On August 24, 1985, after Ramirez’s encounter with Inez Erickson, Erickson provided the police with a detailed description of the assailant. Police also got a cast of Ramirez’s footprint from the Romero house. The found the stolen car on August 28th in Wilshire Center, and police were able to get a single fingerprint from the rear-view mirror despite the fact that Ramirez did his best to wipe the car clean. They were able to positively identify the print as Ramirez’s, who had been described as a25-year-old drifter from Texas who had a long rap sheet.
On August 29, law enforcement officials released Ramirez’s mug shot from his 1984 arrest, and the Night Stalker was finally give a face. At the press conference, they said, “We know who you are now, and soon everyone else will. There will be no place you can hide.”
With that information, the police stated to receive numerous calls of people having spotted the night stalker. Unaware that he was now all over the news, he took a bus on August 30th to visit his brother in Tucson. When he wasn’t able to meet up with his brother, he returned to Los Angeles, which would be a big mistake. He walked past a few offices who were staking out a bus terminal in the hopes of catching him in East Los Angeles on August 31st and walked into a liquor store. There was a group of elderly Mexican women who were calling him el matador, meaning the killer. That’s when shoppers at a liquor store reported that Ramirez pick up a newspaper, look at his photo on the cover, and run.
He ran across the Santa Ana Freeway and tried to carjack a woman, but bystanders chasing him away. Police were alerted, and they started chasing him in their vehicles and with helicopters. He then ran off to another vehicle where the driver, Angie De La Torre, fought back. He punched the woman in the stomach and got the keys to her car.
Her 85-year-old neighbor ran out, and Ramirez threatened to shoot him if he came closer. However, Jose didn’t see a gun, so he opened the door and pulled him out. Onlookers joined in. Even De La Torre’s husband got involved by hitting him on the head with barbecue utensils. But Ramirez got away from them. He raced down the street as the mob of angry citizens chased after him.
At some point, somebody struck Ramirez in the head with a metal bar, causing him to fall. The crowd began to beat Ramirez. They continued to beat him until the police were able to pull him from their grasps. Bleeding and bruised, Ramirez was placed in handcuffs and put into a police car, ending his reign of terror.
Now, it was time to try him for his crimes. Something I did not go over in the first episode was that Ramirez didn’t just kill and rape adults. Early on in his crimes, there were a series of young children who were taken from their beds, assaulted, and then abandoned. One of the six-year-old survivors was instrumental in identifying Ramirez. However, investigators chose to drop these charges the spar the children anymore trauma. But, that same six-year-old girl was ready to help if they needed her.
The jury selection for his trial started on July 22, 1988. As you can imagine, finding jurors for this case was not easy given the nature of the crimes. At his first court appearance, Ramirez had drawn a pentagram on his hand, raised that hand, and said, “Hail, Satan.” On August 3rd, jail employees reportedly overheard Ramirez planning to shoot the prosecutor with a gun, which he was going to smuggle into the courtroom. That’s when they installed a metal detector, and intensive searches were conducted on everybody who entered.
On August 14th, the trail was delayed when Phyillis Singletary, a juror, did not show up. Later on that day, she was found shot to death in her apartment. The rest of the jury was terrified, wondering if Ramirez had directed the attack on her, and if he would get to the rest of them. However, they figured out that Ramirez was not responsible. Her boyfriend had shot and killed her before committing suicide with the same weapon in a hotel. However, the alternate juror who replaced Singletary was too frightened to return to her home.
Finally, on September 20, 1989, Ramirez was convicted on 13 counts of murder, five attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries. During the penalty phase, the sentenced him to death in the gas chamber. He then made a statement to reporters saying, “Big deal. Death always went with the territory. See you in Disneyland.” His trail cost $1.8 million, which would be $3.71 million today, which was the most expensive case in California history until OJ Simpson’s murder case.
By the time Ramirez’s trial started, he had fans who would send him letters and pay him visits. Starting in 1985, Doreen Lioy wrote him nearly 75 letters during his incarceration. In 1988, he proposed to her, and they got married at San Quentin on October 3, 1996. For several years before his death, Lioy said she would commit suicide if he was executed. However, Lioy left Ramirez in 2009 after they confirmed he had killed nine-year-old Mei Leung. At the time of his death, he was engaged to another woman, 23-year-old writer, Christine Lee.
Due to California’s lengthy appeal process, his first round of appeals didn’t end up August 7, 2006. They all proved to be unsuccessful, though, and the California Supreme Court upheld his convictions and death sentence. A month later, they denied his request for a rehearing. There were additional appeals pending when he died.
The subject of his mental health has always been a big topic because, what could cause somebody to commit criminal acts so heinous? Something had to be wrong. Michael H Stone, a psychiatrist, said that Ramirez was a made psychopath as opposed to being a born psychopath. This means that something happened to him during his life that caused him to develop his psychopathic ways. He said that Ramirez’s schizoid personality disorder contributed to his indifference to the suffering of his victims, and left him untreatable. Stone also said that the fact that Ramirez was knocked unconscious and almost died on multiple occasions before he was six resulted in the development of hypersexuality, temporal lobe epilepsy, and aggressivity.
Ramirez would never have to face the gas chamber. On June 7, 2013, he died of complications secondary to B-cell lymphoma at Marin General Hospital. His chronic substance abuse had also adversely affected his health, and he suffered from chronic hepatitis C. He was 53, and had served on death row for over 23 years. Some have estimated that he would have likely been in his early 70s before he ever had his execution carried out.
Before we wrap up the Night Stalker, here are a few other interesting facts. When he would murder, he would have a snack. Frank Salerno, one of the detectives on the case, said that he got comfortable in his killings to the point that he would have a snack afterwards. With the killing in San Francisco, the police said that after he killed Pan and raped his wife, he ate everything in their fridge and threw it up on the kitchen floor, and then masturbated on the living room floor.
Before he was actually apprehended, there were a few times when investigators just missed him. One time, he attempted to kidnap somebody, but failed. While he was driving away, he committed a traffic violation and a cop saw him. As he was being pulled over, Ramirez heard a broadcast of his kidnapping attempt on the cop’s radio, so he got out, dew a pentagram on the hood of the stolen car, and ran.
We all know that he had really bad teeth, and in that stolen car, they discovered a business card for a dentist’s office. When they looked through the dentist’s records, they found a man by the name of Richard Mena who had been in for X-Rays, which showed he had an infected tooth. They knew he would be back. Two officers were stationed at the office, but as time went by without a sign of Ramirez, the dentist office suggested that they install an alarm and alert the police should Ramirez show back up, which they did. But, when Ramirez did come in, the alarm malfunctioned.
His shoes were a big part of the investigation, which was why the investigators had never released that information. They knew Ramirez was watching the news, and if he found out they knew what shoes he wore, he would ditch them. However, Dianne Feinstein, the mayor of San Francisco at the time, released all of the investigative information they had about him after he murdered Peter Pan. They were never able to recover those shoes.
I want to end this story on this note. His parents made this comment when he died in 2013, “We are mourning the loss of our son and brother, Richard Ramirez. The world judged him, whether fairly or unfairly, it no longer matters. He is now before the true judge, the judge the sees and knows all things. We ask that you respect our sorrow and grief.”
I’m sure most of his family was hurting, but what irks me the most was that his father acted like he was the world greatest dad after his son got arrested. He paid for the best attorney all that. However, in my opinion, his father is the main person to blame for the way Richard turned out. If his father hadn’t beat him and left him nowhere to turn to for a good role model other than his cousin, all of those people may not have been murdered. So why, in the end, act like he actually cared about his son?