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California death row inmate Richard Ramirez died inside a hospital today at the age of fifty-three, officially ending a strange horrifying life that left plenty of chaos in its wake. The Department of Corrections refused to go into specifics related to how the so-called “Night Stalker”, who was on death row for more than two decades, died, but TMZ is claiming it was from Hepatitis C, which may or may not have been contracted from one of his forced sexual contacts.
Over a two year span in the mid-1980s, Ramirez killed at least thirteen people in California. He also raped at least nine women, attempted to kill at least five other people, committed at least fourteen burglaries and outraged residents of Los Angeles. When authorities finally released his identity to the public in August of 1985, an angry mob of East LA residents hunted him and beat him within an inch of his life before police finally moved in and arrested him.
Ramirez’s subsequent trial lasted more than a year, involved more than one hundred witnesses and captivated the entire nation. Dubbed the “Night Stalker” prior to his arrest, Ramirez appeared in court with a pentagram on his hand. When one of the jurors was murdered during the proceedings, many associated with the trial were convinced the defendant had somehow broken out of his cell and sent a message to the other jurors. A later investigation, however, revealed it was actually the woman’s boyfriend who had killed her.
Ramirez may not be the first person people think of when the term serial killer comes up, but his horrific crimes will still be remembered for decades to come. Here’s to hoping his death was able to bring some of the victims and their families a measure of peace.