The Night Stalker

Story Of Richard Ramirez


Image courtesy of Amino Apps.

Kalani Shipley, Writer

Richard Ramirez, also known by many as the Night Stalker terrorized Los Angeles residents for over a year. Richard had begun his killing spree just 14 months before his arrest. In that time he had killed 13 people, and attempted to kill five others. On June 28, 1984 Richard raped 79 year old Jennie Vincow. Jennie’s body was found in her bed, brutally raped with her throat slashed so deeply she was nearly decapitated. Her apartment had shown signs of forced entry and items were found to be missing. After the murder of Jennie it would be a few months before Richard would kill again.
March 17, 1985, Richards murder spree began with an assault on Maria Hernandez in her home. Maria managed to escape but her roommate Dayle Okazaki was not so lucky and ended up becoming Richards second victim. Later that night Richard would end up shooting and killing Tsai-Lian Yu. Richard would continue to stalk and kill his victims for fourteen months, striking terror into the hearts of Californians throughout the state. Ten days later Richard developed a pattern that would later come to define his murders when he attacked Vincent Zazzara, 64, and his wife 44 year old Maxine zazzara. Richard had begun by shooting and killing Vincent. Richard then assaulted Maxine before killing her with a knife. If that wasn’t horrific enough Richard also gouged out the eyes of Maxine.
Residents from Los Angeles to San Francisco feared the so-called “Night Stalker” as the news referred to him. Fearing that he would break into their homes while they slept, hellbent on preforming a satanic ritual of rape, torture, and murder. Richard’s reign of terror, struck seemingly at random. His victims were males and females ranging from ages twenty two to eighty, from all over southern California. The thing all his crime scenes had was evidence of satanic rituals. As news of the Night Stalker spread it seemed as though no one was safe. By August of 1985, the high anxiety of the public caused a huge surge in gun sales, lock installation and window bars.
Police had increased their presence on the street and the FBI created a special task force dedicated to hunt down the killer. Eventually a witness was able to describe the licence plate on the vehicle that belonged to Richard. Police tracked down the vehicle and discovered fingerprints they could run through the Los Angeles fingerprint database. With luck the LAPD was able to identify the fingerprints of Richard Ramirez. His fingerprints had been taken in 1960 after his petty crimes. One of Richard’s victims who had survived gave a description to a sketch artist and it was published in local newspapers. Richard hadn’t known his own fame, and when upon returning to Los Angeles a group of people on the street. This group ended up attacking Ramirez and beating him with a pipe and keeping him until police got to the scene. Richard was then convicted of five attempted murders, eleven sexual assaults, and fourteen burglaries. He was then sentenced to death by asphyxiation in a gas chamber. While on death row Richard died of cancer in 2013 at the age of 53.