Born in Texas in 1960, Richard Ramirez "aka the night stalker" was an American serial killer who killed at least 14 people and raped and tortured at least two dozen more, mostly during the spring and summer of 1985. After developing epilepsy as a child, he became a heavy drug user and cultivated an interest in Satanism, which became a calling card for investigators at his crime scenes. Apprehended in August 1985, Ramirez was sentenced to death at the conclusion of his trial in 1989. He spent the remainder of his days at California's San Quentin Prison, before dying from cancer on June 7, 2013, at age 53.
As an adolescent, Ramirez was heavily influenced by his older cousin, Miguel, who had recently returned from fighting in the Vietnam War. The two smoked marijuana together as Miguel told Ramirez about the torture and mutilation he had inflicted on several Vietnamese women, corroborating these stories with photographic evidence. At age 13, Ramirez witnessed his cousin murder his wife.Dropping out of school in the ninth grade, Ramirez was arrested for the first time in 1977, for marijuana possession. He soon moved to California, progressing to cocaine addiction and burglary, and cultivating an interest in Satanism. He was arrested twice in the Los Angeles area for auto theft, in 1981 and again in 1984, and noticeably began to neglect his personal hygiene.
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