Suspected Golden State Killer Pleads Guilty to Murders

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Suspected Golden State Killer Pleads Guilty to Murders
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Sketch the Golden State Killer suspect(left) and DeAngelo's mugshot (right)

By edhat staff

The accused serial killer, rapist, and former police officer, known as the Golden State Killer, pleaded guilty Monday to 13 counts of first-degree murder. 

Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, appeared in a wheelchair wearing an orange jumpsuit and face shield to protect against COVID-19 in a makeshift courtroom within Sacramento State University to provide for proper social distancing.

DeAngelo barely spoke except for "yes" and "I admit" to all the charges after prosecutors described each crime.

"The scope of Joseph DeAngelos' crime spree is simply staggering, encompassing 13 known murders and almost 50 rapes between 1975 and 1986," said Thien Ho, assistant chief deputy district attorney for Sacramento County.

DeAngelo agreed to plead 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, to avoid the death penalty, Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday said.

In the Sacramento area, he was known as the East Area Rapist, in Southern California he was the Original Night Stalker, and early on he was referred to as the Visalia Ransacker.

The accused killer left "communities terrified for years" said Ho.

In 2001, DNA testing indicated that the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker were the same person, which helped establish California's DNA database that collects DNA from all accused and convicted felons in California. The late crime writer Michelle McNamara shone a spotlight on the suspect's activities throughout the state and dubbed him "Golden State Killer" in early 2013.

In April of 2018, authorities charged the then 72-year-old United States Navy veteran and former police officer with eight counts of first-degree murder, based upon DNA evidence. Due to California's statute of limitations on pre-2017 rape cases, he could be charged with 1970s rapes, but he was charged in August 2018 with 13 related kidnapping and abduction attempts.

Upon the arrest, prosecutors from Sacramento, Contra Costa, Orange, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties filed 26 charges against DeAngelo and consolidated the cases against him.

DNA evidence conclusively links DeAngelo to eight murders in Goleta, Ventura, Dana Point and Irvine, with two other murders in Goleta linked by modus operandi, or distinctive features, but not DNA. Many investigators also suspect the same killer in three other murders—two in Rancho Cordova and one in Visalia.

DeAngelo is charged with murdering Dr. Robert Offerman and Debra Manning in Goleta in 1979, as well as Cheri Domingo and Gregory Sanchez in Goleta in 1981. He's also been charged with killing Charlene and Lyman Smith in Ventura County in 1980.


 June 15, 2020: Golden State Killer Expected to Take Guilty Plea

 August 22, 2018: Golden State Killer to be Tried in Sacramento

 May 11, 2018: DA's Meet to Discuss Golden State Killer Case

 May 10, 2018: Santa Barbara District Attorney Files Murder Charges Against Golden State Killer Suspect

 April 30, 2018: Sheriff's Office Seeks Information on Alleged Serial Killer

 April 28, 2018: DNA from Genealogy Websites Used to Find Golden State Killer Suspect 

 April 26, 2018: Daughter of Golden State Killer's Victim Speaks Out

 April 25, 2018: Police Arrest Suspected Golden State Killer, Connected to 6 Local

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a-1593542610 Jun 30, 2020 11:43 AM
Suspected Golden State Killer Pleads Guilty to Murders

Read "I'll Be Gone In The Dark" by Michelle McNamara. It's a fascinating portrayal of the crimes as well as a follow-up after Michelle passed away. I wouldn't be too quick to only fault the SB Sheriff's department.

CoastWatch Jun 30, 2020 08:56 AM
Suspected Golden State Killer Pleads Guilty to Murders

If anyone has read the book on the Golden State Murders, you will be shocked and disgusted that OUR Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office REFUSED to share information with other Police jurisdictions and could have helped avoid other murders in Orange County... I hope there were lessons learned on Law Enforcements side of this investigation. Shelve the Egos.

Basicinfo805 Jun 29, 2020 06:27 PM
Suspected Golden State Killer Pleads Guilty to Murders

It's too bad this POS was able to get out of the ultimate punishment that he deserved. He killed my doctor when I was a kid, and killed, raped, and terrorized many others. I hope he doesn't last much longer in prison. He looks pretty frail. Every dollar spent on him and those like him means less for the rest of us, our kids especially. Our education system is in shambles. Only so much money to go around. Sorry, but that's my opinion, and I'm thankful that everyone has a right to express theirs.

a-1593477961 Jun 29, 2020 05:46 PM
Suspected Golden State Killer Pleads Guilty to Murders

Anyone living here for a long time remembers the local murders. It was a scary time and when no one was caught, it got scarier. DNA and up to date investigation solved this long time mystery and finally some justice has been served.

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