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Richard Ramirez had death row wedding to mega fan virgin Doreen Lioy, 41

Doreen Lioy's relationship with rapist Richard Ramirez was weird, to say the least

One loved rape and worshipped Satan, the other was a God fearing spinster. They say opposites attract, but surely Richard Ramirez and Doreen Lioy were simply too different to live happily ever after? Oh and one was on death row.

He might have had the teeth of a Love Island contestant, but convicted rapist and serial killer Richard Ramirez was unlikely to be anyone's 'type on paper'... until you saw those razor-sharp cheekbones, curly dark hair and big chocolate eyes. Plus the fact he was over six foot and had lovely tanned skin would probably make him popular on Tinder, even without the other 'attractive attributes'.

Overlooking someone's absolutely hideous personality and behaviour because you fancy them isn't some sort of Millennial curse, it's been going on for eons. And back in the 1980s, no one was more deluded than Doreen Lioy.


A teen magazine editor, she fell in love with The Night Stalker when she saw his mugshot on TV in 1985 as his year-and-a-bit after dark spree of rape and Satanic ritual murder came to an end.

“I saw something in his eyes that captivated me, maybe the vulnerability,” she said.

She sent him a birthday card (He was born February 29 1960) and thus began the start of their relationship. She began writing to him, and would end up sending him 75 letters over an 11 year period.

Three years in to their penpal relationship, she sent him clothes to wear when he appeared in court in 1988 when he faced charges of 13 murders and 30 other felonies, including rape, burglary and sodomy.

Doreen's family disowned her over her relationship with the Night Stalker

She attended every day of his trial, and saw him sentenced to death. But Doreen - who believed he was innocent and a victim of the system - kept writing, and visited him four times a week while he was on death row.

Like Kate Middleton and Prince William, her persistence paid off - and in 1996 she was chosen to be his bride, despite much competition from hot devil-worshipping groupies.

The Examiner claimed that he actually popped the question in 1988, but "wasn't ready to settle down". But on 3 October 1996, the 36-year-old murderer's days of sowing his wild oats were over, and Doreen, by now 41 and still a virgin, would finally become Mrs. Richard Ramirez. She wore a $148 white dress, embellished with pearls.

The mugshot that sparked Doreen Lioy's obsession with Richard Ramirez
The mugshot that sparked Doreen Lioy's obsession with Richard Ramirez

Richard said he chose her over his other admirers because he trusted her. He was impressed that she was a virgin and a devout Catholic, who had come to accept his Satanic faith.

For most of their relationship they had been separated by bulletproof glass, but after their wedding date was set they were finally allowed to touch. She said it was “one of those defining moments" and that she fell into his arms and he pulled her to him “softly and gently.”

She added to The Examiner, "We're both looking forward to this day. This whole thing is coming about because of love, and I'm very proud.

"I love him more than anything in the world."

doreen lioy
If you didn't know the context of this wedding photo you'd think she was either massively punching, OR his mum

Despite her romanticised version of agreeing to marry a serial rapist, most people weren't going along with the Mills and Boon style narrative.

Her family had already disowned her when her relationship with Ramirez went public, so just the groom's brother, sister and niece came to watch the happy couple get married in the grey, stark main visiting room of California’s San Quentin Prison. Philip Carlo, author of The Night Stalker was also present.

There were three death row weddings that day, with Doreen and Richard's 15-minute morning service kicking off at 11:10 a.m. They exchanged rings, each with a thoughtful engraving. Richard's 14-carat gold ring read 'I love you forever. Doreen', and his platinum ring for her reading, 'To my one and only love. Richard'.

An observer said Doreen was nervous during the six-minute ceremony, but “Richard was very calm and loving, very tender. Doreen brings out the best in him; they complement each other.”

There were no flowers, officials considered letting her wear a garter, and photos were taken on a Polaroid camera and sold to the couple for £2 each. There was no wedding night, California doesn't allow conjugal visits on death row, so the marriage was never consummated.

Richard Ramirez: The original 'Hot Felon'

Despite the lack of sex, Doreen still had a great day. She said: “I’m ecstatically happy today and very, very proud to have married Richard and to be his wife.”

Later she admitted being a death row wife was a "lonely lifestyle."

Doreen, a devout Catholic always believed that Richard was innocent - until the reopening of a cold case murder in 2009 raised his kill tally to 14.

In 1997, she told CNN: "He's kind, he's funny, he's charming. I think he's really a great person. He's my best friend; he's my buddy.

"I just believe in him completely. In my opinion, there was far more evidence to convict O.J. Simpson, and we all know how that turned out."

richard ramirez
Future mugshots would be just as sexually charged

But in 2009, DNA samples gathered in a 1984 cold case proved conclusively that Ramirez raped and brutally butchered a nine year old girl, Mei Leung, in a Satanic ritual human sacrifice.

It is believed that the crime was so distressing that even devoted Doreen couldn’t excuse it. There were rumours that she divorced him, but there are no files to support this. In 2010, Ramirez was banned from having any visitors at all, and then refused to see anyone until his death from incurable blood cancer, B‑cell lymphoma in 2013.

He died on June 7, 2013, at the age of 53, in Marin General Hospital - reports claimed he rotted from the inside out and had turned a shade of green.

It appeared that Doreen really HAD cut all ties with the Night Stalker as no one came forward to claim Richard’s corpse.


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