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Criminal Justice Essay on Richard Ramirez: A Serial Killer

Richard Ramirez: A Serial Killer


Dirk Cameron Gibson authored a book entitled, Serial Killing for Profit: Multiple Murders for Money which is a case study that outlines the biographies of different serial killers. These killers have been terrorizing the US citizens for the past years. The book examines multiple murder cases which are motivated by money. The serial killers were murdering people to secure pensions, inheritance and to sell bodies among other commercial acts. Richard Ramirez’s biography which is a case study in this book is reviewed in this paper.

Early life

“Richard” Ramirez Ricardo was born on 28th February 1960 in El Paso, Texas to Julian Ramirez and Mercedes. His family had seven children and he was the last born. Both of his parents were Mexicans of a poor background. They worked in the American railway. His family was very loving and they were Catholics. Ramirez and his sister called Ruth were very close and they lavished their time together.

However, Ramirez’s father was harsh to him. This made Ramirez spend a lot of time in a nearby cemetery any time he did something wrong as a way of avoiding his wrath. Ramirez could listen to music, watch scary cartoons and spend time alone most of the time. He went to Bowie Junior High school. According to his teacher, Ramirez’s performance was average. A teacher molested him at this school. Therefore, he was transferred to Lincoln school. While in high school he encountered difficulties. In college, Ramirez did not study beyond fresh year.

Ramirez engaged in drug abuse from the time he was 12 years old. He smoked marijuana and sniffed glue constantly, before he began using hard drugs such as cocaine. Before that time, Ramirez had a girlfriend in his neighborhood. The girlfriend recalls him as a gentle and caring partner. However, all this changed when he attained 18 years. Ramirez became a popular sadist that was not interested in sexual relationship and women.

Criminal Life

Ramirez had a cousin called Mike who greatly influenced him into becoming a criminal. Mike served as a soldier in a Vietnam base. When he returned from Vietnam to America, Mike narrated stories of fascinating events that entailed women torture and mutilation to Ramirez. Both smoked bhang and they spent a lot of time together. Consequently, Ramirez was alienated from the family. He even abandoned his catholic religion because he discussed the worship of Satan with Mike. Mike murdered his spouse one day in the presence of Ramirez.

During the 1978’s summer, Ramirez spent most of his time reading Anton La Vey’s Satanic Bible. He also started listening to music that comprises of satanic lyrics such as heavy metal rocks. Personally, Ramirez loved the stories of Jack the popular Ripper and Highway to Hell album by AC/DC. Ramirez worked for a Holiday Inn while pursuing his high school education. While there, he was accused of an attempted rape which made him lose this job. From that time, it was reported that Ramirez involved himself in different incidents of burglary in Los Angeles.

Ramirez assaulted, abducted and molested several children in 1985. Additionally, he violated different traffic rules severally. On 17th March 1985, Ramirez graduated into a serial killer when he attacked a girl aged 22 years. He shot her when she was about to enter her house. This time, Ramirez was 25 years old. Ramirez also shot another person inside the house killing him instantly. He went to Monterey Park that same day where he killed a lady aged 30 years old. Her son witnessed this murder and he is the one who discovered her body. This is the way Ramirez’s first crime became known to the public.

After ten days, Ramirez killed another person and mutilated the victim’s body with large T carvings. The operations of law enforcers were intensified. This caused Ramirez to stop his killings for a while. However, his anxiety to kill did not last longer. After two months, he continued killing and mutilating bodies of his victims. People gave him a nickname, The Night Stalker.

There was an occasion where a victim called Maxine wanted to kill Ramirez using a gun. Unfortunately, the gun did not have bullets. On realizing this, Ramirez killed her. He later removed the eyeballs from their sockets and then butchered her body. Ramirez demonstrated Satanism in several cases at his scenes of crime. He drew satanic graffiti and pentagrams any time he committed a crime. He shouted the name of Satan in the courtroom declaring that he was protected by Satan in all invasions that he made. He did not have an animal’s cruelty record. He also did not cause his victims’ arson. Ramirez only stubbed the victims to death and mutilated their dead bodies.


Apart from epilepsy and tooth decay, Ramirez did not suffer from any major health problems during his life. The few health problems that he had were due to his dependence on fast food. This affected him health-wise later. He suffered a traumatic incident during his childhood after a dresser knocked his head. His attorney told him to defend himself with this mental disorder during trial. However, Ramirez declined and eventually the court found that he was competent to be tried.

Trial and Conviction

Ramirez’s first conviction occurred in 1977. This led him into a juvenile detention. He was given a probation sentence in 1982 for possessing bhang. He was put on trial twice. In the last trial, Ramirez faced 68 cases of felony. However, he was guilty of just 43 charges. Melvin Belli was the attorney hired for him. Before his case was heard, The Los Angeles Times had published a story that claimed that Ramirez was overheard by the prison workforce conspiring to sneak a gun inside the court so that he could shoot his prosecutor. Consequently, metal detectors were put in the court room. Thorough search was also conducted on the people in the court building. It was surprising to find that Ramirez had fans and female visitors who sent love letters to him. Some proposed to marry Ramirez in their letters. There was a twist of his case when a member of the jury, Phyliss Singletary declined to go into the court room. Later, her dead body was found in her apartment.

After one year on 7th November 1989, Ramirez was held accountable for 13 murder counts as well as 30 assorted felonies. The jury sentenced him to death. This judgment did not bother him. He was remanded to San Quentin where he awaited execution. Nevertheless, his execution did not take place. He appealed severally and on the August of 2007, his appeals or rehearing of any case was denied by the Supreme Court of California. Ramirez developed hepatitis C because of abusing substances excessively. He died on 7th June 2013 while waiting to be executed. He was 53 years old when he died.

In a nut shell, Gibson notes that Ramirez became a hopeless addict after abusing drugs for a long time. He killed people trying to get their valuables. He became a heartless person who could steal even from his sisters regardless of their high poverty levels. Despite Ramirez having connection to demonic acts, Gibson believes that he committed crimes to get money for supporting his addiction to drugs.


Work Cited

Gibson, Dirk C. Serial Killing for Profit: Multiple Murder for Money. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger/ABC-CLIO, 2010. Print.


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