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Here’s How An East LA Neighborhood Brought Down One Of America’s Most Notorious Serial Killers

In the mid-’80s, Richard Ramirez left residents of Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco paralyzed with fear. He entered the homes of at least 38 people through an unlocked door or window. He then raped, tortured, assaulted and/or murder his victims, striking fear into millions of Californians. This is the story of the man known as “The Night Stalker.”

From April 1984 until his capture in August 1985, Richard Ramirez claimed at least 28 victims, killing at least 13 of them.

Ramirez’s youngest victim was 9-year-old Mei Leung and his oldest victim was 83-year-old Malvial Keller. The connection between The Night Stalker murders and Mei Leung wasn’t discovered until 2009 when Ramirez’s DNA matched DNA recovered from the 1984 crime scene, according to the LA Times.

While Ramirez didn’t target anyone in particular, choosing his victims randomly, there was one common thread linking them: an unlocked door.

CREDIT: Inside Edition / Hye Nuv / YouTube

He would either access the home through an open window or unlocked door in the early hours of the morning while occupants were still asleep. Once inside, Ramirez would kill any males in the house before brutally raping and attacking the woman in the home. Some victims survived the attacks either by sheer will or because Ramirez inexplicably chose to let them live.

According to International Business Times, Ramirez used a wide array of weapons for his attacks.

During his killing spree, Ramirez used knives, a gun, a hammer, a tire iron and his own fists to attack his victims. In some instances, there were children who witnessed the brutal acts committed on their parents by Ramirez, according to International Business Times.

During the attacks, Ramirez would talk to his victims about Satanism.

CREDIT: Inside Edition / Hye Nuv / YouTube

According to International Business Times, Ramirez, who was raised Catholic, told one of his last victims to swear her love to Satan before leaving her alive but beaten and raped.

It was because of a 13-year-old boy that police began to make some headway in the case.

Los Angeles Magazine profiled James Romero about the time he encountered Ramirez. Romero, then a teenager, had just come home from vacationing with his family in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. He was up late the night they returned. Unable to sleep, Romero went outside to get a pillow he forgot in the family camper when he heard a noise coming from behind the house. He didn’t see anything at first so he started to work on his bike in the garage. That’s when he heard footsteps on the gravel walkway by the garage.

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Rosarito Beach, Mexico. Credit: desalination.biz

Romero told Los Angeles Magazine that he rushed into the house and went to his bedroom window just in time to watch a tall man dressed in black walk by. Romero was able to get back outside in time to see the man get into an orange Toyota hatchback with a chrome roof rack. He was able to get a partial license plate as the car sped off. He relayed the information to the police, who finally got a break in the case they needed. With this information, police were able to locate the car and get a fingerprint that traced back to Richard Ramirez. Police had a suspect.

But it wasn’t the police that caught Ramirez. It was a group of citizens that detained him.

According to Los Angeles Magazine, Ramirez was in Arizona visiting his brother when police released his name and photo to the public. He was unaware that the police were closing in on him and had already identified him as The Night Stalker

Image result for the night stalker la times
credit: LA Times

It wasn’t until he arrived in the Hollenbeck neighborhood of East LA around 8 a.m. on August 31, 1985, that he first noticed a photo of his face on the front page of a newspaper. The LA Times reports that Ramirez made his way to Hubbard Street, where he tried to carjack two women. However, the commotion of the carjacking caught the attention of the neighbors.

Night Stalker Crime Scene
credit: YouTube

Before he knew it, he was being chased by a hoard of people, who tackled him to the ground and beat him. It wasn’t until more neighbors started coming outside to see what was happening that people realized that they had captured Ramirez, according to the LA Times.

Image result for the night stalker
credit: LA Times

“He was saying, ‘Hey, let me go, c’mon, let me go,'” Julio Burgoin, one of the people who chased Ramirez down, told the LA Times. “I said, ‘No, you’re not going anywhere.'”

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credit: giphy

Police arrived and arrested the 25-year-old serial killer, taking him to the local jail where a large crowd of people surrounded the cop car and cheered for his arrest.

Ramirez’s trial took four years before he was formally convicted and sentenced.

It took three years before jury selection for the case began and another year to hear the case, according to Biography. During the trial, a juror was found murdered on August 14, 1989. However, it was proven that Ramirez didn’t orchestrate the murder.

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credit: The Orange County Register

The trial also became a major spectacle due to Ramirez’s wild outbursts and a moment in which he held up his palm to show a pentagram drawn on it to the cameras.

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credit: LA Times

On Sept. 20, 1989, Ramirez was convicted on 43 charges. Those charges were 13 counts of murder, 5 counts of attempted murder, 11 counts of sexual assault, and 14 counts of burglary. On Nov. 7, 1989, Ramirez was given 19 death sentences for his crimes, to which he responded, “No big deal. Death always comes with the territory. I’ll see you in Disneyland.”

Seven years after his conviction and sentencing, Ramirez married Doreen Lioy, who was a magazine editor at the time.

Lioy and Ramirez were married at the San Quentin State Prison despite her family’s objections to the marriage.

Ramirez died in 2013 as a result of B-cell lymphoma.

