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Richard Ramirez

Police mug shot
Richard Ramirez (born February 28, 1960) is a convicted serial killer awaiting the death penalty on California's death row. Ramirez was dubbed the "Night Stalker" by the news media and terrorized Southern California with a series of car and home abductions, rapes and murders during the first half of 1985.

Murder, rape and kidnapping spree

Ramirez's first known murder was of a 79-year old woman on June 28, 1984 but this crime, even though it also involved rape, did not receive much media attention. Then starting in early 1985 two girls (aged 6 and 9) were kidnapped weeks apart and raped.

Ramirez committed his second known murder on March 17 and tried to kill a third at the same time (the victim's roommate) but that woman was able to escape and give police a description of her attacker. Media attention now increased and started to cause general alarm after a second attack later that day of a 30-year old woman who was dragged from her car and shot (she died the next day). The news media dubbed the attacker, who was described as having long curly hair, bulging eyes and wide-spaced rotting teeth, as "The Valley Intruder."

Three days later Ramirez abducted an Eagle Rock girl from her home and sexually assaults her. On March 27 he killed a 64-year old man, fatally stabbed his 44-year old wife and then proceeded to carve her eyes out while she was still alive. Their bodies' were discovered two days later when their worried son paid a visit.

At this point a multi-county full-scale police investigation was in operation which worked through the month of April with no additional attacks by Ramirez.

Ramirez then invaded the home of a 65-year old man and his wife in Monterey Park, shot the man in his head and was about to kill his wife when the dying man was able to scare Ramirez away by dialing 9-1-1 but the man was pronounced dead on when police arrived. A little more than a week later Ramirez severely beat two women in their 80s after invading their home (one women would later die of her injuries). Before leaving the home he inked Satanic[?] pentagrams on one of the women in her own blood.

In June and July three more women were killed (two by having their throats slit and one was beaten to death - all three incidents involved home invasions). Then on July 20 he again struck twice; In Sun Valley he killed a 32-year old man, beat and raped his wife and then proceded to forcibly sodomize their 8-year old son while forcing his bleeding mother to listen. Later on the same day Ramirez shot to death a Glendale couple aged in their 60s.

On August 8 Ramirez critically wounded a Northridge couple by shooting them in their home. The description of their attacker fit the previous ones given for the "The Valley Intruder."

Ramirez then left the Los Angeles area and on August 17, he shot a 66-year old man in San Francisco to death, also shooting and beating his wife. The wife survived her wounds and was able to identify her attacker as "The Valley Intruder" from police sketches. Since the "The Valley Intruder" no longer fit the modus operandi[?] of the attacker, the news media re-dubbed him the "Night Stalker."

The next big break in the case came on August 24 when Ramirez shot a 29-year old man in his head and raped his fiance. The man was able to give a description of both Ramirez and his orange Toyota station wagon. Later a teenager identified the car from news reports and wrote down its license plate number.

The stolen car was found on August 28 and police were able to obtain a complete set of fingerprints from the vehicle. The prints belonged to one Richard Ramirez who was described as a 25-year old drifter from Texas with a long rap sheet[?] that included many arrests for traffic and illegal drug violations. Two days later his mug shots[?] were broadcast on national television and printed on the cover of every major newspaper in California.

The next day Ramirez was mobbed and beaten by residents of a Latino neighborhood in east Los Angeles as he was trying to steal a car. Police had to break-up the mob to prevent them from killing Ramirez.

Trial Jury selection for the case started on July 22, 1988 and on September 20, 1989 he was found guilty of 13 counts of murder and 30 other felonies. During the penalty phase of the trial he was sentenced to die in California's gas chamber.

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