California · Serial Killers

Richard Ramírez dies in prison

June 7, 2013
Greenbrae, California
Serial killer Richard Ramírez dies of lymphoma in prison

Ramírez, known as “The Night Stalker” among other pseudonyms, was convicted of 14 burglaries, 13 murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 5 attempted murders occurring between 1984 and 1985. He spent 23 years, nearly half his life, on death row before dying of B-cell lymphoma at the age of 53.

His victims were:

April 10, 1984: Mei Leung (9). Raped then beaten and stabbed to death. Not originally suspected to have been one of Ramírez’s victims, DNA evidence linked him to the murder in 2009.

June 28, 1984: Jennie Vincow (79). Stabbed while sleeping. Her neck was cut so deeply she was nearly decapitated.

March 17, 1985: Dayle Okazaki (34) and her roommate Maria Hernandez (20). Okazaki survived a shot to the face when the bullet ricocheted off the keys she held in her hand when she attempted to shield her face. Hernandez, who had been hiding behind a counter in the kitchen after Okazaki was shot, was fatally shot in the forehead when she looked over the counter.

March 17, 1985: Veronica Yu (30). Yu was pulled from her car and shot twice. She was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

March 27, 1985: Vincent Zazzara (64) and his wife Maxine (44). Vincent was shot in his sleep. Maxine was bound, though she escaped her restraints and aimed an unloaded shotgun at Ramírez. Enraged, he shot her 3 times, used a kitchen knife to carve deep wounds in her body, and gouged out her eyes which he took with him.

May 14, 1985: Bill Doi (66) and his disabled wife Lillian (56). Bill was shot in the face while reaching for his own gun. He died of his injuries in the hospital. Lillian was restrained and raped as her husband was dying.

June 1, 1985: Mable “Ma Bell” Bell (83) and her sister Florence “Nettie” Lang (80). Lang was bludgeoned with a hammer and raped; Bell was shocked with an electrical cord and bludgeoned. Both women were found alive but comatose. Bell later died from her injuries.

June 2, 1985: Carol Kyle (42). Kyle was bound, robbed, and repeatedly sodomized after her 11-year-old son was locked in a closet. Before he left, Ramírez took the son from the closet then bound the mother and son together.

July 2, 1985: Mary Louise Cannon (75). Beaten with a lamp and stabbed to death with a kitchen knife.

July 5, 1985: Whitney Bennett (16). Beaten with a tire iron and strangled with a telephone cord. The cord sparked suddenly, scaring Ramírez who fled. He later stated he believed Jesus Christ was intervening to save Bennett’s life. She required 478 stitches to her scalp.

July 7, 1985: Joyce Lucille Nelson (61). Punched and kicked to death.

July 7, 1985: Sophie Dickman (63). Beaten. She survived her attack.

July 20, 1985: Max Kneiding (68) and his wife Lela (66). Hacked with a machete as they slept, killed with shots to the head, and further mutilated by the machete.

July 20, 1985: Chainarong Khovananth (32), his wife, and their 8-year-old son. Chainarong was shot in the head as he slept. The wife (whose name at the time was barred from publication by judicial order) was beaten and repeatedly raped. Her son was raped as well.

August 6, 1985: Chris Peterson and his wife Virginia (27). Virginia was shot in the face. Chris was shot in the temple but managed to fight Ramírez. Chris was shot twice more during the struggle. Both victims survived.

August 8, 1985: Elyas Abowath (31) and his wife Sakina (27). Elyas was shot in the head as he slept. Sakina was beaten and repeatedly raped in front of her 3-year-old son.

August 18, 1985: Peter Pan (66) and his wife Barbara (62). Peter was shot in the head while he slept. Barbara was raped, beaten, shot in the head, and left for dead.

August 24, 1985: Bill Carns (30) and his fiancé Inez Erickson (29). Carns was shot three times; Erickson was beaten and raped. Both survived.

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