Richard Ramirez IntroductionThis case study will belooking into a man called Richard Ramirez a.
k.a “The Night Stalker”. Whenlooking at all the relevant and in-depth information regarding how and whyRichard became such a notorious serial killer, looking at a variety ofdifferent sources which will include internet sources, journals as well asbooks written about the man himself. Although nothing relating to RichardRamirez was available within the public libraries, all source books wereordered online. Every effort was made to cover all potentials that may havecaused or lead this man into committing such a number of atrocities over such ashort time period. With quite a substantial amount of information availablefrom his family, child life, and upbringing and into his later years giving agood account of why this Christian man suddenly turned to Satanism. In hisdevastating attacks on the people of Los Angeles and San Francisco, causing amassive panic of not knowing were and who “The Night Stalker” was and why hewas murdering, Raping and torturing his victims.
“When Richard Ramirez killed,robbed, raped and tortured he did not discriminate towards any race, any age,old or young boys, girls, men, women “everyone became his target” (“The NightStalker”, Carlo 2006, p 53). Richard was born on Februarythe 29th in El Paso, Texas in 1960. Richard had a big family in that it consistedof his Father Julian Ramirez who was a Mexican Immigrant and who had beenworking for the Santa Fe Railroad, and his mother who was named MercedesRamirez, was employed at the Tony Lama boot manufacturing factory.
Her dutiesincluded mixing chemicals that was intended for the leather industry (RichardRamirez Biography 2016).Life could not have been easy for the Ramirezhousehold, but they worked hard to pay the bills and make ends meet; bothMercedes and Julian loved their children and tried very hard to provide for themto the best of their ability. Also with the complications of their child Josephwho had a medical condition in both knees culminated in expensive medicalbills. The boys who were a little unruly and could also be quite hot temperedstemming from their ill-tempered father (Richard Ramirez Biography 2016). Thechildren may have benefited from having their parents around more, but with thenature of his job Julian would have to travel a lot to lay railway tracks whichkept him away frequently and for long hours.
Richard and his older brothers andsisters all experienced some medical issues when they were younger as of whenthey were growing up, the U.S Government conducted Nuclear Bomb tests in NewMexico in the 1950’s (Carlo 2006 p.132).
With the fallout from these tests beingcarried by the winds over where the Ramirez family lived in El Paso, Texas (MattDavis 2017). This could have contributed towards their medical conditions. Anotherfactor may be due to Mercedes working with chemicals in the shoe factory, whatshe may have inhaled could also have posed as a risk to Richard’s health.Richard who was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was in the fifth grade wouldsuffer from both petite and grand mal seizures often staring into space whenexperiencing a petite seizure. (Rehadlock2017). “An epilepticseizure can be stimuli to the amygdala, thereby contributing to the causationof violence. Another biological aspect of violence is hormone related.
Either alack of hormones or extra hormones or even just the improper secretion of somehormones can drastically affect a person’s behaviour”. DebraNiehoff PhD. in the Biology of Violence (Grise 2000 p.1) Even though Richard had fourolder siblings he found himself spending every opportunity he could with hiscousin Michael, who fascinated Richard with stories as a Vietnam veteran. Notonly did Michael get to tell graphic and gruesome story’s contrasting rape andmurder but providing such impact evidence (Richard-Ramirezbiography 2017). A young Ramirez felt immediately attached to as a sense of excitementand power to see how people being raped, murdered and sadistically tortured inpolaroid’s that Michael had been showing off like trophies. Driving around gettinghigh whilst recalling how Michael was the war hero (Emily n.d).
Richardadmitted that once seeing these pictures and graphic scenes of this nature itmade him sexually aroused (Grise 2000 p.2). With the fact that Michael couldsee the pure excitement that Richard was portraying when seeing these photos.
Michael had plenty more photos and story’s to tell; Michael had a lot more totell and show to the extent of having shoe boxes of photos of hideous acts.With an interview with Ramirez conducted nine years after he was incarcerated,which was conducted by a gentleman called Phillip Carlo who proceeded to askquestions relating to his cousin Mike and other details that could Richardrecollect from spending time with him, Mike would show Richard a shoe box ofphotos showing how Mike had tied up young girls and women he had raped andmurdered whilst serving in Vietnam, (Dietrich et al 2007). Mike felt that thesewere trophy pictures in that it had shown how the girls/women were tied up andthey were forced to watch as Mike raped them repeatedly (TheFamousPeople.
com2017). Richard told Philip that mike beat, raped and murdered these women evento the point Mike decapitated them. When Carlo had talked about these brutal incidentsRichard replied “Yeah” of course he told him everything in that he was told allthe details about what Mike had done and exactly how he did it.
