The Night Stalker Richard Ramirez

The history knows a lot of cruel murderers, but only some of them are worth to be studied because their cases are so unique that it was even difficult to find these murderers. This paper is devoted to Richard Ramirez and his cruel murders. Richard was born in Texas and was the youngest of five children in his family. His father was a policeman and believed in corporal punishment and abusive way of raising his children. When he was a child, Ramirez got two serious head injuries: the first when a dresser fell on him, and the second when he was knocked out by a swing; besides he had epilepsy. His cousin Mike participated in the Vietnam War, and when he returned home he showed Richard pictures of victims; besides there were pictures where Mike was raping a woman; the last picture was where Mike was posing with the head of a murdered woman. When Ramirez was thirteen, he was present when Mike killed his wife, and a teenager felt the drops of blood on his face. After this event, he changed his life: he left school, began to use drugs and developed strange sleeping habits.

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The list of victims of the Night Stalker is rather long. He started to murder at the age of twenty four, in 1984, and was caught the next year; but nevertheless it is very difficult to believe that he had killed all those people in only one year:

April 10, 1984 - Mei Leung

June 28, 1984 - Jennie Vincow, 79, Glassell Park. Her throat was slashed. Murder, burglary.

March 17, 1985 - Dayle Okazaki, 34, and Maria Hernandez, 20, Rosemead. Dayle was shot to death. Murder, attempted murder, robbery.

March 17, 1985 - Veronica Yu, 30, Monterey Park. Drug from her car and shot. Murder.

March 27, 1985 - Vincent Zazzara, 64 and his wife Macine, 44, Whittier. Stabbed and mutilated. Two counts of murder, sexual charges.

May 14, 1985 - Bill Doi, 66, Monterey Park. Shot to death. Murder, robbery, sexual charges.

May 30, 1985 - Carol Kyle, 41, Burbank. Rape, Sodomy, oral copulation, burglary. Burglary, sex charges, robbery.

June 1, 1985 - Mable "Ma Bell" Bell, 83, and sister, Florence "Nettie" Lang, 80, Monrovia. Keller was bludgeoned to death, and satanic symbol were scraped in various places. Murder, attempted murder, robbery.

July 2, 1985 - Mary Louise Cannon, 75, Arcadia. Beaten and throat slashed. Murder, burglary.

July 5, 1985 - Whitney Bennett, 16, Sierra Madre. Attempted murder, burglary.

July 7, 1985 - Joyce Lucille Nelson, 61, Monterey Park. Beaten to death. Murder, burglary.

July 7, 1985 - Sophie Dickman, 63, Monterey Park. Raped and sodomized. Burglary, robbery, sex charges.

July 20, 1985 - Max, 68, and Lela Kneiding, 66, Glendale. Both shot to death. Two counts of murder, robbery.

July 20, 1985 - Chainarong Khovananth, 32, Sun Valley. Shot to death...his son and wife were both sodomized. Murder, robbery, burglary, sex offenses.

August 8, 1985 - Elyas Abowath, 35, Diamond Bar. Shot while sleeping. Murder, robbery, burglary, rape. (Victims)

It was very difficult for the police to find the murderer, although he was caught by the angry mob when he was trying to steal a car, which owner was underneath repairing it. When the owner heard that someone had started the engine of the car, he came from underneath and came up to the robber. Ramirez warned him that he had a gun, but that did not help; when the Night Stalker understood that his words had no impact, he tried to drive away. The car crashed into a fence and then into a garage; after that the angry owner of the car pulled Ramirez out of a car and wanted to beat him, but the criminal ran up to another car, but that was noticed by her husband who

“grabbed a length of metal fence post as he passed through the gate along the side of the house. In the meantime Jose Burgoin, who had heard the ruckus in Faustino Pinon's driveway, had called the police. He ran outside to help Pinon, and when he heard Angelina scream, he called to his sons— Jaime, 21, and Julio, 17—to come quick. As the brothers ran to help Mrs. De la Torres, they saw the skinny stranger scrambling across the front seat of her car. Jaime recognized him from photographs that had been published in the newspapers and broadcast on television. He yelled that this was the killer, the Night Stalker! The men made a mad dash to catch him. Ramirez ran for his life, but Manuel de la Torres caught up with him and hit him across the neck with the three-and-a- half-foot metal post. Ramirez kept running, but de la Torres stayed on him, whacking him repeatedly from behind. Jaime Burgoin caught up with Ramirez and punched him. Ramirez stumbled and fell but quickly got up and continued running with de la Torres and the Burgoin brothers on his heels.” (Bruno)

Then Ramirez turned around and faced the angry mob. He was pretending to be a madman: sticking out his tongue to the mob and laughing; for a moment people around him were shocked and stunned, but then they began to follow him again. In some meters de la Torres hit his head, and Richard fell down on the ground; two men were holding him tight until the police arrived.

This case is also remarkable not only for the history but also for the present of criminology: this is one of the first cases where the technology of identifying a criminal using his or her fingerprints was used.  Nowadays the modern technologies allow detectives to take fingerprints already on the crime scene, and they are found in the database in no time. However, in 1985 the situation was different. The use of computers was not so wide spread as it is now; that is why detectives should have looked through the database on their own, using their hands and eyes; and obviously it was taking too much time. Besides, it was not very useful because detectives are also humans and tend to make mistakes. The first systems of identifying fingerprints were very expensive, but it was worth it: to spend that money and catch such a dangerous criminal as the Night Stalker. That is why, in 1985, the California Department of Justice used this system for the first time and it immediately identified the fingerprints of the Night Stalker – Richard Ramirez. The case of the Night Stalker has proved that it was worth spending that money; and such databases are very useful and not so time consuming as the work of detectives who had to look through the whole database and all the fingerprints. Nowadays such technologies are widely used in criminal justice and Richard Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker, is behind the bars waiting on the death row.

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