richard ramirez wife
Source: netflix

Serial Killer Richard Ramirez Was Married for 13 Years


Jan. 27 2021, Updated 11:21 a.m. ET

Did you know that convicted serial killer and so-called "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez was married? Like Ted Bundy and Charles Manson, this infamous murderer attracted swarms of girls during his time behind bars.

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While on death row at San Quentin State Prison, which happens to be the largest death row in the United States, Ramirez walked down the aisle in 1996. But who was Richard Ramirez's wife? Keep reading.

richard ramirez wife
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Who was Richard Ramirez's wife?

Freelance magazine editor Doreen Lioy first saw Ramirez on television following his 1985 arrest, where he was apprehended after a killing spree that included 14 murders, five attempted murders, and six rapes. 

Lioy was so taken by the killer that she began to visit him regularly in prison. Her courtship lasted 11 years and spanned nearly 75 letters. 

While Ramirez proposed in 1988, their wedding was delayed due to prison rules, and the couple didn't walk down the aisle at San Quentin, where Ramirez was awaiting death row, until 1996.

"The bride wore a calf-length, white wedding dress with long lace sleeves," reads an entry on the blog True Crime XL, which compiles articles about true crime and justice. "She was glowing, he was nervous."

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She claimed to be a virgin at the time of their wedding, which is precisely what drew Ramirez to her, according to Lioy's friends and Ramirez's own biographer Philip Carlo, author of The Night Stalker: The Life and Crimes of Richard Ramirez. 

When Lioy purchased their wedding bands, she bought a gold one for herself and a platinum one for Ramirez, who explained to her that "Satanists don't wear gold."

richard ramirez wife
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"He's kind, he's funny, he's charming," Lioy told CNN in 1997. "I think he's really a great person. He's my best friend; he's my buddy."

Lioy's decision to marry a convicted murderer was something that led to her family disowning her.

She understood the repercussions, she said, adding, "It's hard for me to understand if my best friend came to me and said, 'You know, this guy Timothy McVeigh, who just got convicted? I really think he's cute and I'm gonna write to him.' I mean, I would think that's kind of strange."

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Though she once wanted "five or six children," Lioy understood that the "dream didn't come true for me and I've just replaced it with a different dream." What exactly was that different dream? "Being with Richard."

"It's lonely," she continued about their relationship, which entailed prison visits, "a peck on the cheek from her husband," and little else, since conjugal visits were not permitted for death-row inmates.

richard ramirez wife
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In 2009, Lioy left Ramirez after DNA proved him guilty.

Ramirez died at 53 of natural causes, after 23 years on death row. According to the Los Angeles Times, the official cause of Ramirez's death was "complications secondary to B-cell lymphoma," though he had also been affected by "chronic substance abuse and chronic hepatitis C viral infection."

For many years before his death, Lioy had stated that she would commit suicide when Ramirez was executed. 

But at the time of his passing in 2013, Lioy hadn't seen her husband in about four years, when DNA had confirmed in 2009 that he had indeed raped and murdered 9-year-old Mei Leung.

The breakup didn't seem to be a huge blow for the serial killer, who had no shortage of suitors and died while engaged to writer Christine Lee. 

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"A lot of women are really taken with the man's criminal case, and they overwhelmingly believe these men are innocent," Rick Halperin, a Southern Methodist University professor told SFGate regarding why the deadliest criminals are so frequently courted. "Many think the man shouldn't be alone and that even if he doesn't get out, there should be somebody else supporting him."

As for Lioy, she never publicly commented on her marriage to Ramirez after the DNA reports arose, and did not show up to claim his body several weeks after his death, which meant he had to be cremated. 

She seems to have kept a low profile since her split from the killer, and Marie Claire writes that the only recent mention of her is in her father's 2019 obituary, where she is listed as Doreen Ramirez.

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