The "Night Stalker"'s terrifying murder spree in the mid-1980s absolutely paralyzed the Los Angeles area. And soon fans of true crime will be able to dive deep into the gripping case in an upcoming docuseries.
Richard Ramirez was “one of the most vicious serial killers in American history, a real-life boogeyman that brought California to a standstill,” Netflix noted as they dropped a trailer for “Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer.” In the trailer, one witness describes the killer as having a grin that made him look like a “killer clown.”
In 1984, Ramirez began breaking into people's homes to rape and sometimes murder, in the most gruesome of ways. However, it would take some real detective work to connect his crimes; Netflix notes in a synopsis that the series of murders and sexual assaults “seemed disconnected” at first. Not only did he vary in murder weapons — guns, knives, blunt objects — but he was all over the place with his victim profile.
“The victims were men, women, and children,” Netflix explains. “They ranged in age from six to 82. They came from different neighborhoods, racial backgrounds and socioeconomic levels. Never before in criminal history had a single killer been responsible for such a grisly array of crimes.”
The four-part series will chronicle just how investigators managed to put the pieces together.
"Racing against the clock to stop this nocturnal monster were a young detective named Gil Carrillo from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the legendary homicide investigator Frank Salerno,” Netflix states.
The series features first-person interviews with detectives, survivors, and witnesses as well as archival footage from the time. It dives into some of the most macabre and curious details of the case, such as Ramirez’s claimed allegiance to Satan and his tendency to mutilate some of his victims.
The investigators’ efforts paid off with the serial killer's captured in 1985, the same year as some of his most infamous crimes. He was found guilty in 1989 of 13 murders, five attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries. Ramirez was sentenced to death and died in 2013 while on death row due to complications from B-cell lymphoma.
“Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer” hits Netflix on Jan. 13.
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