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The Night Stalker

I Background:  Detail the following:

1. Where was he from?

Richard Ramirez was a serial killer born in Texas. He killed over a dozen people in California in his mid 20’s.

2. Who was his family?

He was the youngest of seven siblings. His father was a railway worker who was abusive to his family. His mother stayed at home and took care of the family.

3. Who influenced him greatly in a negative way?

Ramirez’s cousin Mike was in the army and fought in Vietnam. Mike showed him pictures of women he had raped or just their decapitated heads. They smoked marijuana together and Mike taught Richie military skilled, like how to kill someone properly. Ramirez developed an interest in Satanism because of Mike and experimented with LSD.

4. What was his education?

Ramirez went to school up until ninth grade and then he dropped out.

II The Crimes

1. Briefly describe the crimes.

Ramirez would break into people’s houses usually during the night and shoot them with a .22 or a .25. If he did not shoot them, he would beat them. He raped and sodomized most of his female victims. Most of the victims were elderly people. Before he would flee the scene, he took valuables from the house, like jewelry.

2. How many people did he kill?

Ramirez killed 13 people and attempted to kill five more.

3. What were the dates of his crime spree?

His killing spree started on June 28, 1984 and ended on August 25, 1985.

4. Where did these crimes take place?

These crimes took place all in California in the areas around Los Angeles and San Francisco.

5. What was his motive?

Ramirez said that he killed all these people for the devil. Since his cousin had gotten him interested in Satanism, he felt that the devil wanted him to commit these crimes. At many of the crime scenes he made his victims confess their loyalty to Satan.

III Evidence

1. What type of forensic evidence did Ramirez leave behind at the scene of his crimes?

Ramirez left behind footprint at the crimes scenes. The police were able to identify the shoes as Avia’s. They were a size 11 and ½.

2. After reading about his crimes, did you expect to find more or less evidence left behind by Ramirez?

I expected there to be more evidence than there was. Ramirez committed dozens of crimes

3. How did the suspect become a suspect (what finally led to Ramirez)?

For his last attack, Ramirez did not kill one of the victims and left her tied up. She was able to get to her bedroom window to see Ramirez drive away in his car. A boy in the neighborhood saw the car and wrote down most of the license plate number. The car was found abandoned, but the police were able to lift a partial fingerprint off it and identify Ramirez.

IV Results and Discussion

1. Describe the legal outcome, including appeals if any were made.

Ramirez was found guilty on 13 counts of murder, 5 counts of attempted murder, 11 counts of sexual assault, and 14 counts of burglary. He was sentenced to death. While in prison, he made an appeal on August 7, 2006, but the same convictions held. On September 7, 2006, Ramirez was denied a rehearing.

2. How did Ramirez die?  How long after his conviction was this?

Ramirez died of natural causes. He had B-cell lymphoma complications that doctors were trying to fix at Marin General Hospital in California.

X Reflection

What elements of the crime do you think make it famous?

What made this case famous was the lack of evidence that the police had to work with. They only had the footprint at first, but eventually found a partial fingerprint from the car driven by Ramirez. The fingerprint was the key evidence that linked Ramirez to the murders and brought him to justice.

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