RICHARD Ramirez was an infamous serial killer who was given the nickname "Night Stalker" after his string of heinous crimes.
Ramirez, who was convicted in the late 1980s, died in prison in 2013.
Why was Richard Ramirez called the Night Stalker?
Ricardo Leyva Muñoz Ramírez, or Richard Ramirez, was born in El Paso, Texas, and was raised by Mexican immigrants.
Ramirez was epileptic as a child and became a heavy drug user in his later years.
He was heavily influenced by his older cousin Miguel who had fought in the Vietnam war and tortured and mutilated Vietnamese women. At 13-years-old, Ramirez watched his cousin murder his wife.
He developed a penchant for Satanism after moving to California in the late 1970s. He was arrested several times for drug possession, burglary, and auto theft.
Once he became a serial killer, the press dubbed him the "Night Stalker" as most of his assaults would take place at night in his victim's homes.
How many people did he kill?
Ramirez killed at least 14 people and raped and tortured at least two dozen more during the spring and summer of 1985.
His first known victim was 79-year-old Jennie Vincow, who was sexually assaulted, stabbed and killed during a burglary in her own home.
Nine months later from Vincow's murder on March 17, 1985, he attacked Maria Hernandez, who managed to escape his clutches.
Callously, he went on to kill her roommate, Dayle Okazaki.
What followed was a spree of brutal murders that followed the same pattern: shooting, brutal sexual assault, and stabbing.
He often attacked elderly pensioner couples and at one time raped and murdered a nine-year-old girl.
How was he caught?
Ramirez was spotted outside of a Mission Viejo, California home on August 24, 1985, where he unwittingly left a footprint before a witness took note of his car and license plate.
That night, Ramirez raped a woman at her home and forced her to swear her love for Satan. He shot her fiance before the woman called the police and provided a detailed description of her assailant.
A few days later, Ramirez's abandoned car was found with his fingerprints in it that matched police records.
Ramirez was captured by authorities in 1985 after he was badly beaten by East L.A. residents while attempting two carjackings.
During his trial, he attracted a cult-like following of Satan worshippers who idolized him.
On September 20, 1989, the jury finally returned a unanimous guilty verdict on 43 charges, including 13 counts of murder, five counts of attempted murder, 11 sexual assault charges and 14 burglary charges.
The judge handed him the death sentence.
He was sent to California's San Quentin Prison where he lived out his sentence before he passed away.
Why wasn't he executed?
After Ramirez was convicted in 1989, he was formally sentenced to death by gas chamber.
At the time, Ramirez responded, "Hey, big deal, death always comes with the territory. I'll see you in Disneyland."
He appealed his sentence in California State Supreme Court in 2006, but it was ultimately rejected.
He was on death row for 24 years before he died from cancer on June 7, 2013, at age 53.
He is survived by his wife Doreen Lioy, one of his supporters that he married in 1996.
Netflix will release the docuseries Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer, based on Ramirez's life and crimes, in January 2021.
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