richard ramirez
El Paso Times / California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

Growing up in Los Angeles, I recall the sheer fright of this man. I was about 10-years old when he was terrorizing Northern California entering homes through unlocked windows and doors.

We were out right scared of this man, and then all of a sudden in 1985 in East Los Angeles, Ramirez was run down and beaten by residents of a neighborhood after he tried to carjack a vehicle. I can still remember watching the news with my mom and brother and realizing that the nightmare for a lot of people was over.

Known as "the Night Stalker," Ramirez was convicted of 13 murders including charges of rape, sodomy, oral copulation, burglary and attempted murder.

His trial took a year, but the entire case, which was bogged down in pretrial motions and appeals, lasted four years, one of the longest criminal cases in U.S. history.

Then some how, Ramirez, who happened to be a native of El Paso, had a following of young women admirers who came to the courtroom regularly and sent him love notes. How crazy was that? Finally, he married 41-year-old freelance magazine editor Doreen Lioy in a visiting room at San Quentin prison.

Richard Ramirez, 53, had been taken from San Quentin's death row to a hospital, where authorities said he died of liver failure. He had been housed on death row for decades and was awaiting execution, even though it has been years since anyone has been put to death in California.


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