‘Night Stalker’ Documentary Details Gruesome Crimes of Serial Killer


Photo credit: Bettman – Getty Images

Kevin Caballero, OwlFeed Opinion Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article details some violent actions that may be upsetting or not suitable to all readers.

With the recent attention that American Horror Story and Netflix has brought to the gruesome crimes of Richard Ramirez, here is what really happened to the infamous serial killer, the Night Stalker. 

In order to fully understand what happened, we must first get familiar with Ramirez. On the day of February 29, 1960, was when he was born in the city of El Paso, Texas. Richard was one of five children of his immigrant parents. It has been known that early on in his childhood he had sustained multiple head injuries which led to him experiencing epileptic episodes.

Multiple sources have mentioned one of Richard’s cousins, Miguel, who served in the Vietnam war had shown and told Ramirez about how he had tortured and sexually assaulted multiple women while serving. 

On May 4, 1973, Miguel got into a domestic dispute and shot his wife, who ended up dying. Shockingly Richard was there to witness the crime. 

Eventually, Richard moved to California and fell into a hard cocaine addiction. He was also arrested in 1981 and 1984 for theft.

Now that you know a bit more about Ramirez’s childhood we can start to see why and what caused him to commit the crimes that he did. 

On June 28, 1984, Ramirez committed his first murder. The first of many victims was Jennie Vincow, age 79. Ramirez did the unthinkable. Jennie was sexually assaulted and stabbed all on the same night Ramirez robbed her from her home. Several more murders and attacks would be carried out in Los Angeles and the surrounding area. 

Ramirez would usually start by breaking into his victims’ homes and getting everyone under control. You can imagine that this would be terrifying for anyone to experience anywhere, especially in your own home where you should feel safe and not have to worry.

Eventually, Ramirez moved onto San Francisco. He then went on to murder a man named Peter Pan. Peter’s wife Barbara Pan survived the attack and was taken to the San Francisco General Hospital. This time, Ramirez left satanic markings on the wall and had also left behind the message carved into the wall, “Jack the Ripper,” an obvious nod to the unidentified serial killer Jack the Ripper from the United Kingdom.

Ramirez is responsible for at least 13 murders. He of course was also responsible for sexual assaults, which included child victims, and home invasions as well.

The arrest of Richard Ramirez seems like something right out of a movie. Think of it like a scene where the town comes together to bring justice to a known criminal. In this case, it was a cold-blooded killer being surrounded by the people of East L.A.

Ramirez was captured on August 31, 1985. In the documentary, titled “Night Stalker.” it talks in detail about how he walked into a liquor store, picked up the newspaper, saw his face, and panicked. The store owner said, “Yeah, he looked at the picture of the newspaper. He looked and he looks really scared, you know?”

After this, he got on a bus and was making his way to go see his brother. While on the bus, people then started to recognize him, this being from his face being everywhere in the media. From this Ramirez then got off the bus and fled across the freeway, got into a neighborhood, and tried to steal Faustino Pinon’s car from his home. Pinon had to wrestle with Ramirez to keep his car. 

“I got him by the neck. We struggled back and forth for the car,” Pinon said. This line from Pinon perfectly shows the panic and frustration that Ramirez was experiencing due to being recognized on the bus. 

Photo credit: Bettman – Getty Images

After one failed attempt, he found another car with a woman inside and demanded it. This is when Manuel de la Torre stepped in to defend her. This shows how caring and close the community was that he felt the need to step in and save this random woman on the street.

After those two scuffled, Ramirez called it quits and sat on the sidewalk. Across the street, the angry mob was yelling at him for the gruesome crimes he had committed. After a while Andy Ramirez, who was the deputy of the L.A County Sheriff at the time, came up and handcuffed Richard and put him in the back of the car.

When Ramirez was taken to court he was found guilty of 13 counts of murder, five attempted murders, 11 sexual assault cases, and 14 burglaries. He was given the death sentence. On June 7, 2013, he died due to liver failure in the San Quentin State Prison in California. 

Night Stalker is a very good documentary. It goes into amazing detail, talks about the murders, and features footage of interviews with Richard. In my opinion, you should definitely watch if you have time.