Richard Ramirez legal name is Ricardo Leyva "Richard" Muñoz Ramírez. He was born on February 29, 1960 in El Paso, Texas and died on June 7, 2013 at age 53 in Greenbrae, California. He was 6’ 1" (1.85 m) when he died from B-cell lymphoma (liver failure) in prison while waiting on California’s death row for his execution. Richard was an American serial killer, burglar and rapist. He was a car mechanic in Los Angeles and held other minor jobs as well. He was obsessed and fascinated with Satanism. He became a serial killer when he was 24 years old. Richard is known as The Night Stalker, The Walk-In Killer and The Valley Intruder. He never shows any regret for all the crimes he did using handguns, tire irons, hammer, knives, machetes and other things. The Judge referred to Richard as "cruelty, callousness, and viciousness beyond any human understanding" during his trial. Richard was 29 years old when he said "I am beyond good and evil. I will be avenged. Lucifer dwells in us all." in a Southern California courtroom. He was given the death penalty for 13 counts of murders, five attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults and 14 burglaries. He also said "No big deal. Death always comes with the territory. I’ll see you in Disneyland." Richard is a serial killer that shared the same birth date with female serial killer Aileen Wuornos.
Richard was born to Julian, who was a Mexican policeman and Mercedes Ramirez. His father was a former Juarez policeman and later worked on the Santa Fe railroad as a laborer. Richard is the youngest of his siblings. He had two head injuries when he was little. A dresser fell on him when he was two years old causing a laceration on his forehead that resulted in thirty stitches. A swing at the park hit him when he was five years old, and he became unconscious from it. Soon after he started having epileptic seizures a lot, and it lasted until his early teenage years. Richard was fond of his US Army Green Beret cousin Miguel Ramirez at twelve years old. His cousin would tell him stories of gruesome things that happened during the Vietnam War and of all the women he raped. Miguel took pictures of the Vietnamese women he had raped and also pictures of him with the females severed head. Miguel did not only tell Richard of all the terrifying things he did, but also taught him some of his military skills.
Richard would sometimes sleep in a cemetery nearby so that he can get away from his father’s violent temper. Richard started to work at Holiday Inn while in school and robbed the people in the room while they are sleeping. He gained access to the room with his key card. Richard was fired after a hotel guest entered his room as Richard was trying to rape his wife. The husband beat Richard senselessly but did not testify because they did not want to return to the state to testify as they live in another state. He soon dropped out of the ninth grade in Jefferson High School. The then moved to California at the age of 22 and stayed they’re for the rest of his life.
April 10, 1984 - Richard lived in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco where Mei Leung‘s dead body was found in the basement. She was nine years old when she was found raped, beaten, stabbed and hanging from a pipe in the hotel basement. Richard was found guilty of killing Mei Leung in 2009 after his DNA matched the crime scenes DNA.
Richard Ramirez crimes as the "Night Stalker"
June 28, 1984 - Jennie Vincow was 79-year-old when she was found in her bed in Glassell Park. She was stabbed numerous times while sleeping and her throat was slashed so deep that it appeared almost decapitated.
March 17, 1985 - Richard shot Maria Hernandez (age 22) in the face with a .22 caliber gun after she entered her garage in Rosemeads. Maria’s roommate Dayle Okazaki (age 34) heard the gunshot and hid behind the kitchen counter when she saw Richard coming her way. Richard shot Dayle in the forehead that killed her when she checked to see if he was gone. Maria survived the gunshot.
March 17, 1985 - Richard attacked Tsai-Lian "Veronica" Yu (age 30) in Monterey Park within an hour of attacking Maria and her roommate. He used the same .22 caliber handgun to shoot Veronica twice after pulling her out of her vehicle and onto the road. Veronica died upon arrival at the hospital. The two attacks made the news describing Richard with long curly hair, spaced teeth and bulging eyes that made the public frenzy. They referred to him as "The Walk-in Killer" and "The Valley Intruder."
