Posts tagged ‘killers’

Profile of an American Serial Killer: Richard Ramirez

Ricardo Leyva Múñoz Ramirez, born February 29, 1960

El Paso, Texas, United States

a.k.a. “Richard Ramirez,” “Night Stalker,” “El Matador”

Ramirez in Court
“Serial killers do, on a small scale, what governments do on a large one.” – Ramirez

As a young girl living in Glendale, CA, at the same time the Night Stalker terrorized Southern California, I was first introduced to the concept of a serial killer, thanks to none other than Richard Ramirez.

My late father, God rest his soul (March 31, 1944 – March 9, 1991), formerly a police officer in Maricopa County, Arizona, warned me about the Night Stalker and made sure our family was safe by securing the windows and doors at night himself.  He even went so far as installing wrought iron bars on every window and a gate made of wrought iron around the house.  I didn’t know it at the time, but found out after he died that he also had a .38 Special and a .357 Magnum hidden to protect us.

Growing up being a cop’s daughter has some interesting side effects.

Nonetheless, the subject of Richard Ramirez is a portrait of tragedy, neglect, drug abuse and epic law enforcement failure.

As a boy, Ramirez was a quiet, kind-hearted child, the youngest of five, born to working class Mexican immigrants Julián Ramírez and Mercedes Muñoz.  Ramirez is remembered as a loner by his classmates.  When he was two, he developed a contusion on his head after sustaining an injury caused by a dresser falling on him.  He had to receive over 30 stitches.  When Ramirez was six years old, he was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy and suffered from grand mal seizures.  By 10 years old, Ramirez had developed a strange fondness for the dead and began spending the night and sleeping in cemetaries near his home.

Ramirez began to grow close with his cousin Mike who was a Special Forces Vietnam War Veteran.  Mike used to talk at length with Ramirez about his escapades in Vietnam; how Mike tortured and killed several women.  He justified his torture and murder of these women by saying they were the enemy and no one cared about them anyway.  Mike took pictures of the graphic displays of violence and proudly showed them to his young cousin Ramirez.  At such a tender time in Ramirez’ adolescence, he was exposed to two forces of humanity normally kept very separate.  These forces were infused in Ramirez’ mind and he grew up thinking sex and violence were one in the same.

Mike and Ramirez would spend time together smoking cannabis and driving around town, having conversations about murder where Mike would give Ramirez advice on the proper method to shoot and cut people for “maximum effect.”

One day, during an argument with his wife about his unemployment, Mike shot his wife in the face, while Ramirez stood 2-3 feet away.  Ramirez never told anyone he witnessed the murder, and one may discern that Ramirez became the Night Stalker at this time in his life, before he had ever actually hurt anyone else.  Ramirez reportedly saw blood “squirting” from the wound in Mike’s wife’s head, and drew great pleasure from the sight.

After this turning point in Ramirez’ life, he began compartmentalizing (compartmentalizing is a known psychological behavior in sociopaths with the propensity to commit murder and live a normal life at the same time without any emotional interference) and subsequently lost his cousin/mentor Mike, who was arrested and declared insane, then placed in a mental asylum; Ramirez also started skipping school, smoking cannabis and sniffing glue by the time he was in seventh grade.  Ramirez became a thief to support his drug use.  Ramirez attended Thomas Jefferson High School in El Paso, Texas, dropping out before completing one year.  During that time, Ramirez was arrested twice for possession of illegal substances.

Once Ramirez had dropped out of high school and started getting a criminal record, he continued to spin out of control, drawing five-point pentagrams on his body and declaring his loyalty to Satan.  Ramirez began using cocaine daily, neglected his personal hygiene and survived on junk food.  His teeth slowly began rotting making his breath foul and offensive, a trait his surviving rape victims would terribly remember.

How to describe Richard Ramirez in five words?  Sloth, murderer, paedophile, chauvenist, Satanist.

Richard Ramirez’ victims of choice were mainly women; he only killed men when they were in the way of him overtaking the female.  Then he got them out of the way as quickly as possible by shooting them in the head.

