Ramirez, Richard (1960– )
Richard Ramirez, Satanist and serial killer, was born on February
29, 1960, in El Paso, Texas, the son of Julian and Mercedes
Ramirez, Mexican immigrants. In his childhood, it was
discovered that he was epileptic and subject to sporadic seizures.
He also came under the influence of his Green Beret
cousin who introduced him to marijuana and who taught him
to fight and kill. He took to a life of crime, stealing money to
pay for his drugs. Still in his teens, he began to imagine himself
a child of Satan. At age 16 he was arrested for breaking into a
room at the hotel where he worked part time, and raping a
woman. He was released when the judge believed his story that
the woman had lured him to the room for sex. In 1978, after
turning 18, he moved to Los Angeles, California. By this time
he was an accomplished burglar.
In Los Angeles, Ramirez’s drug habit deepened as did the
intensity of his crimes. He briefly flirted with the Church of
Satan but quickly reverted to his loner ways. He did, however,
have a deep belief that Lucifer would both protect and empower
him. He was seemingly proved correct, as for several years
he existed freely as a criminal. In June of 1984, however, he
began the new phase of his life that was to bring him both notoriety
and a lifetime in jail. For more than a year he operated
in the Los Angeles suburbs burglarizing homes and savagely
killing the residents, leaving occult symbols, usually an inverted
pentagram (five-pointed star), behind.
In June of 1985, the police announced that a serial killer was
loose in Los Angeles. The press called him the ‘‘Night Stalker.’’
The following month, Ramirez finally left a clue to his identity
behind, a fingerprint in a getaway car. Identified, Ramirez
soon found his picture everywhere in the media, and people in
the Mexican-American community where he lived recognized
him and almost killed him before the police arrived to arrest
him.
Ramirez was convicted on multiple counts of murder and
rape and sentenced to death. Defiant, he scrawled a pentagram
on the palm of his hand to show reporters. After the trial he still
believed that Lucifer would avenge him. Though there was an
overtone of occultism to his crimes, Ramirez proved in the end
to be more like other serial killers than those involved in the
occult, even the great majority of those who consider themselves
Satanists.
As this edition goes to press, Ramirez remains alive and in
prison while appeals to his death sentence are proceeding
through the courts. In 1996 he married Doreen Lloyd, one of
a handful of Ramirez female groupies who emerged over the
years since his trial.
Sources
Carlo, Philip. The Night Stalker The Life and Crimes of Richard
Ramirez. New York Pinnacle Books, 1996.
Lane, Brian. The Encyclopedia of Occult and Supernatural Murder.
London Brockhampton Press, 1995.