Richard Ramirez was a serial killer nicknamed the Valley Intruder, the Walk-In Killer and later the Night Stalker. From 1984 to 1985 he terrorized the residents who lived in and around Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. He was tried and found guilty of multiple counts of murder, attempted murder, sexual assaults, and burglaries. He was convicted and sentenced to death.
This vicious killer was a young man, apparently twenty-four years of age when the murder spree began. He was the baby of the family with several siblings, originally from El Paso, Texas. As an adolescent he went astray.
He dropped out of school, engaged in smoking marijuana and started showing interest in Satanism. He witnessed his cousin, who he looked up to, killing his wife as well as hearing war stories that were illustrated with photographs of women who were raped, abused and murdered. He ventured to California when he was in his early 20s.
Unlike most serial killers, Ramirez did not have a preferred type of victim or a set way of killing. Rather, he randomly selected homes for invasion, killed both men and women, and raped and sodomized women of all ages.
His first known murder was of a young girl, nine years old,
who had been sexually assaulted and slain.
She was not linked to the case until 2009 when a DNA match was found
during a revisit of cold cases. The girl
was found in a basement hanging from a pipe.
The victims of this serial killer ranged from the age of nine to the age of eighty-three. Some were shot, some were beaten to death, some were slashed and stabbed, some had slit throats, and some were mutilated.
To add to the gruesomeness of the crime scenes, satanic symbols were often scrolled on walls or drawn or scratched on bodies. Survivors of the attacks shared that Ramirez would ask them to swear to Satan.
A picture of Ramirez hit the media in 1985. He was chased down and beaten by residents who recognized him from the photo. At that time, he was arrested.
He was tried and convicted for thirteen murders as well multiple other charges such as rape, sodomy, burglary, and attempted murder. Years later, another murder was tied to case and he has been suspected for more.
Ramirez was sentenced to death. He was imprisoned for several years on death row at San Quentin. He died before his appointment with the gas chamber with appeals still pending.