CREDIT: San Quentin State Prison, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Ramirez was at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, Calif., receiving treatment for the lymphoma when he died. It was also found that he had suffered from liver failure due to chronic substance abuse and hepatitis C.


READ: This Latino Serial Killer Was Once A Winner On “The Dating Game”

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New Netflix Docuseries Explores The Summer The Night Stalker Terrorized Los Angeles

Entertainment

New Netflix Docuseries Explores The Summer The Night Stalker Terrorized Los Angeles

Bettmann / Getty Images

Richard Ramirez, a.k.a. The Night Stalker, spent the summer of 1985 terrorizing Los Angeles. Ramirez murdered 13 people during his reign of terror in Southern California. Netflix’s new docuseries is exploring the crime by interviewing law enforcement and family of the victims.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial” killer is now streaming on Netflix.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer” is the latest Netflix docuseries diving into the true crimes that have shaped American society. Richard Ramirez is one of the most prolific serial killers of all time and single-handedly terrorized Los Angeles during the summer of 1985.

Ramirez fundamentally changed Los Angeles and the people who live there. The serial killer was an opportunistic killer. He would break into homes using unlocked doors and opened windows. Once inside, he would rape, murder, rob, and assault the people inside the home.

The documentary series explores just how Ramirez was able to keep law enforcement at bay for so long. The killer did not have a standard modus operandi. His victims ran the gamut of gender, age, and race. There was no indicator as to who could be next. He also rarely used the same weapon when killing his victims. Some people were stabbed to death while others were strangled and others still were bludgeoned.

While not the first telling of Ramirez’s story, it is the most terrifying account to date.

“Victims ranged in age from 6 to 82,” director Tiller Russell told PEOPLE. “Men, women, and children. The murder weapons were wildly different. There were guns, knives, hammers, and tire irons. There was this sort of feeling that whoever you were, that anybody could be a victim and anybody could be next.”

Family members of the various victims speak in the documentary series about learning of the horror committed to them. People remember grandparents and neighbors killed by Ramirez. All the while, police followed every lead to make sure they left no stone unturned.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer” is now streaming on Netflix.

READ: Here’s How An East LA Neighborhood Brought Down One Of America’s Most Notorious Serial Killers

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More Information Has Come Out About the Man Who Senselessly Shot a Young Woman While She Was Walking Her Dog

Things That Matter

More Information Has Come Out About the Man Who Senselessly Shot a Young Woman While She Was Walking Her Dog

Photo via bella_joy_gardens/Instagram

On June 10th, 2020, a senseless crime was committed. 21-year-old Isabella Thallas was shot and killed while she was out walking her dog with her boyfriend, 26-year-old Darian Simon. Simon, who was shot as well, survived.

Almost immediately after Thallas lost her life, the police were informed of the murderer: 36-year-old Michael Close, who lived in the same building as the couple.

Michael Close had shot the couple from his window with an AK-47. Thallas died almost instantly.

Close was quickly arrested and charged with first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, and possession of a high-capacity magazine during a crime.

But questions piled up as to why Close committed this crime in the first place. Why did he target the couple? Was the murder pre-meditated? How did this unstable man get his hands on an AK-47?

As the police put the pieces together, the motive was shocking. According to Close, he shot and killed Thallas because her dog defecated in the alley behind his unit.

The story he gave police lined up with Darian Simon’s version of events as well. Simon says that he and Thallas were walking their dog together behind their building. Simon commanded the dog to “poop” when he heard Close yelling at him from the window above them.

“Are you going to train that f—ing dog or just yell at it?” Close allegedly yelled out the window at them. When Simon bent down to pick up the dog’s feces, that’s when Close open-fired out the window. Simon was able to run away with wounds to his lower body. Thallas lost her life.

According to Close’s girlfriend, the man had been mentally unwell for a long time.

He had been diagnosed with depression as well as a personality disorder but refused to seek help. He frequently abused drugs and alcohol after being sober for three years.

The murder of Thallas was a culmination of a tumultuous night where he had been drinking and arguing with his girlfriend for hours. Thallas just happened to be the person who was at the receiving-end of his outburst. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

And recently, some more disturbing information has come to light about Thallas’s murder.

According to Denver Police, the gun that Close used to murder Thallas was taken from his friend, police officer Sgt. Dan Politica.

The close friendship between a police officer and an unhinged murder is, understandably, drawing questions from the Denver community.

The Denver Police Department confirmed that Close and Politica were “close friends”. Thalla’s mother, Anna Thallas, appears to have even more information on the friendship.

“They’re best friends. Life-long best friends for over 20 years. They grew up together,” she told 9News Denver.

Anna Thallas is angry and frustrated that the Denver police aren’t conducting an internal investigation.

The DPD argues that Sgt. Politica did nothing wrong. Thallas points to his failure to report the rifle missing until after her daughter was missing as a massive red flag. It is also worth noting that Politica has a history of violence and disciplinary actions by the DPD.

According to phone records, Close texted Sgt. Politica before the murder complaining about a dog in his neighborhood. After he murdered Thallas, he left Politica a voicemail saying he “really f—-d up bad.”

“That man should be stripped of his uniform,” Anna Thallas said. “Had that officer acted in his capacity and the oath that he took to serve and protect and was a responsible gun owner, Isabella might still be alive. My daughter might still be here.”

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