30 June 2020 00:30
Joseph James DeAngelo told a judge he would admit to 13 murders, 13 kidnapping-related charges and dozens of rapes throughout California Golden State Killer: former police officer says he will plead guilty to rapes and murders Forty years after a suburban rapist terrorized California in a series of assaults and killings, a 74-year-old former police officer said he would plead guilty to being the elusive Golden State Killer. Joseph James DeAngelo Jr on Monday told a judge in Sacramento he would plead guilty to 13 murders and 13 kidnapping-related charges throughout California, and he would admit to dozens of sexual assaults that he could not be criminally charged with. 'I pray it will finally be over': Golden State Killer survivors hope guilty plea brings justice Read more DeAngelo was arrested in 2018 after law enforcement compared DNA from the crimes committed in the 1970s and 80s across 11 California counties with that of users on the open-source genealogy website GEDMatch. The Sacramento county prosecutor Thien Ho said DeAngelo made incriminating statements after his 2018 arrest, claiming he was driven driven by an internal force he couldn't control. "I didn't want to do those things," DeAngelo said, according to Ho, "I destroyed all their lives.
"The scope of Joseph DeAngelo's crimes is simply staggering," Ho said, including nearly 50 rapes. I'll Be Gone in the Dark, a bestselling book about the true crime writer Michelle McNamara's search for the Golden State Killer, brought wide attention to the case when it was released months before DeAngelo's arrest. To provide for social distancing, Monday's hearing took place in a ballroom at Sacramento State University that was made to look like a state courtroom with the seal of the Sacramento county superior court behind the judge's chair. DeAngelo is a US navy veteran of the Vietnam war and father of three and had worked as a police officer in communities near where the crimes took place. The family didn't learn the crime was the work of a serial killer for 20 years, and it was only after DeAngelo's capture that Carole realized the extent to which the murders had affected her life.
DeAngelo, who is also accused of committing more than 50 rapes during his killing spree between 1975 and 1986, has agreed to plead guilty to each individual crime, prosecutors and his defense team said. The defendant appeared before Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman at the Sacramento State University Union Ballroom, a venue chosen to allow for social distancing. When the lengthy hearing has concluded, he will have pleaded guilty to 13 counts of first-degree murder and special circumstances (including murder committed during burglaries and rapes), as well as 13 counts of kidnapping, the prosecution said. For the next 11 years, he terrorized communities from Sacramento to Orange County, prosecutors say. Headlines attributed the crimes to the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker and, finally, the Golden State Killer.
The 74-year-old has agreed to plead guilty to all charges to avoid the death penalty, Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday. JUST WATCHED Golden State Killer suspect's life behind bars Replay More Videos... MUST WATCH Golden State Killer suspect's life behind bars 00:45 In 2018, prosecutors from Sacramento, Contra Costa, Orange, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties filed 26 charges against DeAngelo and consolidated the cases against him When he was arrested in April 2018, he was in Citrus Heights, the neighborhood where the Golden State Killer raped the first of his known victims in 1976. DNA from a crime scene matched genetic material from one of DeAngelo's relatives, who was registered on a genealogy site, prosecutors said. "Over the years, we heard of homicides down in Southern California, and we thought it was the East Area Rapist," said Larry Crompton, a retired detective for Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department. JUST WATCHED How police found the Golden State Killer's DNA Replay More Videos... MUST WATCH How police found the Golden State Killer's DNA 00:54 Seventeen years later, using crime scene DNA, they created a profile on a genealogy database called GEDMatch and DeAngelo's name emerged in a list of possible suspects. Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. pleads guilty to murders tagged to California's Golden State Killer – A former police officer accused of terrorizing California as a serial burglar and rapist and killing more than a dozen people while evading capture for decades pleaded guilty Monday to murders attributed to a criminal dubbed the Golden State Killer. DeAngelo, 74, has never publicly acknowledged the killings but offered up a confession of sorts after his arrest that cryptically referred to an inner personality named "Jerry" that purportedly forced him to commit the wave of crimes that ended in 1986. "I did all that," DeAngelo said to himself while alone in a police interrogation room after his arrest in April 2018, Sacramento County prosecutor Thien Ho said. It wasn't until after the crimes ended that investigators connected a series of assaults in central and Northern California to slayings in Southern California and settled on the umbrella "Golden State Killer" nickname for the mysterious assailant. After three years on the force, DeAngelo moved back to the Sacramento area, where he got a job with the Auburn Police Department in the Sierra foothills.