Was the Night Stalker one of the most twisted serial killers ever?
It’s pretty terrifying if you managed to get nine death sentences for your crimes. But Richard Ramirez, better known as the Night Stalker, made it clear there’s a good reason for a severe sentence like that. Charged for robbery, rape, and murder, Ramirez started his criminal reign when he was 24.
Running around terrorizing LA and San Francisco residents, Ramirez’s antics went on for a year and a half before the Night Stalker was finally apprehended. If you’ve never heard the story of the Night Stalker, it’s time to take a trip down serial killer lane and learn about Ramirez.
A bad role model can do wonders
In his youth, Ramirez spent a lot of time with his cousin who served in the Vietnam War. His cousin Mike was proud of the murders he committed, showing photos of his victims and women he raped while overseas. Then, Mike murdered his wife Jesse in front of Ramirez.
Mike was initially charged with the murder, but was found not guilty on terms of insanity, and after a four year stint in a mental hospital, was released. He continued to influence Ramirez, and is the one most experts blame for Ramirez’s crimes.
The beginnings of a serial killer
While this crime is not usually connected to the Night Stalker killings, it is Ramirez’s first crime. In April of 1984, Ramirez killed a nine year old girl after raping and beating her. Since this was not in the same style as the Night Stalker killings, he was not charged for it as they could not connect Ramirez to the crime until after his death.
But the first Night Stalker crime Ramirez committed was only two months later in June 1984. He killed 79 year old Jennie Vincow by nearly decapitating her and stabbing her multiple times in her sleep. This was his last crime in 1984.
1985: The year of the Night Stalker
Ramirez layed low for a little bit after killing Vincow, but came back in 1985 with a vengeance. His first robbery, in March of 1985, led to the death of Dayle Yoshie Okazaki and attempted murder of Maria Hernandez. Hernandez was killed outside the apartment, while Okazaki was murdered once Ramirez broke inside.
An hour later, Ramirez killed Tsai-Lian Yu by pulling her out of her car and shooting her. The two murders and one attempted murder gained intense media coverage, with many calling him “The Walk-In Murderer”.
A new serial killer on the loose
Between the months of March and August 1985, Ramirez broke into a reported 14 homes, killing at least 14 people and raping 11 victims. During this time, Ramirez got messy and continued to leave evidence behind. By the time someone who survived the attack was able to give police a detailed description, he was already on the run.
But when Ramirez went on the run, police had Ramirez’s face on every paper and poster in LA and San Francisco, trying to catch “The Night Stalker”. It wouldn’t be long until police would finally be able to catch Ramirez.
The end of the murder train
August 30th, Ramirez took a bus to Arizona to visit his brother, but came back the next day after failing to meet up with him. But when he started going around town, he realized his face was plastered everywhere in the area and people knew who he was. Ramirez tried to run, but a group of civilians caught up to him and beat him until police arrived.
No surprise, Ramirez was quickly found guilty of all counts of murder, sexual assault, burglary, and attempted murder. He was sentenced to death in California’s gas chamber, though he tried to appeal the case in 2006 and failed. But Ramirez never made it to the gas chamber, as he died in 2013 from lymphoma.