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Night Stalker on Netflix: Why did Richard Ramirez kill and why was he called Night Stalker?

Ramirez killed 14 people in the 1980s in California

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Night Stalker on Netflix is the latest true-crime documentary that will likely have everyone talking in the coming weeks but why did its serial killer subject Richard Ramirez kill?

Ramirez –  an evil killer in Los Angeles and the wider California area during the 1980s – also became known as Night Stalker.

But who was Richard Ramirez, why was he called the Night Stalker and why did he kill?

Nightstalker on Netflix
Why did Richard Ramirez – also known as Night Stalker – kill? (Credit: Netflix)

Who is Richard Ramirez?

Richard Ramirez was born in El Paso, New Mexico in 1960.

The youngest of five children and the son of Mexican immigrants, his nickname with other family members was ‘Richie’.

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When he was 22, he dropped out of college and moved to California.

It was there in San Francisco that he started his murder spree.

Why did he have the nickname Night Stalker?

Unlike most serial killers, Ramirez didn’t follow a particular pattern [Modus Operandi – MO], making his attacks look like random intrusions.

It was staff at the LA Times who came up with the nickname.

During an editorial meeting, alternatives such as The Walk-in Killer and The Screen-Door Intruder were reportedly discussed.

The Night Stalker nickname refers to Ramirez’s nocturnal-based crimes.

Nightstalker on Netflix
Ramirez killed 14 people (Credit: Netflix)

Why did Richard Ramirez kill?

It’s claimed that Ramirez’s father was violent at home.

So much so, Ramirez slept rough in a cemetery to escape home life.

The teenage Ramirez went to live with his with cousin Miguel to escape it.

Miguel also bragged of raping Vietnamese women and murdered his wife in front of the 13-year-old Ramirez.

A Vietnam veteran, Miguel bragged of raping Vietnamese women and murdered his wife in front of the 13-year-old Ramirez.

Later, Ramirez moved in with his sister and brother-in-law.

An obsessive ‘peeping Tom’, the brother-in-law took Ramirez along during his nighttime exploits.

Ramirez then developed an interest in Satanism, started taking LSD and fantasised about sexual violence.

Nightstalker on Netflix
Ramirez was on Death Row for over 20 years (Credit: Netflix)

Is Richard Ramirez alive today?

Sentenced to death in 1985, he remained on Death Row for a further 24 years.

During that time, psychiatrists had evaluated that he had a schizoid personality disorder.

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A heavy drug user, he suffered from a chronic hepatitis C viral infection while in prison.

Ramirez died aged 53 after complications from B-cell lymphoma in a California hospital.

Nightstalker: The Hunt For A Serial Killer is available on Netflix from Wednesday January 13

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