Catholic drug uses.
Ramirez grew up a possibly epileptic, certainly asocial loner, shunning friends and hanging around cemeteries. His former Special Forces cousin Mike acquainted him with guns, violence, the concept of mutilating women and assaulting them sexually for power. The cousin shot his wife while Ramirez was immediately nearby, and a lifetime drug habit began with marijuana at that time. Dropping out of school, by 1981 Ramirez was a native of Los Angeles, albeit without employment or habitation. By 1984, Ramirez began a series of break-ins of older women and people too stunned to recover or fight back at the intruder bringing forth violence and death in their last conscious seconds of life.
Richard Ramirez was a serious threat to public safety due to the erratic nature of his intrusions and murders. No age group or ethnicity was safe, and Ramirez raped a 79 year old woman as well as one aged 29. Ramirez’s compulsion to murder was due less to an unconscious desire for homosexual activity or intelligent heists, but rather seemed to be a random string of violence episodes with little done beforehand in the way of planning or surveillance of his robbery targets. The frequency of Ramirez’ activities show he was getting a taste for it, even as media reports sensationalized his descriptions, deeds, and power over bedroom communities. Ramirez has wanted to exploit a possibly satanic motif with his crimes, but these may have been little more than feints due to his lack of imagination or other raison d’etre.
By 1985, Ramirez had stacked up bodies from Monrovia to Mission Viejo. Ramirez had traveled to the Bay area and introduced his methods of nightly visitation to a stunned set of victims, and reports has the San Francisco populace riveted on the threat from Southern California. Pistol whipping his victims and forcing the women of the home to unwilling sexual acts completed the Night Stalker modus operandi. By this time Los Angeles homeowners and apartment renters had purchased en masse new window treatments, locks, double screens, storm windows, and other notably window-based home improvements.
Ramirez terrified the Los Angeles area because his appearance as a tall thin Hispanic man was too general to identify anyone in Los Angeles. Without a family, social network or job to report to, nobody noticed his absence or observed his activities as unusual. The beatings, rapes, sodomies and murders continued from Diamond Bar to Burbank, or Glendale to Rosemead, and from Arcadia to Monterey Park. Ramirez’ haunts were notably low-rent or suburban residential areas where he might pass unnoticed, unlike upscale parts of Los Angeles like Beverly Hills and Westside Los Angeles, where he never struck.
Ramirez was somewhat proud of the media attention, yet the increased vigilance of Los Angeles residents due to awareness of his crimes and description were his undoing. When he stole an orange Toyota and used it to cruise unfamiliar neighbourhoods, an observer reported this to police. When police examined the abandoned car, a fingerprint identified Richard Ramirez from his drug possession arrests. Ramirez’ fingerprints were part of the evidence from an accountant’s home where he had delivered his deathly visitation earlier in the year, and matched that taken from other crime scenes.
At 25 Richard Ramirez was behind bars with a stack of felonies aimed at him and additional charges pending. While the media portrayal of the trial focused on the pentagram carving and Satanic leanings of Ramirez, most felt this was just a casual pose. Ramirez’ subsequent trial and marriage from within San Quentin prison are the stuff of avid tabloid news, while the majority of the Los Angeles public remembers a summer of uncomfortable radio and news reports, eyeing the window screens and sizing up the risks.
Black Comedy of Capture
Ramirez happened to be away in Arizona visiting family when the news broke of the Night Stalker suspect’s identity broke. Ongoing media reporting concerning the Night Stalker emphasized the work of police to capture the killer and safeguard public morale. Ramirez disembarked from a Greyhound bus to see numerous officers in uniform about, and ducked into a bodega. The newsstand had several cover magazines featuring Ramirez, and the owner called out “El Matador” (It’s Him-The Killer!) Ramirez panicked and ran.
The six minute mile is the fitness standard for California’s schoolchildren, and Ramirez ran two of them in 12 minutes. Casing the neighbourhood, he began jumping backyard fences and eyeballing a new ride. Ramirez spotted a red Mustang with keys in it, and jumped in to escape. But the owner of the car jumped up too, from underneath the car and grabbed Ramirez, ignoring the threat of a gun. Faustino Pinon then held on as Ramirez threw the car into gear and smashed it.
Ramirez then jumped out and tried to carjack the Granada from another driveway, with the owner still in it – Angelina de la Torres. Ramirez threatened her in Spanish, but her husband came running at the sounds of her screams and another neighbour called police after hearing the crash. Jose Burgoin had heard the incident in the Pinon driveway and came outside after making the call to help his neighbour out of the wreck. When de la Torres screamed with Ramirez trying to take her car, Burgoin yelled for his young sons (Jaime and Julio) to come out.
Jaime Burgoin ran toward the car, and recognized the media-saturated suspect’s familiar profile in the car. Yelling that he was the killer, all the men converged as Ramirez was trying to make a break for it on foot. Manuel de la Torres tagged Ramirez with the fence post he’d grabbed, and caught him again and again with it. Tackling Ramirez after a particularly hard swing by de la Torres, the men had achieved the impossible. The Night Stalker had finally been caught. Not by police, but by members of the terrorized community.
In total Richard Ramirez murdered 13 people.
Article by Roy Whyte. Visit his Google+ page for more.