Thursday, July 11, 2013

Women Who Love Serial Killers

Richard Ramirez and Doreen Lioy
The happy couple -- Richard Ramirez and Doreen Lioy

During the summer of 1985, a string of gruesome nighttime killings generated widespread panic throughout California. The assailant, nicknamed the "Night Stalker," entered homes through open doors and windows and shot, strangled or stabbed occupants. In some cases the Night Stalker raped and tortured victims and left satanic imagery at crime scenes.

Richard Ramirez was eventually identified, captured, and arrested for the horrific Night Stalker crimes.  In 1989, after a trial that lasted nearly 14 months, a Los Angeles jury convicted Ramirez of 13 murders, 5 attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults and 14 burglaries. Ramirez was sentenced to die in California's gas chamber.

By the time of Ramirez's trial, "fans" were writing him letters and paying him visits. Beginning in 1985, freelance magazine editor Doreen Lioy wrote him nearly 75 letters during his incarceration. In 1988 Ramirez proposed to her, and on October 3, 1996, they were married in California's San Quentin State Prison. Before Ramirez's death, Lioy stated that she would commit suicide when Ramirez was executed. However, Doreen Lioy and Richard Ramirez eventually separated.  At the time of his recent death related to B-cell lymphoma, Ramirez was engaged to a twenty-three year old writer who was residing between Los Angeles and New York City.

Ramirez's gruesome childhood experiences certainly must have contributed to his violent tendencies.  Or maybe he was just born evil.  I don't really know.  But how does one explain Doreen Lioy's MARRIAGE to Richard Ramirez after his trial and conviction?  Why would one willingly choose to contact let alone MARRY such a monster?  After reading about Ramirez's recent death, I started wondering more and more about his wife, and what might have motivated her to connect with Ramirez, the man that committed so many heinous crimes.  I found this article, which explains a bit of the psychology of those attracted to serial killers:

Rosalie Martinez, a public defender and mitigation specialist, was once married to an attorney. They had four daughters. After she met death row inmate Oscar Ray Bolin Jr. in 1995, she left her husband for him. Martinez and Bolin married that same year, over the phone.

Bolin, a former truck driver, has been convicted 10 times for raping and killing 3 women in Florida. In each case, rulings have been overturned due to errors. This week, he was back to the courtroom for another retrial. Convicted again, he received a life sentence on top of two death sentences.

Martinez, who believes Bolin is not a killer, once stated that when she met him, he left her “breathless.” She sensed his loneliness and isolation. She told a reporter, “It affected me because I felt the same way.” She decided to marry him, she said, to raise awareness of the injustice of his plight.

Plenty of serial killers have attracted mates, especially those with a high media profile. Carol Ann Boone became Ted Bundy’s girlfriend while he went through his legal proceedings in Florida. She took every opportunity to describe how he was being unfairly railroaded.

Even after he was convicted for three murders, Boone maintained her stance, and during the penalty phase of his 1980 trial, she testified on his behalf. They exploited an old law and married in the courtroom just before he received a death sentence. Boone had a child with Bundy, but eventually realized he was guilty. She took her child and moved away.

Women who have married serial killers have given several different reasons. Some believe they can change a man as cruel and powerful as a serial killer. Others “see” the little boy that the killer once was and seek to nurture him. A few hoped to share in the media spotlight or get a book or movie deal.

Then there’s the notion of the “perfect boyfriend.” She knows where he is at all times and she knows he’s thinking about her. While she can claim that someone loves her, she does not have to endure the day-to-day issues involved in most relationships. There’s no laundry to do, no cooking for him, and no accountability to him. She can keep the fantasy charged up for a long time.

These wives often make significant sacrifices, sometimes sitting for hours every week to await the brief face-to-face visit in prison. They might give up jobs or families to be near their soul mate, and they will certainly be spending money on him—perhaps all they have.

The offender need not even be attractive to hook a potential wife. One-eyed Henry Lee Lucas had his share of female admirers. Despite his supposed sexual relationship with drifter Ottis Toole, he was apparently still compelling as a mate. One woman (married) even devised a plot to free him by posing as his supposedly murdered former girlfriend—a girl that Lucas had confessed to strangling and cutting into pieces. 

Some mental health experts have compared infatuation with killers to extreme forms of fanaticism. They view such women as insecure females who cannot find love in normal ways or as “love-avoidant” females who seek romantic relationships that cannot be consummated.

Yet while this might be true in some cases, several devotees have been strikingly beautiful, educated, and even married. A few have been lawyers, psychologists, or judges.

Women attracted to killers (especially serial killers) are usually in their thirties or forties. Although their motives for getting so passionately involved vary, they share in common a fierce sense of protection over the relationship. Some know that their incarcerated spouse is guilty, but others insist on his innocence—despite clear evidence to the contrary.

Most people think such relationships defy common sense, but some theorists have hypothesized a biological impetus that operates apart from logic. Primate research finds that females prefer the larger, louder, more aggressive males who show clear markers of their maleness. In humans, then, certain women might sense in an aggressive male a larger-than-life companion who can deliver more than an ordinary man could. Through him, she subconsciously perceives, she gains status and protection.

Whatever the psychological dynamic, the most dangerous males in a prison, if also media-genic, will likely draw women who hope to become their wives. 

