Serial Killer Richard Ramirez Died After Spending 24 Years In Prison

Korin Miller
·2 min read
Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images

From Women's Health

Netflix's new true crime docuseries Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer follows the life of Richard Ramirez, a serial killer who became known as the Night Stalker. Ramirez terrorized San Francisco and Southern California in the mid-1980s before he was eventually caught and convicted of killing 13 people and committing 11 sexual assaults.

The four-part series follows detective Gil Carrillo and homicide investigator Frank Salerno as they try to find clues to seemingly unrelated crimes before realizing they were all connected—and finally hunting down Ramirez.

Ramirez was sentenced to death in 1989 and put on Death Row at California’s San Quentin State Prison, according to CNN. But he died before his planned execution.

What happened to Ramirez, and how exactly did he die? Here’s what you need to know.

Ramirez was 53 years old at the time of his death.

He died in jail in 2013. He was the 87th inmate in the state to die while awaiting execution, according to CNN.

He'd been in prison for 24 years when he died.

Ramirez was sentenced for his crimes in 1989 when he was 29.

Ramirez is believed to have had cancer, which may have contributed to his death.

Several news reports say that Ramirez died of "natural causes," which is what the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation told CNN. But Biography reported that Ramirez had cancer, specifically B-cell lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.

Previous drug use may have exacerbated his condition.

A coroner’s report obtained by USA Today stated that Ramirez had other "significant conditions," including chronic substance abuse and hepatitis C, which is usually contracted by the use of IV drugs.

Photo credit: Michael Ochs Archives - Getty Images
Photo credit: Michael Ochs Archives - Getty Images

Lt. Keith Boyd, assistant chief deputy coroner, told USA Today that the drug use happened before Ramirez went to jail. "There's nothing to support any kind of drug use while incarcerated," he said.

Ramirez died at the hospital.

When his condition became dire, Ramirez was transported to Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, California, Biography reported. He died there.

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