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Independent Voice

"Golden State Killer"" Pleads Guilty"

Jul 01, 2020 12:00AM ● By Orange County District Attorney's Office

On the left: Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer told a press conference that it is unnatural to the order of things for parents to bury their children with regard to the case People vs. Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. Seated on the center right: Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and (right) Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi. Photo by Patrick Larenas

"Golden State Killer"" Pleads Guilty" [3 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. is Sentenced to Life without Parole

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – According to a press release issued by the Office of Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer:

Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, pleaded guilty to 13 felony counts of first-degree murder and 13 felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery during a 13-year multicounty crime spree that terrorized much of California during the 1970s and 1980s. DeAngelo was identified through Investigative Genetic Genealogy (IGG) in 2018, more than three decades after he raped and murdered his last victim in 1986.

DeAngelo also admitted to 161 uncharged crimes related to 61 uncharged victims, including attempted murder, kidnapping to commit robbery, rape, robbery, first-degree burglary, false imprisonment and criminal threats. The uncharged crimes occurred in Alameda, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, Tulare and Yolo counties.

The decision by prosecutors to accept DeAngelo’s offer to plead guilty to the 26 charged crimes and admit the uncharged crimes was made in consultation with the victims and their family members. The totality of the circumstances, including the age of the victims, the age of witnesses and the death of other key witnesses, and the age of the defendant, were taken into consideration.

This six-county joint prosecution resulted in a guilty plea of: 

13 counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances allegations of multiple murders and murder during the commission of rape, robbery, and burglary.

13 felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery with sentencing enhancements for personal use of a firearm and personal use of a knife during the commission of the offenses. 

DeAngelo also admitted to the uncharged crimes of:

Attempted murder, kidnapping to commit robbery, rape, robbery, first-degree burglary, false imprisonment and criminal threats.

DeAngelo’s crime spree began in 1975 when he was working as a police officer with the Exeter Police Department. The crimes, which continued long after he was fired from the Auburn Police Department in 1979, escalated from peeping through windows to stalking to rape and serial murder. 

The hearing was relocated to the Sacramento State Ballroom to accommodate the large number of victims and their family members in attendance and to ensure social distancing in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“The investigation, identification and prosecution of the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer has been a long journey for justice – a journey marked by passion, persistence and sheer determination,” said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. “Through the revolutionary tool of Investigative Genetic Genealogy, this serial rapist and murderer was not only identified and brought to justice but will spend the rest of his life in prison. It is my sincere hope that today brings healing to victims, their families and communities harmed by the atrocious crimes committed by Joseph DeAngelo.”

Joseph DeAngelo will be sentenced to life in state prison without the possibility of parole. The sentence will run consecutive and concurrent to his sentence for the first-degree murders to which he has pled. His sentencing hearing will commence on August 17, 2020. Victims will be given the opportunity to deliver victim impact statements prior to DeAngelo’s sentencing on August 21, 2020. The sentencing hearing location will be announced at a later date. 

His crimes earned him the nicknames of the Visalia Ransacker, the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker, and the Golden State Killer. It was not until April 2018 that Sacramento authorities announced that Investigative Genetic Genealogy had identified DeAngelo as the person responsible.