Poor Sean Penn. If being married to Madonna wasn’t enough of an ordeal, the thinking man’s thespian once spent time behind bars being pestered by serial killer Richard Ramirez.
Dubbed as the Night Stalker by the press, Ramirez was a committed Satanist who never expressed any remorse for the sick and twisted home invasion crime spree which saw him butcher and rape his way through the greater Los Angeles and San Francisco area.
On September 20, 1989, Ramirez was sentenced to die in California’s gas chamber after the Judge found him guilty of 13 counts of murder, five attempted murders, 11 sexual assault and 14 burglaries.
The judge described Ramirez as exhibiting a “cruelty, callousness, and viciousness beyond any human understanding.”
Unfortunately for Sean Penn, Ramirez was a big fan of the Hollywood star and was delighted to hear that Penn was in a nearby cell in the same jail.
Yahoo! News reports that Penn, who briefly served a brief stint behind bars in L.A County jail for parole violations, explained to students during a talk at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film & TV that Ramirez kept pestering him for his autograph.
“I was down here on Bauchet Street, in L.A County jail, in the cell kind of across from him. And after about a month of seeing each other around, he wanted my autograph. So he sent one of the deputies over, [and the] deputy came to my cell and told me, ‘Hey, Richard Ramirez wants your autograph.’ And I didn’t trust the deputy, because I’d gotten in some trouble inside there, and just passing a piece of paper is contraband, so you can get extra days for that and I already had extra days and I didn’t want more. So I said, ‘Bring the sergeant down here, and I’ll talk to him, and if he approves it. Then I want him to write something first and I’ll write him something back.’ So the sergeant came down and approved it and they went over to Ramirez — this guard basically wanted to play Cupid in some way. So I get this thing from him and it says, ‘Hey, Sean, stay tough and hit them again — Richard Ramirez, 666,’ with a pentagram and a rendition of the devil.”
Obviously a little rattled at receiving fan mail from a satanic serial killer, Sean still decided to put pen to paper and reply to Ramirez’s letter. It’s not clear how well Ramirez received Penn’s reply because the actor didn’t mince his words.
“You know, Richard, it’s impossible to be incarcerated and not feel a certain kinship with your fellow inmates. Well, Richard, I’ve done the impossible, I feel absolutely no kinship with you. And I hope gas descends upon you before sanity does, you know? It would be a kinder way out.”
Although keen to shun Ramirez’s offer of friendship, Penn admits he kept the Night Stalker’s note, until it met something of an infernal end.
“My house burned down years later and that damn thing of his burned with it.”
As for Ramirez, despite greeting the news of his death sentence with the words, “Big deal. Death always went with the territory. See you in Disneyland.” He didn’t die until 23 years later on June 7, 2013, at the age of 53, due to complications caused by lymphoma.