Ramirez didn’t have a certain type of woman he targeted.  The ages of the women he killed ranged from 6 to 83.  Ramirez had no regard for human life and would rape and mutilate his victims without regret.

One living victim of Richard Ramirez reported having to profess her love for Satan while performing fellatio on Ramirez.

Ramirez played games with police, jumping from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, exploiting the poor communication between them.  Poor police work kept the Night Stalker in business for over a year, torturing, raping and murdering innocent Californians from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

One night in late August, 1985, a teenager who was working on his motorcycle at his parents’ house noticed a strange orange Toyota driving into the neighborhood, and noticed it again as it was leaving.  The teenager was suspicious, so he wrote the license plate number down and called the police the next morning.  Police determined that the 1976 orange Toyota had been stolen in Chinatown while the owner was dining at a restaurant.  An alert was put out for the car, and two days later it was located in the Rampart section of Los Angeles.  Having connected the vehicle to Ramirez, the police kept the car under surveillance for 24 hours hoping they would catch the Night Stalker as he came to claim his vehicle, but to their dismay, he never showed up.

Forensics revealed a good fingerprint on the car which turned out to belong to Ricardo “Richard” Leyva Múñoz Ramírez.  Further analysis revealed that this print matched a print taken from a window sill at the Pans’ home, where Ramirez killed Peter, aged 66, and raped his wife Barbara, aged 64.

Police immediately released Ramirez’ mug shot photograph to the press, naming him as the Night Stalker and dispatched units to the Greyhound bus station in Los Angeles, expecting to find Ramirez there ready to escape.  What they didn’t know is that Ramirez wasn’t even in California at the time his photo had been released.  He was in Arizona visiting a brother, but was returning that day.

Richard Ramirez Mug
Ramirez Los Angeles County Jail booking photo

On August 31, Ramirez arrived in the downtown Greyhound Los Angeles bus station, unaware of police present.  As Ramirez left the bus station, he noticed the area was flooded with cops, but managed to get past them unnoticed, still unaware that he had been identified as the Night Stalker.  He walked to the corner store to get some coffee, and the clerk immediately recognized his face and began shouting, “El Matador (“The Killer”)!”  Ramirez noticed that his face had made several front covers on the newspaper rack in front of him so he grabbed La Opinion, and ran.

Ramirez ran two miles east from downtown Los Angeles, looking for a car to steal so he could get away quickly.  He found Faustino Pinon’s red Ford Mustang, unaware that Pinon was underneath it working on the engine.  Ramirez noticed the car was unlocked and the keys were in the ignition so he jumped in and started it.  As soon as Pinon, aged 56, heard the engine start, he rolled out from under the car, angry.  Pinon grabbed Ramirez around the neck and Ramirez warned Pinon that he had a gun, but Pinon ignored him.  Ramirez put the car in gear and tried driving away, but Pinon would not let go of him.  The car crashed into a fence, then a garage.

Pinon then opened the door, dragging Ramirez out and threw him to the ground.  Ramirez struggled and got away, running across the street to the De la Torres residence as 28-year-old Angelina de la Torres was getting into her Ford Granada.  He stuck his head through the driver’s side window and demanded the keys from her, threatening, in Spanish, to kill her if she did not.  She screamed for help, and her husband Manuel, aged 32, came running from the backyard grabbing a length of metal fence post as he passed through the gate along the side of the house.  Jose Burgoin, a neighbor, heard the struggle in Pinon’s driveway, and immediately called police.  He ran outside to help Pinon and heard Angelina screaming. Burgoin called his sons (Jaime, 21, and Julio, 17) for assistance.  As the Burgoin brothers ran to help Mrs. De la Torres, they saw Ramirez scrambling across the front seat of her car.  Jaime recognized him from the pictures in the newspapers and on television and yelled that this was the killer, and all the men made a mad dash to catch him.  Ramirez ran for his life, but Manual de la Torres caught up with him and hit him across his neck with the metal post he carried with him.

