Forensic Studies 009: Richard Ramirez

on September 13, 2011 in Forensic Studies, Serial Killers by

Ricardo Muños Ramirez (aka the Night Stalker) was born on February 29, 1960 in El Paso, Texas United States. He is Mexican American, and is 6”1 height, thin, dark long hair, dark skin, and brown eyes. He was the fifth and last child of Julian and Mercedes Ramirez, with three brothers and two sisters. His father was abusive to his children. On one occasion, at the age of two Richard had two severe head injuries and wasn’t treated properly. From when his father had beat him with a hammer until he bled. Richard attended Catholic Church regularly with his mother and sisters.

Offender characteristics
Ramirez stopped going to school in the ninth grade, so his educational level was low. He started going drugs at an early age, which over time ruins many brain cells. Ramirez’s father reported that he was a good kid but the drug use is what changed him. His cousin introduced him on how to use drugs such as marijuana. He may have been influenced by his cousin named Mike to become a murderer. Ramirez witnessed his cousin murder his wife, which may have been the turning point in life of evil. This cousin was a Vietnam vet who has mental problems due to the war. He had boasted of killing and torturing some of his Vietnamese enemies and spoke of the memories of the tortures and killings that went own when he was active. He related those memories to Ramirez. At the early age of thirteen. This cousin Mike also showed him some of the pictures of these victims. Ramirez became fascinated with the pictures of those victims who were tortured and killed.

Richard believes and imagined that he is the child of Satan. Through that he took to a life of crime, stealing money to pay for his drugs. In 1976, at the age of 16 he was arrested for breaking into a room at the hotel where he worked as a part time employee. Richard raped a woman at this place of employment. He was released when the judge believed him that that woman lured him in the room for sex.

In 1978, at the age of 18, he left El Paso and went to Los Angeles and there he started his acts of killing and raping people. He was also known to be an accomplished burglar on some cases. Taking drugs made him have an intense urge to do these crimes.

His way of killing people is first he would kill the husband or a man of the house then he could focus on the woman. There was no distraction and he then focused on the rape and killing of that woman. He would just kill in any way he felt at the time. Richard would use a gun, machete, knife, hammer, a tire iron, or any blunt object that he could use for the kill.

Motive characteristics
Richard Ramirez says he killed people for the devil. Ramirez was delusional if he thought the devil wanted him to kill people. How did he get his directions? The crime scene showed satanic writings on the walls with blood. He was an angry individual due to the nature of the attacks. He killed people to create his own torture and murderous scenes as he remembered from his cousin’s pictures for the war.

Assessment of the victims
His victims were random. He stalked them before killing them. He would break into the house and kill the male, most of the time it was the husband of the female victim, by shooting him in the head. After he shot the male, he would rape and torture the female before killing her. Age was not a factor in who Ramirez choose to kill or attack because he sodimized the son of a couple he attacked. With this couple, Ramirez killed the husband, raped the wife and son, and burglarized the home.
Ramirez had a victim, a 79 year old woman, who he stabbed to death and then her throat was slashed. This act happened inside the victim’s house. People called him the “night stalker” because he would capture his victims at night.

The way he killed his victims showed that he didn’t care if the police would find his presence or evidence. He just wanted to be able to take some of the innocent lives out of society. He makes no attempts to hide his identity of clean r take linkable evidence away from the crime scene. After his killed his victims, he would draw a pentagram on the victim’s body or on the wall of the crime scene. The pentagon was his signature. Now every time he kills someone and leaves this drawing, the police would know that he did all the crime in Los Angeles.

Behavioral evidence analysis
Ramirez was a power frenzied individual. He needed to be in control of the situation he was creating. This is the reason for the surprise attack. He needs to eliminate any threat which is why the male figures were killed first during the episode.

His photos were everywhere, so citizens were able to spot him on day on the street. An angry mob armed him with steel rods, caught him and allowed others to beat him until the police cam and arrested him. He raised his hands and asked the police to have his protection from the mob and identified that his serial killer called “night stalker.”

The San Francisco police caught a break when the manager of a flophouse came forward and claimed that a young man who fit the Stalker’s description had stayed at his establishment from time to time over the past year and a half. The manager remembered that the man had rotten teeth and smelled badly. The police check the room he had last stayed in. On the bathroom door they found a drawn pentagram.
On August 24, while the police in San Francisco were scrambling to find the mysterious young man with rotten teeth. A computer engineer and his 29-year-old fiancée had just drifted off to sleep when they were suddenly awakened by loud gunshots in the room. Instinctively she reached out to her fiancé, but he had been seriously wounded. Before she realized what was happening, the intruder grabbed her by the hair and hauled her into another bedroom where he tied her ankles and wrists with neckties.

The man then asked her if she knew who he was, admitting that he was the killer who was getting all the coverage in the press and on television. He rummaged through the house, looking for valuables, but there was nothing small enough to steal easily. Ramirez was angry that the couple had so little, he returned to her and raped her, not once but twice. The horrible stink of his breath made her gag. Then he forced her to perform oral sex on him. When he was finished, she was certain that he was going to shoot her just as he had shot her fiancé. But he didn’t. He laughed at her, and then suddenly he was gone.

She quickly worked herself free of the neckties and went to the window in time to see him getting into an old orange-colored Toyota station wagon. She immediately called 911. Earlier that night a teenager who had been working on his motorcycle in his parents’ garage had noticed the orange Toyota driving into the neighborhood, and jotted down the license plate number. With the plate number, the police were able to determine that the 1976 orange Toyota had been stolen in L.A.’s Chinatown while the owner was dining at a restaurant. The police kept the car under surveillance for nearly 24 hours in the hope that the Night Stalker would return for it, but he didn’t.

A forensics team scoured the car for evidence and came up with one good fingerprint which they sent to Sacramento for analysis. Hours later the computer had found a match. The print belonged to Ricardo “Richard” Leyva Ramirez. Further analysis revealed that this print matched a print taken from a window sill at the Pans’ house near San Francisco. At long last the police knew who their suspect was. When he was finally caught, reporters say that this was the longest trial ever made in American History. Richard Ramirez was found guilty 13 counts of murder, 5 attempted murder, 11 sexual assaults and 14 burglaries. He was sentenced to California’s gas chambers.

References:
Karagiozis, M. & Sagalio, R. (2005). Forensic Investigation Handbook. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas
Bruno, A. n.d. The Night Stalker: Serial Killer Richard Ramirez. Retrieved in August 2011

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