In the 1980s, California saw a number of notorious killers, such as the Original Night Stalker, the Grim Sleeper, and the Freeway Killer.

But there had never been one quite like Richard Ramirez, who, over a period of 14 months, killed 14 people and attempted to kill five more.

Known for using a wide variety of weapons, such as a handgun, knife, machete, tire iron, and hammer, Ramirez went down in history as one of the most ruthless serial killers of all time, earning him the flashy and fearsome tabloid nickname “The Night Stalker.”

While there are plenty of horrific facts and stories surrounding Richard Ramirez, at least five of them remain untold.

Valley Intruder
August 25, 1985, edition of The Los Angeles Times.

1. The Night Stalker Is Not the First Nickname Given to Richard Ramirez

In 1985, during an editorial “rump session” at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, reporters agreed on the name of the monster prowling the streets – The Night Stalker.

However, this wasn’t the first nickname given to the killer.

Among the many names bandied about during the meeting were “The Walk-in Killer” and “The Screen-Door Intruder,” each referencing the ease with which the killer accessed the victims’ homes.

Although there was no evidence at the time that Ramirez was stalking his victims, nor were there any published satanic links to the crimes, editors decided to dub the killer “The Night Stalker,” based on a 1972 TV movie and a short-lived series about a Las Vegas newspaper reporter investigating a series of murders committed by a vampire.

Richard Ramirez Smile
Ramirez’s lack of hygiene and drug use led to tooth decay and a loss of teeth.

2. The Secret Behind Ramirez’s Flawless Courtroom Smile

On September 3, 1985, less than a week after his arrest, Richard Ramirez visited a prison dentist. Over a nine-month period, Dr. Alfred Otero repaired nine severely decayed teeth, filling them with a compound substance.

Ramirez’s dental hygiene had been a concern since a young age. The killer would begin his day by drinking Coca-Cola and eating sugar-covered cereal.

According to Ramirez’s childhood friend and classmate Ray Garcia, “He’d never brush his teeth. I used to tell him to close his mouth or brush his teeth.”

The lack of hygiene, coupled with his sweet tooth and the detrimental oral effects of drugs, led to extensive tooth decay.

Richard Ramirez
Flanked by his court-appointed attorneys, Night Stalker suspect Richard Ramirez bows his head during arraignment proceedings.

3. A Female Juror Was Murdered During Ramirez’s Trial

During one of Richard Ramirez’s court sessions, Phyllis Singletary, a juror in the killer’s trial, failed to appear in the courtroom.

A few hours later, Singletary was found shot dead in her apartment. The grand jury was terrified, suspecting that Ramirez somehow orchestrated the murder while behind bars.

However, the Night Stalker wasn’t responsible for Singletary’s murder. She had been fatally shot by her boyfriend, James Melton.

Two days later, Melton shot himself in the head outside his second-floor room after investigators received an anonymous phone tip revealing his location.

Richard Ramirez Beaten Up
Richard Ramirez sits in a police car after being arrested on August 31, 1985. During the ordeal, one of the bystanders who subdued the killer struck him over the head with a metal bar.

4. Ramirez Threatened to Shoot His Prosecutor

Known for his flirty and spectacular performances in front of the cameras, Richard Ramirez once planned to bring a gun into the courtroom and shoot his prosecutor.

The chilling plot was discovered by the Los Angeles Times on August 3, 1988, after some jail employees reportedly overheard Ramirez’s plan.

As a result, the courthouse installed metal detectors, and intensive searches were conducted on people entering.

Richard Ramirez Leaves Courthouse
Richard Ramirez leaves the courthouse after being sentenced to die in California’s gas chamber.

5. Ramirez Planned To Escape Prison Twice

During his time in prison, Richard Ramirez hatched two secret plots to escape so he could continue his murder spree.

In 1993, while bringing Ramirez back to prison, a correction officer used a wand to scan the killer’s body, and the metal detector went off near his buttocks.

An X-ray revealed that Ramirez had stuffed a handcuff key inside his rectum along with a ballpoint pen, a syringe, and, strangely, a sticker that read, “I luv chocolate.”

Five years later, Ramirez received a bizarre letter from one of his lovesick groupies that alluded to helping him bust out of prison.

However, San Quentin authorities caught wind of the plot and promptly cut off the groupie’s access to Ramirez.

True Crime Factbook
These 5 mind-blowing stories originally appeared in True Crime Factbook.
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