William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Wednesday, 6, May, 2009

Forensic Guest Blogging #2

Filed under: Forensics,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 20:53

Inspired by the Last Word Lecture series at the NAME meetings, the members of ANAT 503 were required to look into a well-known forensic case, look at it in light of their forensic knowledge, and present their findings to the class itself, the department of anatomy, and in a precis form, the audience on this blog.  The assignment has an analytical component, a presentation component, and an editing component.  After the fold is Ernie’s presentation about Richard Ramirez.

Richard Ramirez, an infamous serial killer who terrorized the citizenry of Los Angeles County in 1985 came from a God fearing immigrant Mexican family.  Richie as the family called him was born Feb. 29th 1960 in El Paso, Texas, just across the border from Juarez Mexico, a dangerous town and not far from Los Alamos New Mexico where nuclear testing took place in the 50’s.  As a young boy Richard was different, he could play hours by himself.  Richards father Julian was away for long periods of time laying track and had muscles hard as steel and on occasion an incredible temper, his mother Mercedes was a sweet woman and loved her children but worked to help support the family.  Mercedes worked for Tony Lama mixing chemical solvents and pigments and had to quit while 5 months pregnant with Richard.

As a child in school Richard had seizures and was diagnosed epileptic but never offered medication as treatment.  At the age of twelve Richard witnessed his cousin Mike, whom he idolized; shoot his wife point blank in the face killing her. Mike was a Vietnam veteran who served two tours of duty and later taught Richard how to stalk, hunt, kill quickly and effectively, and not be seen.  During this impressionable period of his youth Richard was Mike showed him terrible photographs of his sadistic war activities, raping, killing, and beheading Vietnamese women.  The effects of this brutal and sexual exposure may have been what led to Richard becoming the satanistic serial killer he was.

In June of 1984 Richard committed his first murder, 79 year old Jenny Vincow.  Richards outraged that Jenny had no valuables to steal to support his drug habit, stabbed her in the chest while she slept and left her nearly decapitated when her son found her the next day.  Richard waited 9 months before he killed again, decided to give up drugs and heavy drinking so he could stay sharp and commit future attacks in the name of Satan without being sloppy.  On St. Patrick’s Day 1985, Richard followed Maria Hernandez home to the condo where she and her roommate Dayle Okazaki live.  After attempting to shooting Maria in the face he entered the condo and waited for Dayle to peek above the counter before he shot her between the eyes.  After fleeing Richard followed another young woman off the freeway and when she noticed and confronted him he shot her two times in the side and left her for dead.  Richard murdered Vincent and Maxine Zazzara March 27th, attempting to cut out Maxine’s heart and eventually taking her eyes for pointing a shotgun at him.

From April to August of 1985 Richard committed 11 more murders, raped and sodomized at least 5 more women and had everyone in Los Angeles County fearing for their lives because he attacked completely at random and no one was safe.  At the end of August the detectives on the case finally had a fingerprint match pointing to Richard from a previous auto theft and tracked him to Tucson but Richard noticed the cops and headed back to Los Angeles where his face was front page news and everyone recognized him as El Matador-The Killer.

After evading police and angry civilians Richard was finally caught right in the middle of a Mexican-American neighborhood and they had had enough.  Richard is now sitting in San Quentin prison after receiving 19 death sentences for 14 brutal murders.  The trial was ridiculous on account of the defense asking for sidebars every 10 minutes as well as Richard’s courtroom antics.  He also loved driving his numerous twisted groupies wild with his smiles, even one of the jurors fell for him.  In 1996 Richard, a Satan worshiping serial killer married a woman writing in his defense, Doreen Lioy, who completely lost her sense of reality in his sadistic smile.


  1. This paper, while well written, seems less a presentation for a forensics audience, and more a detailed bio of Ramirez. There are some interesting points mentioned, but all things that seem as if they were gleaned from newspaper articles, and not analytical reports.

    The last sentence which ends [QUOTE]…who completely lost her sense of reality in his sadistic smile.[/QUOTE] has left the realm of fact all together, and goes into speculation as to a third party’s mindset and motivations.

    While it is well written, I don’t see it’s place in a forensics lecture, unless it is intended only as an introduction to the substantive part of a lecture, where the subject, his crimes, and his methods are analyzed.

    My thoughts are worth exactly what you paid for them.


    Comment by Casey — Thursday, 7, May, 2009 @ 07:32 | Reply

  2. Alot of info, some of it too tangential for my tastes. Maybe a better way to organize the thought stream? But overall very interesting.

    Comment by Purlewe — Thursday, 7, May, 2009 @ 14:36 | Reply

  3. One issue I have with this is the gratuitous inclusion of the erroneous information regarding Los Alamos, New Mexico. First Los Alamos in no where near El Paso it is over 350 miles away in northern New Mexico. Second, nuclear testing has never been done in Los Alamos. The only nuclear testing done in New Mexico was the exploding of the first atomic bomb at the Trinity Site on the White Sands Missile Range. While White Sands is in southern New Mexico, the Trinity Site is still over 100 miles north of El Paso.

    The whole bit of information just seemed to be filler and served no real purpose, unless your student was implying that radiation from the testing somehow effected Richard Ramirez.

    Comment by Judy — Thursday, 7, May, 2009 @ 22:02 | Reply

    • That material was not gratuitous. There was some talk in the literature about radiation or some prenatal exposure to something causing Ramirez’ actions. I think that theory, geography aside, was just pulled out of someone’s ear, but it wasn’t the student’s ear.

      Comment by williamthecoroner — Friday, 8, May, 2009 @ 12:51

  4. Ok that makes more sense. Though if environmental causes were suspected, I would personally think that the pollution from Juarez would be a more likely source.

    Comment by Judy — Saturday, 9, May, 2009 @ 22:04 | Reply

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