Cold Blooded Killers
Deadly Obsession: Why So Many Women Fell In Love With Serial Killer Richard Ramirez

Ricardo “Richard” Ramírez became known as “The Night Stalker” after he terrorized those who lived in greater Los Angeles and San Francisco, from June 1984 until his capture in August 1985. Ramirez would use a .22 revolver, knives, machetes, tire irons, and hammers to bludgeon his victims to death – often after he had sexually assaulted them.

In his own sinister tone, he revealed, “I love to kill people. I love to watch them die. I would shoot them in the head and they would wiggle and squirm all over the place, and then just stop. Or I would cut them with a knife and watch their faces turn real white. I love all that blood.”

Despite his list of convictions amounting to 13 counts of murder, 5 counts of attempted murder, 11 counts of sexual assault and 14 counts of burglary; he had a power over his female admirers that would send them weak at the knees. One juror, Cindy Haden, was undeterred by the violent accounts of his attacks on other women.


Ramirez, aware of his power over her, would make eye contact throughout the trial and on Valentine’s Day, she gifted him a cupcake with the message “I Love You” iced on top. Shortly after, she was dismissed from jury duty.

Following his sentencing in court, which was the death penalty, Haden continued to visit Ramirez behind bars – eventually introducing her parents to the serial killer. However, for Haden, she was just another face in a long queue of female admirers all waiting to share a tender moment with the devout Satanist.

According to the San Francisco Gate, during his 23-years on death row, he received “bags of mail” – mostly from women.

What is “Hybristophilia”?

Becoming infatuated with someone who has committed a serious crime, such as sexual assault or murder, is known as Hybristophilia. This is the reason behind the thousands of letters sent to serial killers from their fans each year.

There are many reasons behind the disorder, Professor of forensic psychology at DeSales University, Katherine Ramsland, reveals that women who have dated serial killers (or in the case of Ramirez they have even gone as far as marrying him) do so for the following possible reasons:

  • “Some believe they can change a man as cruel and powerful as a serial killer.”
  • “Others “see” the little boy that the killer once was and seek to nurture him.”
  • “A few hoped to share in the media spotlight or get a book or movie deal.”
  • “Then there’s the notion of the “perfect boyfriend.” She knows where he is at all times and she knows he’s thinking about her. While she can claim that someone loves her, she does not have to endure the day-to-day issues involved in most relationships. There’s no laundry to do, no cooking for him, and no accountability to him. She can keep the fantasy charged up for a long time.”

Sheila Isenberg, author of Women Who Love Men Who Kill, explained, “If the guy’s behind bars, it’s always exciting.” She added, “It’s easier to get a date or get attention from (serial killers) than, say, Brad Pitt. Pitt is going to ignore your letter, he’s not going to boast about your letter — but this guy is. He’s probably reading his letters and responding to them, because it puffs him up and raises his status in his own eyes.”

The Marriage of Richard Ramirez and Doreen Lioy 


One fan, Doreen Lioy, a freelance teen magazine editor and self-described “Catholic Virgin from San Rafael,” also became obsessed with Ramirez and in total had penned the cold-hearted killer 75 letters before he agreed to a meet with her in person.

In 1996, Lioy told The L.A. Times how she initially fell for Ramirez. She recalled, “This is a feeling that began for me as long ago as the night before he was arrested and police broke into the television show I was watching to broadcast his picture. Looking back, I see it was a turning point for me. They showed his mug shot in the middle of ‘Dallas,’ and I saw something in his eyes. Something that captivated me. It wasn’t as if I knew him. But there was something in his eyes . . . maybe the vulnerability, I don’t really know.”

On October 3rd, 1996, they were married in California’s San Quentin State Prison. Despite Lioy stating that she would commit suicide when Ramirez was executed, they eventually decided to split as she found the marriage “lonely”, considering her husband was unreachable the majority of the time. Undoubtedly, the fact that he had twelve other girlfriends on the go at any given time may have been a secondary factor.

Ramirez died of complications secondary to B-cell lymphoma at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, California on June 7th, 2013. Aged 53-years-old, he had been on death row for more than 23 years.

About the author

Cheish Merryweather is the founder of Follow on Twitter: @thecheish

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