Ramirez got up and continued running away, desperately trying to avoid capture, but De la Torres followed him, bashing him repeatedly from behind.  Jaime Burgoin caught up with Ramirez and punched him. Ramirez fell to the ground but quickly dusted himself off and continued to run with De la Torres and the Burgoin brothers at his heels.  Finally, De la Torres swung hard and hit Ramirez on the head.  Ramirez collapsed immediately, and the Burgoin brothers tackled him, holding him to the ground until police arrived.

Within 24 hours of naming Ramirez as the Night Stalker and releasing his picture to the public, he was behind bars where he belongs.

Ramirez was charged with 14 murders and 31 other felonies related to his 1985 crime spree.  He was also charged with a 15th murder in San Francisco and rape and attempted murder charges in Orange County.

Richard Ramirez Horns
“Big deal. Death always went with the territory. I’ll see you in Disneyland.” What Ramirez told reporters when he received the death penalty in November 1989.

At the time of this writing, it’s been almost 21 years since Ramirez has been sentenced to die in San Quentin’s gas chamber.  In that time, Ramirez has become a celebrity, developed a following, attracted groupies, married a groupie who has planned to kill herself once Ramirez has been executed and started a cult.

[[Conversation between Richard Ramirez and “Eric Gein,” a murderabilia collector.]]

Richard Ramirez, condemned on California Death Row

Ramirez was a fan of the Australian hard rock band AC/DC and, according to police, wore an AC/DC concert -shirt and left an AC/DC hat at one of the crime scenes.  Ramirez says, “Night Prowler,” by AC/DC from their album “Highway to Hell”, was a big influence for his actions.  The song helped name him while police fumbled to figure out just who this madman was.

Ramirez still lives in San Quentin, and still has a fan base.

[[“Night Prowler” – AC/DC]]

[[“Night Prowler” by AC/DC – Lyrics]]

Profile of an American Serial Killer: John Wayne Gacy

John Wayne Gacy, Jr., born March 17, 1932

Chicago, Illinois, United States

a.k.a.  John Gacy, Pogo the Clown, Killer Clown

“A clown can get away with murder.” – Gacy

Born in Chicago to John Wayne Gacy Sr., a machinist, and Marion Elaine Robinson, John Wayne Gacy, Jr. was the second of three children and the only son.  His father, John, was an alcoholic and abused John Jr. from the time he was a very small child.  John Jr. was teased relentlessly by his father, who often called the overweight, ill-at-ease boy a “sissy.”  John Jr. was close to his sisters and mother, however, who affectionately called him “Johnny.”

Most of John Gacy Jr.’s child life was tumultuous.  Gacy suffered a head injury at age 11; he was struck in the head with a swing forming a blood clot in his brain that was undetected until he was 16 and began to have blackouts.  Regular medication dissolved the clot but at 17, Gacy was diagnosed with a heart ailment that he was hospitalized for several times during his life.

Why did Gacy kill young boys?  There are several, possible, logical answers to this question.  First, it was misplaced anger toward his father that drove him to prey on young boys.  He knew from experience their vulnerabilities, and used this against them, as a way of justifying his own inability to fend off his father’s attacks.  He wanted to be like his father so that he could understand his father.  Once he did that, he steadily progressed into one of America’s most prolific and horrifying serial killers.  It was the addiction to power that fueled his desire to kill.

Second, Gacy killed young boys because he was ashamed of his homosexuality.  Even though he was nonchalant about his sexual preferences when his second wife started discovering gay porn stashes, this was a part of his façade.  Gacy didn’t allow anyone to truly know him, aside from his victims, because to truly know him meant immeasurable suffering.  Gacy kept his family separated from his monstrous acts as much as he possibly could.  He reserved his projection of self-hatred for his helpless victims.

How to describe John Wayne Gacy in five words?  Cowardly, paedophile, sadist, murderer, theatrical.

Gacy was likable.  It was a very natural quality he possessed and used to his advantage.  In 1964, Gacy graduated from Northwestern Business College and became a management trainee with the Nun-Bush Show Company.  Weeks later, he was transferred to Springfield, IL, where he met and married a well-to-do woman named Marlynn Myers in September 1964.  He became very active in local community organizations, joining the Jaycees and climbing to Vice-President of the Springfield chapter a year later.

