ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Richard Ramirez: "The Night Stalker"

Updated on May 21, 2012

There have been many theories offered as to what makes a person kill. Some say it’s because they experienced extreme trauma or abuse during their formative years. Others have ideas such as home environment and early childhood associations. Perhaps it was this that turned Ricardo Leyva a.k.a. Richard Ramirez into the person who would later become known as “The Night Stalker.”

Richard was described by his father as being "a good boy" up until about the age of 12. It was about that time his cousin, Mike, a Green Beret just back from the Vietnam War, came into his life. Young Richard became enthralled with Mike’s exciting war stories and pictures he showed him. But the real clincher was probably when Mike shot his wife in his presence after she complained of his laziness. He was sentenced to only seven years because of his exemplary war record.

By the age of 18 the El Paso, Texas native was an addicted substance abuser and had already established a long rap sheet and so decided to move to the Los Angeles area and start anew.

In California he graduated to breaking and entering. As time went on he became ever bolder and began lingering a while in homes he had burglarized. Soon, even the thrill he experienced at the prospect of getting caught faded.

In June of 1984, he found another way to get his rush of adrenaline. Richard broke into the home of 79 year old Jennie Vincow. When he couldn’t find anything worth stealing he became angry. Finding the elderly lady asleep in her room he murdered her.

For the better part of a year, Ramirez didn’t commit anymore crimes. But, then his period of inactivity came to an end. In March of 1985, Ramirez attacked Angela Barrio, 22, outside her home. He shot her and thinking she was dead barged on into her home. By a miracle Barrio survived the attack. As she raised her arms to protect herself the bullet had struck the keys she was holding and ricocheted harmlessly away. Inside the home he found Barrio’s roommate, 34 year old Dayle Okazaki who he immediately shot and killed.

But Ramirez wasn’t finished yet. In less than an hour he was in Monterey Park where he yanked a 30 year old woman out of her car and shot her several times. A policeman stumbled across her barely clinging to life, but she died before the ambulance arrived. Three days later he killed a young girl from Eagle Rock.

Richard’s murders now began to take on an even more grisly aspect…body mutilation. On March 27, Ramirez shot and killed 64 year old Vincent Zazarra and his 44 year old wife Maxine. Maxine’s body was found mutilated out. The police found footprints which they photographed and cast. Bullets found at the scene matched those found in other recent attacks and the police realized they had a serial killer on their hands.

Richard stayed low for about two months before his next attack. Harold Wu, age 66, was shot and killed. His wife, Jean, age 63, was beaten, but for reasons unknown, was allowed to live. By now the media was calling Richard “The Night Stalker.” Those lucky enough to have encountered Ramirez and lived to tell about it described him as “Hispanic, with long dark hair.”

Richard’s attacks became ever more gruesome with time. In May of 1985, Malvial Keller, 83, and her invalid sister, Blanche Wolfe, 80, were beaten with a hammer by Ramirez. Blanche survived the attack, but before he left he drew a pentagram on Malvial’s thigh and bedroom wall with lipstick. The following day, Ruth Wilson, 41, became Ramirez's next victim while her 12-year old son was locked in a closet.

The Los Angeles Police were being pressured to put an end to the Night Stalker’s reign of terror but so far every lead investigated came up empty as Ramirez's murderous spree continued:

· June 27: Six year old girl in Acadia.

· June 28: Patty Higgins, age 32

· July 2: Mary Cannon, age 75

· July 5: Deidre Palmer, age 16

· July 7 - Joyce Lucille Nelson, 61

· July 7: Linda Fortuna, 63

· July 20: Maxson Kneiling, 66, and wife Lela, 66,

· July 20: Chitat Assawahem, 31and wife Sakima, 29

· August 6: Christopher Petersen, 38, and wife, Virginia, 27, shot , but survived.

· August 8: Ahmed Zia, 35, and wife Suu Kyi, 28

· August 24: Bill Carns, 29, fiancée, Inez Erickson, 27 survived attack

However, with the last attack Erickson managed to crawl to a window and caught the license plate number as Ramirez drove off. It was the beginning of the end for “The Night Stalker.”

The police located the car, now abandoned, and were able to get fingerprints. The identity of “The Night Stalker” was now known and a warrant for his arrest made. His photo was immediately released to the media.

However, Richard was unaware his face was now plastered on the front page of every major newspaper in the country. As he was in a liquor store, the clerk recognized him and began yelling he was “The Night Stalker.” Ramirez fled with a small mob following close on his heels.

Ramirez attempted to steal a car not knowing the owner was underneath making repairs. He now had one more citizen in pursuit. The mob, which had been increasing in number and now armed with steel rods caught up with him. If the police hadn’t arrived when they did, taxpayers would have been spared the cost of a lengthy court trial. Reportedly, when the police intervened, Ramirez raised his hands begging for protection. Ironic, since so many had begged for mercy at his hand.

The Ramirez trial lasted over four years mainly due to the number of appeals filed. During the trial, Ramirez attracted several groupies who wrote to him regularly. In 1996 he married one of them, 41 year old Doreen Lioy.

On September, 20, 1989, Richard Ramirez, was found guilty on 43 counts. He was sentenced to death.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Femme, I Knoooooow (Jimmy Walker Good Times impersonation)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I remember seeing this guy in the news.

      And, I agree with USHISTORY4YOU's comment in that it doesn't speak well of women who became fascinated with this best-friend-of-demons.

      As for being alive and on tax payers' monies, I'd have no issue with that if he were in a desert prison, on water rationing and the bare minimum of bland eats to keep him alive while he spends the rest of his days working on a chain gang and sleeping in a non-air-conditioned tent.

      Wish they'd send him to Arizona where they know how to run prisons!

      Good article, as always, Marine.


    • terrektwo profile image

      Candle Hour 

      6 years ago from North America

      To bad the police were so quit arriving on scene, a little street justice is what this guy deserved.

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      USHISTORY4YOU, some women for some bizarre reason, are attracted to men in prison. But I agree those ladies have a screw loose. Too bad he isn't on death row in Texas. They have an express line.

    • USHISTORY4YOU profile image

      Anthony Carrell 

      6 years ago from Lemoore California

      Richard Ramirez is the lowest form of life on Earth. The fact that some woman faulted over him doesn't speak well of their mental health as far as I'm concerned. As a taxpayer in the state of California is also bothers me that a small amount of my tax dollars goes to keep him alive.

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Well you guys, I think they should have done it to Mick Jagger way back when. LOL

    • efeyas profile image


      6 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Horrible. The cops should have turned their head and let the mob torture and beat him to death!

    • Paradise7 profile image


      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Very chilling! And the guy kinda looks like Mick Jagger in the early years. Go figure.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)