March 27, 1985 - Richard had burglarized Vincent Zazzara home in Whittier one year ago and revisited them at about 2 am in the morning a year later. Vincent and Maxine’s son, Peter discovered their dead bodies. Richard shot 64-year-old Vincent in the head with a .22 caliber handgun while he was asleep. Richard saw when 44 year old Maxine Zazzara awoke upon hearing the gunshot. He then beat her and bound her hands together while threatening her to tell him where their valuables were located. Maxine eventually got out of her bonds and went for a handgun that she found out was not loaded. Richard got very angry and lost his temper. He then shot her three times and went to the kitchen for a carving knife. He gouged out her eyes and put them in a jewelry box. Autopsy reveals that he stabbed her several times and mutilated her body post-mortem. Police soon figured out that they had a serial killer at large after they discovered it is the same gun that is being used in each of the murders. Police photographed and cast Richard’s Avia sneaker footprints from the flowerbeds at the scene of the crime.
May 14, 1985 - Richard shot 66 year old Bill Doi in the face as he entered his bedroom in Monterey Park. Bill Doi tried to get his own handgun as Richard beat him until he was unconsciousness. Richard then went into 56 year old disabled Lillian Doi‘s bedroom, used thumb cuffs to bound her, thrashed the home looking for valuables and then raped her. Bill died from his injuries at the hospital.
May 29, 1985 - Richard drove to 83-year-old Mabel Lang and her sister, 81-year-old Florence Lang home in Monrovia with a stolen Mercedes-Benz. He went into their kitchen and found a hammer that he used to bludgeoned and bound both of the women. He then used an electrical cord to electrically shock Florence. He then raped Florence and used Mabel’s lipstick to draw a pentagon on both bedroom wall and one on Florence’s thigh. Florence and Mabel was found comatose two days later, but Mabel later died from her injuries.
May 30, 1985 - Richard drove the Mercedes-Benz to Burbank where he sneaked into 42 year old Carol Kyle‘s home. He threatens Carol and her eleven-year-old son with his gun as he handcuff them. The then ravaged through their home in search of valuables. He could not find anything, so he released Carol and instructed her to show him where the valuables were. He sodomized her numerous times and told her not to look at him. He got angry and told her that he would "cut her eyes out" if she looks at him again. He handcuffed the mother and son together and then left the scene.
July 2, 1985 - He stole a Toyota and drove to 75 year old widowed Mary Louise Cannon home in Arcadia. He saw her asleep in her bedroom upon entering the home quietly. He used her lamp to bludgeoned her until she was unconsciousness and then used a 10-inch butcher knife he found in her kitchen to stab her repeatedly. Mary was later found dead in her home.
On July 5, 1985 - Richard bludgeoned sleeping 16 year old Whitney Bennett in her home in Sierra Madre with a tire iron after breaking in. He could not find a knife in the kitchen and decided to use a telephone cord to strangle her. He ran for his life after she started to breath as sparks was emanating from the phone cord because he believed that Jesus Christ was saving her. Whitney received 478 stitches on her scalp to close the laceration from the torturous beating she received from Richard Ramirez; she survived.
July 7, 1985 - Richard killed 61 year old Joyce Lucille Nelson in her home in Monterey Park. He found her sleeping on her sofa in her living room upon quietly breaking in. He then beat her with his fist and repeatedly kicked her head until his Avai sneak shoe print was left imprinted on her face. He then robbed her home of all the valuables she had.
July 7, 1985 - Ramirez drove for about two hours scouting other neighborhoods before returning to Monterey Park where he murdered Joyce Lucille Nelson. He then attacked 63 year old Sophie Dickman in her home in Monterey Park. He handcuffed Sophie at gunpoint and assaulted her. He stole her jewelry and tried to rape her. He told her to "swear on Satan" after she swore to him that he had taken every valuable item that she had.
July 20, 1985 - Richard bought a machete and then drove a Toyota vehicle that he stole to Glendale. He went into 68 year old Maxson Kneiding and his 66-year-old wife Lela Kneiding home. He chopped the couple numerous times with the machete upon entering their bedroom. He then used his .22 caliber handgun to shoot them in the head. Richard mutilated their bodies and then stripped their home of everything valuable that he could carry.
July 21, 1985 - Richard broke into the Khovananth family home in Sun Valley at about 4:15 am in the morning after he quickly sold the items he stole from the Kneiding home. He shot Chainarong Khovananth while he was sleeping in the head with his .25 caliber handgun. Chainarong died immediately. He moved on to beat repeatedly, sodomize and rape Chainarong wife Somkid Khovananth. He dragged Somkid around her house so that she can show him where they keep all their valuables after he bound her eight-year-old son. He demanded her to "swear to Satan" saying that she is not hiding any valuables or money from him as he is taking/stealing all the valuables.