Gacy was offered a job as a manager of a Waterloo, Iowa, KFC franchise purchased by Marlynn’s parents, and he accepted.  After the Gacys settled in Waterloo and had a son and a daughter, rumors of Gacy’s homosexuality began to spread.  Regardless, Gacy was still named “Outstanding Vice-President” of the Waterloo Jaycees in 1967.

There was a dark side to the Jaycee lifestyle Gacy was heavily involved in.  Gacy opened a club in his basement in Waterloo, and invited young boys over to participate in prostitution, pornography, drugs and alcohol.  After the young boy had a few drinks, Gacy would make sexual advances toward him.

Gacy’s life came to an abrupt halt in March 1968 when he was accused of sexually assaulting two teenage boys, aged 15 & 16.  Gacy maintained his innocence and hired another Waterloo boy to assault one of his accusers, but the plan was uncovered by police.  Gacy was convicted of sodomy and sentenced to 10 years in the Iowa State Penitentiary.

John Wayne Gacy’s first mug shot

Gacy’s wife, Marlynn, filed for divorce, and it was final in 1969.  Gacy never saw his children again.  While Gacy was incarcerated, his father died from cirrhosis on Christmas Day, 1969.  Gacy was released from prison after only serving 18 months of a 10-year sentence, due to his good behavior, in 1970.  After he was released, Gacy returned to his home in Illinois to live with his mother, hiding his criminal record from everyone he came into contact with.

Throughout the next six years, Gacy demonstrated odd, violent, abusive and dishonest behavior.  In 1971, he bought a house at 8214 West Summerdale Avenue in an unincorporated area of Norwood Park Township, Cook County, which is just northwest of the Chicago neighborhood Norwood Park.  Underneath the house was a four-foot deep crawl space under the floor.

Gacy was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct on February 12, 1971.  A teenage boy claimed Gacy picked him up and attempted to have sex with him.  The charges were dropped after the boy failed to appear in court.  Luckily for Gacy, the Iowa Board of Parole did not find out about this incident, and he was discharged from parole in October 1971.  Less than a year later, Gacy was arrested again and charged with battery after a young man accused Gacy of impersonating a police officer, and said he was forced into sex by Gacy.  Mysteriously, those charges were also dropped.

Gacy remarried in 1972, this time to a teenage acquaintance, Carole Hoff.  Hoff moved her two daughters into the Summerdale Avenue house and three years later, Gacy started his own business, PDM Contractors.  It was around this time that his marriage to Carole began to deteriorate and Gacy began killing; Gacy began staying out all night and Carole found strange things in his absence like wallets with IDs from young men and gay pornography.  Just four years after they married, the Gacys were divorced in March 1976, and Carole moved out with her two daughters.  By the time Carole left, Gacy had already killed two boys, Timothy McCoy and John Butkovich, and had buried their bodies in the crawlspace under the floor.

8214 West Summerdale Avenue

After Carole left, Gacy turned inward and focused on intertwining his perversions with his professional life, killing zealously.  Just prior to the Gacys’ divorce, Gacy had created a character he coined “Pogo the Clown.”  He took pride in his unique style of face-painting, saying he painted the sharp corners at the edges of his mouth contrary to the rounded borders that professional clowns typically have because he said he didn’t want to “frighten small children.”  Pogo the Clown performed at many parties and events and at the Good Luck Lounge, a local bar he frequented before going home.

Gacy became a fixture in Chicago’s Democratic Party, eventually earning him special clearance by the United States Secret Service.  By then, he had killed and buried around 20 young boys, burying most of them in the crawlspace at his home, and when he ran out of space there, he started dumping bodies in the Des Plaines River.

JohnGacy & RosalynnCarter
Gacy & First Lady Rosalynn Carter, 1978

On December 11, 1978, Gacy lured Robert Piest, a 15-year-old boy, away from his after school job on the pretense of discussing a construction job, one of the many ways he lured young boys into his home.  Piest happened to alert his mother prior to his disappearance, telling her in their last conversation, that “some contractor wants to talk to me about a job.”  He was never seen alive again.

