Author Archives: rlower

Richard Ramirez: A Love Story?

Richard Ramirez marries Doreen Lioy.

Richard Ramirez marries Doreen Lioy.

Richard Ramirez, the serial killer known as The Night Stalker and sentenced to die for his brutal murders in Los Angeles County, California in the early Eighties, has died of natural causes in a hospital. He was 53.

Ramirez, who in 1985 was found guilty of 14 murders, 5 attempted murders and six rapes, appears to have been unusually attractive to female admirers. One of those admirers included his wife, Doreen Lioy, who first saw him in a news story.

Feeling that he needed a friend, she commenced to write him a letter. He wrote back and she became his advocate to the press, insisting that Ramirez could not have done the things he was accused of. She reportedly wrote 75 letters to him before she met him. The meeting only deepened their connection, although Ramirez often disappointed her by allowing the visits of other enamored women.

Doreen sat through every day of the trial, decrying its unfairness to any journalist who would listen. She purchased clothing for Ramirez to wear and jealously watched the other women who showed up. Carlo reports that she thought she was the only one who truly loved him. But she wasn’t alone in that sentiment.

In a bizarre twist, Cindy Haden, one of the jurors tasked to decide Ramirez’s fate showed interest in him during the trial.

She was chosen as an alternate juror, but when Ramirez challenged one of the primary jurors and got him dismissed, Haden won a slot. She accepted it with visible excitement. On Valentine’s Day, she had sent Ramirez a cupcake with a message, “I love you,” on it. Ramirez apparently believed that she would not convict him.

He was wrong. She did vote to convict, but later met with him in jail. She told him that she loved him, and allowed him to meet her parents. But it was Doreen who won out in the end, marrying in 1996.

Ardently devoted to him, she visited him four times a week and was often among the first in the visiting line. She made it a point to pack breath mints, explaining: “So I can be able to kiss with confidence.”

When people pointed out the strangeness of her choice of spouses, she rolled her eyes.

“Hometown girl makes bad,” she would say.

Doreen  wasn’t joking about that, apparently.

Relatives called Lioy a recluse who lived in a fantasy world.

Her whereabouts could not be determined on Friday. She was not listed as Ramirez’s next of kin, prison spokesman Samuel Robinson said in an email.

“His blood relatives are listed as the next of kin,” Robinson said.

“A Jail House Conversation with Serial Killer Richard Ramirez–The Night Stalker–Reported by Mike Watkiss”


Russia Eyes Higher Taxes, Price Controls to Curb Smoking (cc) (cc)

Strict new guidelines on where Russians can and cannot smoke, which Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law late February, went into effect Saturday.

 BBC News reports:

Smoking will be banned at workplaces, housing block stairwells, buses and commuter trains and within 15m of train stations and airports.

From 1 June 2014, all cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels, shops, markets, shopping centres and long-distance journeys on ships and trains will become smoke free.
The sale of tobacco will also be prohibited at street kiosks and minimum prices will be set for cigarettes.

But a government official told that its goal of cutting smoking in half, in a country where 40 percent of the citizens light up, might require more encouragement:


“The health ministry will be pushing for faster excise-tax growth,” Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets said in an e-mailed answer to questions from Bloomberg. “Our goal is a radical reduction of smoking. That could be reached by economic measures.”

The Health Ministry proposed raising the tax to 4,000 rubles ($125) per 1,000 cigarettes by the end of 2015, from 510 rubles, according to a letter dated Sept. 22 from Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova to Golodets obtained by Bloomberg News.

The Government approved a Finance Ministry proposal last week with a tax as high as 1,250 rubles in 2015.


In its current form, the law has no teeth–  until lawmakers approve amendments sometime next month, police can’t give tickets or impose fines for public smoking.