They called him the "Night Stalker"--a shadowy fiend who would slip into darkened houses and savage the sleeping occupants. During his six month rampage in the spring of 1985, no on in Los Angeles felt safe.
Often, he would kill the husband first, then turn his depraved attentions to the woman. His victims--who ranged in age from thirty to eighty-three--were shot, slashed, bludgeoned, and viciously mutilated. In one case, he carved out the eyes of a forty-four-year-old woman and carried them off as trophies. Sometimes, he daubed satanic pentagrams on the bodies before fleeing into the night.
By early August 1985, he was officiallycredited with more than a dozen homicides. A few weeks later, after attacking another couple--shooting the man in the head and raping the woman--he fled in their car. After recovering the stolen vehicle, police were able to lift a clear set of fingerprints, which turned out to match those of a small-time hood named Richard Ramirez. An all-points bulletin was issued for the suspect, and his mug shot was brodcast on local TV.
On August 31, Ramirez tried to yank a woman from her car in a Hispanic neighborhood in East LA. Her screams drew the attention of passersby, who recognized Ramirez and pounced on him. Only the timely arrival of the police saved the "Night Stalker" from the enraged mob.
At his trial, Ramirez (who had also been involved in numerous sexual assaults, including the abduction-tape of several small children) indulged in various bizazrre antica. He enjoyed playing Satan, inscribing a pentagram on his left palm and flashing it to photographers, and making devil's horns with his fingers while intoning, "Evil, evil, evil..." He was ultimately convicted of thirteen murders and sentenced to death. "Big deal," he sneered when the judge handed down the sentence. "Death comes with the territory. See you in Disneyland."
According to his own estimate, the "Night Stalker" (who remains on death row) was responsible for even more murders than the thirteen he was convicted of. "I've killed twenty people, man," he told a fellow inmate. "I love all that blood."