Thoughts on this? I guess there really is a lid for every pot. 

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5



Jen Vallette said...

Uhgg. I totally remember that Summer. We had to keep all the windows closed and use the AC. My sister's friend and her husband were actually one of his victims. Miraculously he didn't kill them. I guess I can understand wanting to give these sick individuals some form of humanity. A visit? A few letters? But falling in love? Not in my world.

Regina said...

It is so bizarre, and something I don't think I will ever be able to wrap my head around.

Megan said...

I just want to say how relieved I feel that the Night Stalker is dead . I do not understand the women who get romantically involved with or marry serial killers. I can only guess it stems from winning over the "bad boy" but knowing he will never do them any harm because he's safely locked away in prison. My nephew is going to be a freshman at the high school Ted Bundy graduated from this fall. I'm completely disappointed that he's choosing to attend this high school but I suppose he will always have an interesting story to tell at dinner parties for the rest of his life. He recently had a substitute teacher who went to high school with Ted Bundy. The lady said that she always thought Bundy was a creepy person even though even said he was so handsome, charismatic, and smart. Ted's mother lived not too far from my sister's house. She died earlier this year and went to her grave supporting her son. I can understand standing by your child but there is a limit. If your child is a convicted serial killer, you can't just keep telling the world he's a wonderful person, you know?

Lara said...

Okay... when I was around 15yo, I was obsessed with the band Skinny Puppy. I wanted every bootleg they had, every side project. It was ridiculous. So, I put up a flyer in the local record store and met a ton of weird people which led to a ton of weird life experiences AND I put an ad in Maximum RockandRoll asking anyone to send me what they had. I made over a dozen penpals (like real handwritten letters). A few years later, I got a TON of letters from prison inmates. I don't know what happened but it's like they all got that old magazine at the same time. They didn't care about Skinny Puppy... they just wrote to any random person they could! I ignored all but one. He was a young guy with a drug bust sob story and he drew these amazing pictures on his envelopes and... I was young and stupid. But I wasn't in love with him or anything. He was just an interesting person and we had good conversation. But, I moved on. I actually moved out and didn't get my mail anymore (had it out with my dad) and a year later, I had these violently angry letters waiting for me from him, because I had stopped writing. He had become obsessed. It was kinda nuts. I've looked him up online since and can't find him. It's been almost 20 years now but still, it kinda creeps me out.
Yeesh... these women who fall for these guys... I don't understand making excuses for a convicted rapist. That shit is beyond me. Anyone who is behind bars for any amount of time develops a completely different set of standards and mental state. So that's what I know about writing to prisoners. ha!

cerebral e said...

I think a lot of these sociopathic types can be quite charming and charismatic.

Dancing Branflake said...

I'm totally judging, but it all boils down to low self-esteem. That's my take. And these comments are awesome, especially Lara's story.

Lorena said...

I can only imagine they would be attracted to the rough, authority, manly figure -or maybe they're just in it for the marital visits ?

RAINETTE (l'énigmatique) said...

these women are crasy. That's it. That's all.

Anonymous said...

I guess it is the "prison wives" syndrome combined with a "Florence Nightingale Syndrome" where sane, educated, unattractive, but lonely women try to see the good in bad souls because at least they know where their man is and can visit whenever they want (as long as the prison allows it) and want to save them from themselves.

Sad thing is I think their are more applicants to save a soul than there are truly souls that deserve the love they might be given.

Annabelle Archer said...

I suddenly feel a little better about my choices in men.

Elle Sees said...

I assume they're lonely. Does that mean as an old ass unmarried lady this is my fate? :/

itsCatherine said...

mind blown. dexter-esque.

beladona666 said...

I will admit, i think, thought, Richard Ramirez was a very beautiful and sexy looking man, but no way would I have have a relationship with a killer-ever. maybe only to write to them out of curiosity, but that would be it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Beladona, Richard Ramirez is very Stunning, captivating and very photogenic, and highly intelligent with his political views, more so than Ted Bundy and others, However I would not Fall in love and Marry Him, or any sexual involvement because that is over the edge and off the deep end

Anonymous said...

I must give an addendum, Richard should have have been a Movie Star and Male Supermodel , could you imagine the global fanbase if he was more of a positive person? It's a crying shame

Anonymous said...

Omg ar u ladies crazy.ddnt they say richard ramirez had bad bsad breath and rotton teeth eiw! I woodnt come near him. With a 10ft pole,and he doesn't even come close to hotness nt even ted bundy.he always look like a psyco(sorry for misspellin)so glad I aint that desperate for a man that I have to go to a prison to get a date

Anonymous said...

What are you talking about? None of these women said they will date Serial Killers, mind you, Richard Ramirez is kind of Cute despite the Halitosis and rotten teeth, but soon that was fixed, so that is a minor problem.

According to you, being "so glad" and ain't desperate for a Man, but Serial Killers can be found anywhere roaming free. Perishing thought isn't it?
But Hypothetically If I don't have a social life with a Man who could be a hunter in his heart, I would be regarded as a corpse by now.

No honey then what is the point in life, bad breath in mornings is nothing when people are in love. I am also Dyslexic, but I am not illiterate therefore I L❤ve men as clever as they are.