Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Serial Killer Groupies

Satan's Allure

In the summer of 1984, a 79-year-old woman was slain in her home in Glassell Park, Calif., near Los Angeles. Her throat was slashed and she was stabbed several times. Within eight months, two more murders bore similarities, and then two young girls were abducted, raped, and dropped off in another location.

More rapes and murders ensued, and police got the description of a young man dressed in black with long hair, a bad smell, and poor teeth. In one incident, the killer removed a victim's eyes and took them with him. In another, he beat two elderly sisters and left Satanic symbols on the thigh of the one who died, in the form of a pentagram. Called the Night Stalker for his penchant for climbing into unlocked windows, by August 1985, he was credited with 14 murders.

Richard Ramirez
Richard Ramirez
Then he killed a man, raped his fiancé and escaped in a stolen car. When he later abandoned the car, police got a fingerprint. That yielded the name, Richard Ramirez, who'd been arrested for traffic and drug violations. Ramirez was a known Satanist whose favorite song was "Night Prowler." Philip Carlo documents this in The Night Stalker.

Ramirez's picture was widely publicized and when he tried to steal a car on August 30, a group of citizens in east Lost Angeles recognized him and grabbed him. He was ultimately charged with 13 murders and 30 other criminal counts, including attempted murder, rape, and burglary.

It wasn't long before he attracted a collection of supporters, mostly female, who viewed him as a bold representative of Satanism. At a preliminary hearing, Ramirez praised Satan and flashed a pentagram he'd tattooed onto the palm of his hand. As he waited for his trial, he received letters and visits from admirers, including the daughter of Anton LaVey, author of The Satanic Bible. Carlo reports that she was there to extend an honorary membership to him in the Church of Satan.

Indeed, a great many women wanted Ramirez's attention and he was happy to give it. Never before had he had so many female admirers, and lines soon formed to get into prison to visit with him. While some claimed to believe him innocent, others just thought he was cute or sexy. Those who sensed how dangerous he was admitted that this quality aroused them.

Another admirer was Doreen Lioy (Carlo does not give her full name, but other sources do), a freelance magazine editor with a B.A. in English Literature. (Carlo says she was 25 in 1985, but another source put her at 41.) Doreen had seen Ramirez's picture (some accounts say in a newspaper, others on television) and indicated in later interviews that she instantly fell madly in love with him. Feeling that he needed a friend, she commenced to write him a letter. He wrote back and she became his advocate to the press, insisting that Ramirez could not have done the things he was accused of. She reportedly wrote 75 letters to him before she met him. The meeting only deepened their connection, although Ramirez often disappointed her by allowing the visits of other enamored women.

Doreen sat through every day of the trial, decrying its unfairness to any journalist who would listen. She purchased clothing for Ramirez to wear and jealously watched the other women who showed up. Carlo reports that she thought she was the only one who truly loved him. But she wasn't alone in that sentiment.

Ramirez believed he had gained a slight advantage during his trial when one of the members of the jury, Cindy Haden, appeared to fall in love with him. Carlo describes her as the child of a father with an "excessively bad temper" and as a woman who had been unhappy in her marriage. She had expressed the idea that she had an important destiny in Los Angeles.

She was chosen as an alternate juror, but when Ramirez challenged one of the primary jurors and got him dismissed, Haden won a slot. She accepted it with visible excitement. On Valentine's Day, she had sent Ramirez a cupcake with a message, "I love you," on it. Ramirez apparently believed that she would not convict him. Her glances and smiles had been sympathetic. He now had a shot at getting a hung jury, so he made sure to look at her a lot.

However, not only was he convicted but he was also given the death penalty. Haden made a gesture to Ramirez that indicated she'd had no choice and was truly remorseful. Eventually that led to him inviting her to come meet him and her expressing her love for him. She even had him meet her parents. She went on talk shows saying that he'd been badly represented and there should have been some mitigating factors presented. She sometimes wished she had resisted longer and caused a hung jury. In her opinion, Ramirez had been possessed by the Devil, and his lawyers should have raised this issue.

Despite Haden's devoted efforts, Doreen won out. She stayed steady while other women melted away, and finally they got engaged. Then on October 3, 1996, Doreen became Mrs. Richard Ramirez. She sadly accepted that she would be a virgin for life, and never a mother.

 Richard Ramirez and Doreen wed
Richard Ramirez and Doreen wed

Doreen gave an interview to U.S. News in 1997 in which she insisted that Ramirez was funny, charming, and kind. Despite all the evidence and witness identifications, she still believed he was innocent. "I just believe in him completely," she insisted. She also admitted that being the wife of an inmate who will never be released is lonely. Yet she will bear it for him.

Not all women stick with it. A few jump from one to another, such as in the following case.



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