August 6, 1985 - Richard broke into 38 year old Chris Petersen home in Northridge and sneaked quietly into his bedroom. Richard shot Chris’ 27-year-old wife Virginia Petersen in the face with his .25 caliber handgun after he startled her upon entering the bedroom. He then shot Chris in the temple and tried to escape from the home. Chris avoided being shot twice by fighting back with Richard. Richard managed to escape, Chris and his wife survived their injuries from the attack
August 8, 1985 - Richard broke into 31-year-old Elyas Abowath family home in Diamond Bar after driving his stolen vehicle there. He entered their master bedroom at about 2:30 am and shot Elyas in the head with his .25 caliber handgun which instantly killed him. He handcuffed Elyas 27-year-old wife Sakina Abowath and then beat her to tell him where all the valuables are. He also sodomized and terribly raped her. He made her "swear on Satan" that she will not scream while he was harming/assaulting her. Her three-year-old son came into the bedroom, and Richard tied him up and went back to raping Sakina. Sakina untied her son and sent him to get help from a neighbor after Richard left their home.
August 18, 1985 - Richard killed sleeping 66 year old Peter Pan by shooting him in his temple with a .25 caliber handgun in his San Francisco home. Richard attacked Peter’s 62 year old wife Barbara Pan by beating and sexually assaulting her. He then shot her in the head and used her lipstick to draw a pentagram and write "Jack the Knife" on the bedroom wall.
Note: Richard saw that he made news coverage in Los Angeles after he murdered Elyas Abowath and raped his wife who survived the sodomization and beating. He then fled to San Francisco. San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein announced on TV that The Night Stalker shoe print matched the ones found at the Pan’s residence. Therefore, the Night Stalker is in the San Francisco area. The police/detective was angry that the Mayor announced such details on TV as they think that The Night Stalker will be following TV news coverage and destroy the evidence that might be crucial to the case. Richard saw the coverage on TV and dumped his 11 ½ Avia sneaker at night over the Golden Gate Bridge and then returned to Los Angeles a few days later.
August 24, 1985 - Richard stole an orange Toyota and drove 76 miles south of Los Angeles to Mission Viejo. He broke through the back door of 29 year old Bill Carns and his 27-year-old fiance Carole Smith home. The couple was asleep when Richard entered their bedroom, but Bill woke up when Richard cocked his .25 caliber handgun. He continued to shoot Bill three times in his head. He told Carole that he was “The Night Stalker” as he tied her up with neckties that he found from the closet. He made her swear that she loved Satan as he continuously beat her with is fist. He stole whatever he could then turned to Carole to sodomize her and rape her. He forced her to swear to Satan that there was no more jewelry, cash or anything valuable in her home for him to take. Richard wanted to be known and told Carole "Tell them The Night Stalker was here." referring to the officers. Carole untied herself after Richard left and went to get help from her neighbor. The surgeons removed two bullets from Bill’s head, and he survived.
James Romero III was 13 years old when he jot down Richards license plate because James thought there was something suspicious about him as he had seen him earlier that night. Richard only wrote part of the license plate down. James saw the news coverage about the attack on Bill and Carole and informed his parents that he took down some of the license plate. They called the police and gave them the license plate of the orange Toyota. Carole gave the police officers a descriptive idea of how the attacker looked. Richard tried hard to keep the car clean so that it would not be tracked back to him, but he failed. Police found one fingerprint on the rear view mirror of the stolen orange Toyota when it was found in Wilshire. The prints came back as Richard Muñoz Ramirez‘s fingerprint. He had a long rap sheet that stated he was a 25-year-old drifter from Texas. It had a lot of arrests for Richard that involved illegal drugs and traffic violations. Richard’s mugshot was released on December 12, 1984 by the law enforcement department. The Night Stalker now has a true identity and a face to go with his name. The police announced "We know who you are now, and soon everyone else will. There will be no place you can hide."