Des Plaines police were convinced Gacy had something to do with Piest’s disappearance, and checked his criminal record, finding an outstanding battery charge against him in Chicago and that he had served time in Iowa for sodomy.  After obtaining a search warrant, police found several suspicious items including a high school class ring, driver’s licenses, handcuffs and various pornography.  Upon further investigation, Gacy was linked to the disappearance of three other youths.

On December 20, 1978, Gacy invited two surveillance detectives into his home. The detectives immediately noticed the smell of corpses coming from a heating duct.  In the days prior to his arrest, Gacy pompously claimed to two police officers, “You know, clowns can get away with murder!”  On December 22, police obtained a second search warrant of Gacy’s residence.  Officers arrested Gacy on a marijuana possession charge to detain him while they searched the house.  When they started digging in the crawlspace of Gacy’s Norwood Park Township home, police uncovered several human bones and charged Gacy with murder.

“I was born in a state of confusion,” Gacy’s response to arresting officers when asked where he was born. Here he is pictured, laughing at his own wit.

Gacy confessed to police that since 1972, he killed approximately 25-30 young men and boys, telling detectives that most victims’ bodies could be found in the crawlspace at his residence in the basement, or in other places around the property.  After he had filled his crawlspace with bodies, he threw approximately five bodies off of the I-55 bridge into the Des Plaines River.  Gacy drew a diagram of his placement of the bodies in the basement to aid police with their search.

On February 6, 1980, Gacy’s trial began in Chicago, Illinois.  Gacy entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, but it was rejected.  According to Gacy’s lawyer, Sam Amirante, Gacy was sane before and after the murders, only losing his mind during the commission of.  During the trial, Gacy found humor in his circumstances, saying that the only thing he was truly guilty of was “running a cemetary without a license.”  At another time during the trial, Gacy’s lawyer tried to claim that all 33 murders were accidental, caused by erotic asphyxia.  This was dismissed by the Cook County Coroner with evidence that Gacy’s assertion was impossible.  Gacy had already confessed to police and could not have this evidence suppressed.  The jury found him guilty on March 13, 1980 and sentenced him to die by lethal injection.

On May 10, 1994, Gacy was executed at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois, by lethal injection.  It was a media field day and crowds gathered in celebration outside the penitentiary, cheering when Gacy was pronounced dead after a botched execution.  (An inexperienced executioner caused an unexpected clog which delayed Gacy’s death by ten minutes.)

After his execution, Gacy’s brain was removed and it is now in the possession of Dr. Helen Morrison, a defense witness at Gacy’s trial who interviewed Gacy and other serial killers trying to isolate common personality traits of violent sociopaths.  Research and thorough examination of Gacy’s brain revealed no abnormalities.

Profile of an American Serial Killer: Theodore Robert Bundy

Theodore Robert Cowell, born November 24, 1946

Burlington, Vermont, United States


Theodore Robert Bundy, Ted Bundy, Chris Hagen, Richard Burton, Officer Roseland, Rolf Miller

Ted Bundy in Court

Ted Bundy was born Theodore Robert Cowell at the Elizabeth Lund Home For Unwed Mothers in Burlington, VT, to Eleanor Louise Cowell.  A bastard child, Ted was raised to believe that his grandparents were his birth parents, and his mother was his older sister.  Ted didn’t find out the truth about his family until he was already in college.

Speculation exists that suggests Ted was driven into his murderous frenzy due to the knowledge of his true parentage, however, Ted was known to readily dismiss any gossip about him or attempts to analyze him, no matter how logical the claim.

How to describe Ted Bundy in five words?  Narcissist, necrophiliac, paedophile, murderer, sociopath.

Why were Ted’s victims so similar (pretty, young, dark-haired girls who wore their hair parted down the middle)?  According to Ann Rule in her book, “The Stranger Beside Me,” Ted was obsessed with his former college girlfriend, Stephanie Brooks, who allegedly broke his heart because she didn’t believe Ted was good enough for her (had long dark hair which she parted down the middle).  Distraught by this revelation, Ted then discovered the truth about his childhood shortly thereafter, and his crime spree began not long following.

