This week, Netflix released their new docuseries about Richard Ramirez, aka the Night Stalker. In the spring & summer of 1985, he terrorized the city of LA, torturing and murdering more than a dozen people.
We wanted to give you a quick little nib before you take the deep dive on the streaming platform! Some early critics of the doc have claimed that it goes “too far,” so brace yourselves, this one’s a little bumpy…
True Crime Shows. Why do I do this to myself?
These are the numbers for Richard Ramirez’s run as the media-dubbed “Night Stalker.” (Do we have a philosophical debate about how media glorifies serial killers... Nah, some other time. Let’s just get to the gore!)
From 1984 to 1985, Ramirez committed:
13 counts of murder
5 counts of attempted murder
11 counts of sexual assault
14 counts of burglary
And for these convictions, he was awarded 19 death sentences. There were plenty of detectives and police officers that helped in the lead up to Ramirez’s capture, but it was a quarter of East L.A. residents who got a hold of him first, beating him so severely that he begged the cops that showed up to save him.
Crime & Smog… why, oh why, do people live here again?
Often, true crime pulls us in because of the “why.” Why would someone act this way? In looking at the mental status of Ramirez, psychiatrist Michael H. Stone described the man as a “made” psychopath rather than a “born” psychopath.
Ramirez was strongly influenced by his older cousin, Miguel Ramirez, who had made it through Vietnam as a US Army Green Beret. Often sharing his grisly experiences with a teenage Ramirez, Miguel taught the young “Richie” some of his military skills.
A terrible temper combined with frequent drug use led eventually to an act of domestic violence - Miguel fatally shot his wife. According to those who know Richie, it was after this incident that his behavior took a turn for the worse - LSD and an interest in Satanism were just a few of the new vices. (Oh, who knew shooting your spouse might have some psychological consequences!)
Love at first…prison letter?
The incidents were so overly publicized that by the time of Ramirez’s trial, he was receiving letters and visits from many of his “fans.” One woman, Doreen Lioy, wrote him 75 letters. I guess that must’ve done the trick, as they were married in San Quentin in 1988.
Due to California’s lengthy appeals process, Ramirez was never executed. Instead he died in 2013 from complications due to lymphoma, hep C, and substance abuse. He was 53 years old.
Can we get one of those uplifting videos you do after depressing posts?
Of course! Click this link to a video that has been viewed on YouTube over 24 million times (just keep that in mind before you read the title.) Feeling better? Good. Now take a chomp on some longer bites:
(And hey, tell your friends about us. Share the love!)