Capture - Trial - Conviction
Richard Ramirez was arrested on December 12, 1984 for stealing a car and the mugshot from that arrest was used for his final arrest on April 31, 1985. Richard did not know that his mugshot was posted in all of the newspapers and televised on all the TV news programs in California when he attempted to see his brother. Richard did not get to reach his brother after traveling in a bus to Tucson, Arizona and returned home to Los Angeles. Upon his return, he saw police officers taking out the outbound bus station thinking that Richard might escape from Los Angeles using the bus. Richard fled as fast as he could from a convenience store a few blocks away from the bus station. He fled after seeing some older aged Mexican women looking at him with terrified eyes and saying "El Matador" that means the killer and then seeing his picture on all of the newspapers on the rack. He tried to steal a woman’s car after running across the Santa Ana Freeway but was chased away by people nearby. He started to run again while jumping over fences and trying to steal two more cars but failed. The residents of East Los Angeles ran after him until one of them caught up to him and hit him across his head with a metal bar. They joined together and beat him unmercifully as he did to his victims. The police arrived shortly after and took him into custody where it lead to his final arrest.
Richard raised his hand with a drawing of a pentagram on his palm and screamed out "Hail, Satan" on his first court appearance after juries selection was started on July 22, 1988. Los Angeles Times had stated on August 3, 1988 that several employees of the jail had heard Richard saying that he will shoot the prosecutor with a gun. He will have someone smuggle the gun into the courtroom for him. Soon after a metal detector was installed outside of the courtroom and everyone entering the court underwent an intensive search. Juror Phyllis Singletary did not show up to the court hearing on August 14 which interrupted the trial. The jurors were terrified of Richard after learning later in that day that Phyllis was shot and killed in her apartment. The jurors assumed that Richard directed someone from inside jail to kill Phyllis, and they were afraid that he might get to them as well. Their minds were at ease after learning that Phyllis’ boyfriend had shot and killed her then later committed suicide in a hot room with the same gun. He was found guilty of all the charges against him on September 20, 1989. He was charged with 5 attempted murders, 14 counts of murder, 14 burglaries and 11 sexual assaults. He was sentenced on November 7, 1989 during the penalty phase of the trial to die in California’s gas chamber. After receiving his death sentence, he stated "Big deal. Death always went with the territory. See you in Disneyland."
Richard Ramirez’s trial was known as the most expensive trial in California costing $1.8 million until O. J. Simpson’s murder case in 1994 surpassed it by a lot. Richard became popular in prison and developed a fan base. Doreen Lioy is a freelance magazine editor that started visiting Richard in 1985 and has written him about 75 letters while he was in jail. Doreen and Richard married each other on October 3, 1996 in California’s San Quentin State Prison after Richard proposed to Doreen in 1988. Doreen had said numerous times she would kill herself when her husband is executed. They were not able to consummate their marriage because it is not allowed for inmates on death row. They were separated before he died, and he was engaged to a 23-year-old writer who lives in Los Angeles and in New York.
California has a lengthy appeal process and from the way it was going, Richard would have been in his early seventies when his execution would be allowed to carry out. California Supreme Court upheld Richards convictions and death penalty on August 7, 2006 after he appealed his case. He applied for a rehearing, but it was denied on September 7, 2006 by the California Supreme Court. He had appeals pending until he died. He died at 9:10 am on June 7, 2013 at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, California from complications secondary to B-cell lymphoma. He had "chronic substance abuse and chronic hepatitis C viral infection," also at the time of his death. He had been on death row waiting for his execution from California for over 23 years at the age of 53.
2002 - Nightstalker - Directed and written by Chris Fisher. Bret Roberts portrayed The Night Stalker
Movies that Richard Ramirez was portrayed in:
1989 - Manhunt: Search for the Night Stalker (TV) - Directed by Bruce Seth Green and written by Joseph Gunn. Gregory Cruz portrayed Richard Ramirez (The Night Stalker)
2002 - The Night Stalker (TV) - Directed and written by Jenny Ash. Omar Alexis portrays Richard.
2002 - Mass Murder (Video) - Directed and written by Jeff Meyers. Chris Stack portrays Richard Ramirez.
Richard Ramirez TV and Video appearances during his time in Prison:
1988 - The Geraldo Rivera Show (TV Series)
He appeared in: Devil Worship: Exposing Satan’s Underground
1994 - Serial Killers (Video documentary)
1999 - Revelations: The End Times (Video documentary)
2001 - Biography (TV Series documentary)
He appeared in: Richard Ramirez: The Night Stalker
2001 - History’s Mysteries: Infamous Murders (TV Series documentary)
He appeared in: Terrorizing the Cities
2005 - THS Investigates: Love Behind Bars (TV Movie documentary)
Famous Killers: Richard Ramirez aka Night Stalker
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Serial Killers: Famous Serial Killers List.