Richard Ramirez defines the "classic case" serial killer profile. Unlike killers who's victims all fit one sex or age profile, Richard's victims include men and women of all ages. Sometimes he robbed his victims while other times he didn't and his methods varied from knives to guns. His attacks were so different that the police didn't realize they were on the trail of a searial offender until three survivors gave similar descriptions of their attacker: tall and skinny with horrible breath. By the time he faced trial he was accused of 13 murders, 5 attempted murders, 16 violent sexual acts including rape and sodomy, 5 robberies and 14 burglaries, all committed with a 14 month period in 1984 and 1985.
Richard was raised in El Paso, Texas by both parents with his 6 siblings. Never overtly abused emotionally, mentally or sexually by his parents, Richard was a petty thief and drug user by age 9 and generally characterized as a "troubled teen". At 23, he was living on the street or in cheap hotels in Los Angeles and had begun stealing cars.