Lou Diamond Phillips (The King and I) will take on the role as notorious serial killer Richard Ramirez in a new thriller movie, The Night Stalker.
Phillips will star alongside Bellamy Young (Scandal) as she travels to visit Ramirez in a California jail call with hopes he will clear the name of another inmate, who she believes has been wrongly accused of murder, by making him confess. There will also be “flashback scenes” to Ramirez’s history of graphic violence.
Writer Megan Griffiths told MoviePilot.com, “I could not be more excited to see Lou Diamond Phillips bring this intense character to life.” Produced by Alisa Tager (Enemy at the Gates and Seven Years in Tibet) the movie will premiere next month – June 12th on the LMN channel.
“The Night Stalker”
Richard Ramirez, terrorised Los Angeles during 1984 and 1985, breaking into homes through windows and unlocked doors, before brutally assaulting and murdering his victims. Ramirez used a wide variety of weapons, including handguns, knives, a machete, a tire iron, and a hammer.
He was named the “Night Stalker” by the media and frustrated authorities who failed to capture him. On March 17th, 1985, Ramirez left behind a crucial piece of evidence at one of his murder scenes – a hat with AC/DC’s band logo.
After he was eventually captured and named, Ramirez’s childhood friend Ray Garcia, who grew up with the killer in El Paso, Texas, confirmed that the serial killer was “obsessed” with AC/DC, which he believed stood for “Anti-Christ/Devil’s Child.” A devote Satanist, Ramirez also misunderstood the lyrics of the band’s track Night Prowler.
He believed the lyrics were about stalking people at night. They read: “Too scared to turn your light out, Cause there’s somethin’ on your mind, Was that a noise outside the window, What’s that shadow on the blind, As you lie there naked, Like a body in a tomb, Suspended animation as I slip into your room, I’m your night prowler, asleep in the day, Night prowler, get outta my way, Look out for the night prowler, watch out tonight.”
Band member Malcom Young corrected the meaning of the song, as he told VH1: “That song is not called ‘Night Stalker’. It’s called ‘Night Prowler’ and it’s about things you used to do when you are a kid, like sneaking into a girlfriend’s bedroom when her parents were asleep.”
The $1.8million Trial
On August 30th, 1985, Ramirez was the lead news story for every newspaper and television news program throughout California. Unaware of this, Ramirez walked into a convenience store in East Los Angeles and a group of elderly Mexican women identified him as “El Matador” which translates to “The Killer.” He noticed his face on the front cover of newspapers and fled in a panic.
He attempted to hijack a car to help him escape but he wasn’t succesful. One bystander struck him over the head with a metal pole and then a group of citizens held him down until the police arrived.
The trial of Richard Ramirez cost a staggering $1.8 million, which at the time made it the most expensive in the history of California, until the O. J. Simpson murder case in 1994. His list of convictions included 13 counts of murder, 5 counts of attempted murder, 11 counts of sexual assault and 14 counts of burglary.
During his first court appearance, Ramirez raised his hand, which had a pentagram drawn on it and yelled out “Hail Satan!”. Jurors were petrified of Ramirez especially after the Los Angeles Times reported that some prison employees overheard Ramirez was planning to smuggle a gun into the courtroom and shoot the prosecutors.
On September 20th, 1989, Ramirez was sentenced to die in California’s gas chamber. He told reporters: “Big deal. Death always went with the territory. See you in Disneyland.” Ramirez died of B-cell lymphoma on June 7th, 2013, aged 53-years-old, he had been on death row for more than 23 years.