They wouldspend a lot of time just driving around, using drugs and looking at the photosof what had been done to these women (TheFamousPeople.com 2017). RichardRamirez would go on to say that this type of show- and- tell session heavilyinfluenced his way of thinking and he started to think of the images andstory’s quite a lot. When Carlo asked if the sexual pictures influence Richardsway of thinking Richard replied, “Fuck yeah, of course it did it was all aboutthe sex.” (Bruno 2010). Continuing from the same interview, Richard reveals howMike had taught Richard some training from Vietnam as in how to use and hold aknife properly even to the point of how to slice someone’s throat. Moretraining was given even to the extent on what clothing was to be worn whencommitting a criminal act such as to wear all black and avoiding reflectinglight when breaking into people’s houses (Richard-Ramirez biography 2017). With all of this going on and Mikes wife (Jessie)became more enraged due to Mike spending so much time with Richard and withthem also having two young children herself with Mike.
Jessie grew tired ofseeing him spending so much time with Richard instead of his own childrencausing complication and arguments at home until the day came when Mike losthis temper in-front of the two youngest children, as-well as Richard waspresent and in the middle of an argument, Mike lost control, and turnedand shot his wife directly in her face killing her instantly. This was onlymetres away from Richard and Mikes two youngest children aged 3 years and 6years (Bruno, 2010). When Carlo asked how this made him feel he told Carlo, “Imean, to see something like that happen in-front of you – the line between lifeand death right there in front of me. When she went down and all I could seethat it was in slow motion,” (Carlo, 2006 p. 8). When Richard turned 18 yearsold he went to live in Los Angeles to visit and stay with his Brother Ruben.Ruben who was using and addicted to heroin fed his habit by committingburglaries.
There became a new main objective now in stealing goods and moneyto get high. Richard soon found himself becoming addicted to cocaine and thenstarted to steal cars as well. He drove around in stolen cars looking at houseshe had intention to burgle. When Phillip Carlo questioned Richard as to why hebecame addicted to cocaine and what his thoughts were about the drug Richardsaid he understood that cocaine was addictive and harmful, but the pleasure youget is very profound! There is nothing – to him anyway, that even comes closeto it pleasure wise, (Dietrich et al 2007). Now with his drug of choice and hisknowledge of being a successful burglar, Richard who was brought up Christianhad now turned his beliefs towards Satanism as Ramirez knew that through hisactions and his evil thoughts God would not be pleased. So with this in mindRichard believed that Satan would be pleased with his action and of his sexualsadistic desires.
When his older sister came up to visit him in Los Angeles,she asked why Richard had decided to change his faith and started to worshipSatan. Richard answered “Because Satan represents me and what I feel. I am notlike other people, he felt he was protected and being a burglar was a goodtrade, and he wouldn’t be going to jail because he was different! (Carlo 2006 p.395). It was on the 28thof June 1984 that Richard Ramirez suddenly turned his burglaries into somethingsinister and far more evil. After breaking into the home of a 79 year oldJennie Vincow and after finding nothing worth stealing Ramirez became veryenraged as he had no money to feed his drug habit and also not having any fundsto acquire a prostitute.
With anger Richard decidedly attacked the sleepingwoman repeatedly stabbing her and eventually slashing her throat. The brutalityof the attack shocked the police (Carlo 2006 p13). Following this attack Ramirezwent quiet for approximately eight months. In February 1985 Richard struckagain, and then again in March 1985, this time attacking Maria Hernandez (Carlo2006 p.19). The terrified girl only managed to escape through pure luck whileraising her hands in self-defence she managed to deflect the bullet with herkeys that were in her hands, but her roommate was not so lucky and was murderedby the frenzied killer. The same evening, Ramirez also shot and killed TsaiLian Yu after pulling her from her car and repeatedly shooting her (Carlo 2006p.
14). A few days later Richard struck again when he broke into the house of64-year-old Vincent Zazzara and Zazzara’s 44-year-old wife, Maxine( Carlo 2006p.29-31). He first shot dead the husband and then he tortured and eventuallykilled the wife, and then proceeded to gouge out her eyes after she was dead.The disturbed police were now realizing that these burglaries, attacks and murderswere being committed by an evil and deranged serial killer, but they still wereunsuccessful in tracking him down.
Meanwhile Ramirez continued his crime spreeby brutally beating aged couple William and Lillie Doi in April 1985 (Carlo2006 p.40-41). Richard continued with his devastating crime spree when in Mayhe severely beat 84-year old Mabel and also 81-year old Florence Lang and nowadding satanic symbols by scratching the sign into their bodies (Carlo 2006p44-43). Unfortunately they were not discovered until Two days after the attackresulting in both being deceased. Patty Higgins’ was the next victim of Ramirezby cutting her throat in June. His next attack was only two miles away from hislast attack, where he did the same thing to Mary Cannon in July.
Then on July20, Ramirez broke into the Khovanath household firstly killing Mr Khovanath., andthen proceeding to beat and rape his wife. Not being content with just that hetook their eight-year-old son into another room carrying a bottle of baby oil.Mrs. Khovanath could do nothing and was forced to listen as Ramirez went on torape him. After the attacks Ramirez then stole approximately $30,000 in cashand jewellery (Carlo 2006 p 86).
Other attacks soon followed with Max and LetaKneiding who were shot and killed in their home (Carlo 2006 p.85). In August, he attacked and beat Mr and Mrs Peterson,but he did not kill them (Carlo 2006 p. 96). A few days later, he continued hiskilling with Elyas Abowath and then savagely beating his wife, Sakina (Carlo2006 p.100).Then on August 17, Richard committed his only documented murderoutside of Los Angeles.