Ted dismissed Ann Rule’s observation about the haunting similarity of each of his victims, stating that they were all very different, and they just fit the mold of standard, good-looking girls.

Georgeann Hawkins, Bundy victim – click for info

Why didn’t Ted kill his former girlfriend Stephanie when she rejected him?  Instead, he pushed forth in his studies, and was accepted into law school.  He had even moved on romantically, and had a good job working the phones at a Seattle crisis center where he worked with then budding author Ann Rule, but his desire for revenge drove him to lead a double life.

After winning Stephanie back, even though he was already involved with another girl, Ted proposed marriage.  Upon Stephanie’s acceptance, he dumped her.

One might wonder how Stephanie Brooks feels now that she knows all this about her former college sweetheart.

Carol DaRonch testimony

Overall, it is unknown how many women Ted Bundy actually killed during his time as a predator.  Some say 36, some say over 100.  In the end, Ted Bundy earned the reputation as one of America’s most prolific serial killers.

Bite Mark Testimony at the Chi Omega Trial

The night before Ted was scheduled to be executed, in a taped interview granted to Dr. James Dobson, Ted blamed pornography for his violent urges, saying that it was his profound sexual desire that drove him to kill.

After a sit in Florida’s “Old Sparky,” Ted was pronounced dead at 7:16AM on January 24, 1989.

People gathered outside the prison for the event.  When Ted Bundy was pronounced dead, the crowd cheered.

Kimberley Leach, age 12; Bundy’s last victim

“I want to master life and death.”

“I just liked to kill, I wanted to kill.”

“What’s one less person on the face of the earth, anyway?”

“Sometimes I feel like a vampire.”

“I don’t feel guilty for anything. I feel sorry for people who feel guilt.”

“Personalized stationary is one of the small but truly necessary luxuries of life.”

“We serial killers are your sons, we are your husbands, we are everywhere. And there will be more of your children dead tomorrow.”

“There’s gonna be people turning up in canyons and there are gonna be people being shot in Salt Lake City because the police there aren’t willing to accept what I think they know, and they know that I didn’t do these things.”

“There’s no question about it. The FBI’s own study on serial homicide shows that the most common interest among serial killers is pornography. Well-meaning, decent people will condemn the behavior of a Ted Bundy, while they’re walking past a magazine rack full of the very kinds of things that send young kids down the road to be Ted Bundys. But I’ll tell you, there lots of other kids playing in streets around this country today who are going to be dead tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day and month, because other young people are reading the kinds of things and seeing the kinds of things that are available in the media today.”

“Listen, I’m no social scientist, and I haven’t done a survey. I don’t pretend that I know what John Q. Citizen thinks about this. But I’ve lived in prison for a long time now. And I’ve met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence just like me. And without exception, without question, every one of them was deeply involved in pornography.”

“I didn’t know what made people want to be friends. I didn’t know what made people attractive to one another. I didn’t know what underlay social interactions.”

“You feel the last bit of breath leaving their body. You’re looking into their eyes. A person in that situation is God!”

“The fantasy that accompanies and generates the anticipation that precedes the crime is always more stimulating than the immediate aftermath of the crime itself.”

“I haven’t blocked out the past. I wouldn’t trade the person I am, or what I’ve done, or the people I’ve known – for anything. So I do think about it. And at times it’s a rather mellow trip to lay back and remember.”

“I’m as cold a motherfucker as you’ve ever put your fucking eyes on. I don’t give a shit about those people.”

“You don’t need these handcuffs. I’m not going anywhere.”- What he said after being convicted of aggravated kidnapping in Utah. (He later escaped custody twice.)

“But I’m the most cold-hearted son-of-a-bitch you’ll ever meet.”- Responding to a detective who was trying to obtain the whereabouts of victim Kimberly Leach’s corpse.

“No. Absolutely not. It’s important for me. It’s important for my credibility because there is so much question about my credibility.”- His response when asked if he had killed 8-year-old Anne Marie Burr, who lived near Ted Bundy when he was 15-years-old.

“I’d like you to give my love to my family and friends.”- His last words before his execution.

Items found by police in Bundy’s car
Dead Ted