Ontario High School

Murder flashbacks: The ‘Night Stalker’

Not too far from home and not too long ago, the “Night Stalker” committed several crimes in Southern California.

Ricardo Leyva Munoz Ramirez, or Richard Ramirez, was known as the “Night Stalker.” Ramirez was 24 years old when he became a serial killer, rapist, and thief on April 10, 1984. His terrors did not end until August 24, 1985. Ramirez was convicted of five attempted murders, thirteen confirmed murders, 25 other violent crimes all of these within the greater Los Angeles area.

Ramirez was known by media as “The Valley Intruder” before he was named the “Night Stalker” by the news media due to the murders he committed on March 17, 1985. He shot three random civilians in nearby cities. All three shootings took place within an hour. Ramirez was called the “Night Stalker” after March 27, 1985. That night at 2 a.m., he crawled into the window of a home in Whittier, California, where he robbed and killed a couple. Similar crimes, just like these cases, occurred across Southern California in Burbank, Arcadia, Sierra Madre, Glendale, Sun Valley, Northridge, Diamond Bar and  Mission Viejo.

Local Ontario resident, Sylvia Alaniz, age 61, states, “We would lock our windows every night. We [her family] lived in La Puente then. Everybody was scared to death, we practically slept with one eye open. We would watch the news every day to keep updated. They caught him on the same street where my husband used to live, Hubbard Street.”

The “Night Stalker” was eventually caught on August 30, 1985. The day before he was caught, he took a bus to Tuscon, Arizona to meet his brother. When he failed to find his brother, he returned to Los Angeles where police officers were waiting at the bus terminals but did not notice him walk past.

Ramirez walked to a convenience store and saw his face on the cover of news magazines. This caused him to flee in  panic across the Santa Ana Freeway. After attempting to steal three cars, he was hit over the head with a metal bar by a group of residents. Los Angeles police department took him into custody shortly afterwards.

Ramirez, a self-proclaimed satanist, never showed any remorse for his crimes. On November 7, 1989 he was sentenced to death in California’s Gas Chamber. Outside the trial he told reporters, “Big Deal. Death always went with the territory. See you in Disneyland.” The trial, at the time, was the most expensive case in the history of California, costing $1.8 million. He died on June 7, 2013 after awaiting execution on death row for more than 23 years.