He shot and killed Mr Pan in San Francisco, andalthough severely beaten and shot Peter’s wife Barbara, managed to survive herattack (Carlo 2006 p.111). With her description of the attacker being matchedwith the description of other survivors receiving so much media coverage andwith the people of Los Angeles living in fear the murderer was named “TheNight Stalker”. A week later Ramirez struck again when he shot WilliamCarns in the head three times and then raping his fiancée Inez Erickson whomanaged to crawl to a window where she managed to watch as Richard Ramirez gotinto a car and then subsequently called the police.
In the end, Ramirez’sfingerprints were taken off the abandoned stolen car as identified by InezErickson, and his picture was on the front page of every paper. He was thenspotted by a customer in a local liquor store, and was chased and beaten bylocal thugs (Richard Ramirez Biography 2016). Richard was arrested for 13murders, five attempted murders, six rapes, three lewd acts on children, twokidnappings, and three acts of forced oral copulation, four counts of sodomy,five robberies, and 14 burglaries. At his trial, Richard emblazoned a pentagonon his left palm smiling while showing it to photographers and onlookers. Healso made devils horns with his fingers (Nurgel 2015).He was convicted on 46 ofthese counts on September 20th, 1989, in a Los Angeles county court inCalifornia.
He was subsequently given a death sentence on October 3rd of thatsame year,” (Grise, 2000 p. 1). With the judge who dealt with theproceedings stating that his crimes he showed “brutality, cruelty andviciousness far beyond any human understanding.” Ramirez showed no expressionor remorse, and, after being convicted and handed his Death sentence, he lookedand stated, “big deal, death always went with the territory.
” He was stillbelieved to have committed many other murders and rapes across Los Angeles butwas never charged for any additional crimes. While on death row at San Quentin State Prison,Ramirez was diagnosed with cancer. He died in 2013. A possible explanation thatrelates as to why Richard Ramirez went on to become “The Night Stalker” couldbe that with Social Learning Theory according to (Sutherland 1947) that definesthat all behaviour is learned from others in as much as in the same way ascrime is learnt, relating to all other methods of behaviour which can also belearned. This can be associated with how Richard had learnt from his cousinMike in that from an early age he was shown graphic material ranging from thephotos his cousin had shown him with his sexual exploits, drugs and violencethat go together which created an intense pleasure for him. Another theory thatcan be related to Richard and his cousin would be differential associationtheory which is an extension of the social learning theory, in which it isdefined as saying that “A possible explanation for committing crime anddeviance is that people will also go on to pursue criminal behaviour to theextent that they may wish to identify themselves with real or imaginary peoplefrom which whose opinion of their deviant or criminal behaviour is deemed acceptable”(differential association theory Burgess et al 1966). Whenlooking at Richard Ramirez who had definitely developed in having a specialbond with his cousin Mike who went on to willingly teach Richard how to go on tocommit burglaries and perfect the art into committing burglaries such as beenable to pick locks, opening windows with knives and dressing in black to avoidreflections. With the material from the photos of what Mike had done inrelation to raping women, girls and getting them to perform sex acts on himjust prior to killing his victim excited the young Ramirez and the prospects ofdoing these awful crimes and being able to brag about it intrigued him as ifMike could do it then why not Richard?.
When trying to understand whatmay have caused Richard Ramirez a.k.a. “The Night Stalker” to go on to rape,torture, murder girls, women, and men between 1984 and 1985 could be acombination of different things with a learned behaviour from his cousinranging from the drugs, sex and violence also with his father’s violentbehaviour. Although Ramirezreportedly sustained multiple head injuries at an early age after he wasknocked unconscious by a swing at age 5, resulting in thirty stitches he beganexperiencing epileptic fits (Richard Ramirez Biography 2017).
With his personalthoughts about Satan and feeling protected could contribute in why RichardRamirez became a serial killer. Where there is a direct link between his cousinMike, and how Richard was taught how to become a career criminal after Mikespending so much time in showing off about his sexual exploits, and graphicallydetailing his killings to Richard through photos then Mike went on tocommitting the murder of his wife in-front of Richard could also have had aPsychological effect on his behaviour. Whether any biological forces that mayhave influenced Richard will ever be known we cannot say.
What we do know isthat Richard Ramirez a.k.a.
“The Night Stalker” crimes will never be forgotten.The type of Serial killer thatRichard could fall into could be categorised as a Hedonist. “Living andbehaving in ways that mean you get as much pleasure out of life as possible,according to the belief that the most important thing in life is to enjoyyourself” (dictionary.cambridge 2018). With all the information and lifestylechoices he was being shown by his Cousin Mike it may have delivered an adversepsychological effect on him. Mike was a Vietnam War hero with medals andstories to tell the admiration from Richard at such a young age which was thenfuelled with drink, drugs and an already psychotic teacher never less may havecaused or contributed the downfall of Richard Ramirez. Ramirez R, (2014). The NightStalker.
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