Golden State Killer, Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., *74, pleads GUILTY to 13 murders and 13 kidnappings, admits 62 rapes that he can’t be charged for – to avoid the death penalty
Golden State Killer appeared in court to admit his guilt multiple counts of murders and kidnappings. He also admitted to 62 rapes that he can’t be charged for – in exchange for avoiding the death penalty
Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, has pled guilty to 13 murders and 13 kidnappings in California on Monday
He sat on stage in front of dozens of his victims and victims’ relatives in a ballroom at Sacramento State University
The seemingly infirm defendant had to be wheeled into the courtroom in a wheelchair and answered ‘yes your honor’ when asked if he understood the deal
The hearing had to be moved from court to a larger room to enforce social distancing for the big crowd
DeAngelo and his public defenders wore face shields in adherence with coronavirus health guidelines
DeAngelo’s victims will be able to read impact statements at his sentencing, which will take place at a later date
Prosecutors on Monday described how DeAngelo’s semen was found at the scene of some of the crimes and matched to the relative’s sample in GEDMatch.com.
Cops watched him for weeks, trailing him in a garbage truck, and stole his trash after he dumped it on the street to gain their samples of his DNA.
Once in custody, they said he ‘feigned feeble incoherence in the interview room’ but was heard talking to himself, saying: ‘I did all that.
‘I didn’t have the strength to push him out, it was like he’s a part of me. I didn’t want to do those things.
‘I pushed Jerry out and had a happy life. I did all those things. I’ve destroyed all their lives so now I’ve got to pay the price.’
Jerry is the inner personality he cryptically referred to that purportedly forced him to commit the wave of crimes that ended in 1986.
Joseph James DeAngelo, [photo], aka ‘The Golden State Killer’, [photo], wa a member of the Exeter police department in the 1970s
Prosecutors read through a timeline of the crimes, giving details of all the killings, before the judge asked DeAngelo how he wanted to plead.
He answered ‘guilty’ to the charges and answered ‘I admit’ to the sexual crimes that could not be charged because they are outside of the statute of limitations.
Among the attacks was on a Jane Doe and her husband in 1978. DeAngelo broke into the couple’s home, tied them up with shoe strings in their bedroom to ransack the house, then forced the husband to lie face down on their bed with dishes on his back while he raped his wife in another room.
He raped her anally and vaginally and forced her to perform oral sex on him while threatening to cut off her baby son’s ear and bring it to her if she resisted, the prosecutor said.
‘Jane Doe and her husband went to bed at 11.30pm John Doe recalled being awoken by a sound and seeing a male standing at the foot of his bed that male was the defendant, Joseph DeAngelo.
Chief Assistant DA at Ventura County Cheryl Temple [left] and Deputy DA at Sacramento County Amy Holliday [right] described in detail different crimes committed by the Golden State Killer
Prosecutor Venus Johnson describing 1978 attack
He took dishes from the kitchen and placed them on their backs while he rummaged, presumably so that he would hear the dishes crash if they tried to move.
‘When he returned to the couple’s bedroom, he told the woman, “don’t you look at me or I’ll cut your f****** head off.”
‘He then forced her out of the bedroom, told her that if she didn’t do what he said, he would kill everyone in the house, including their baby son.
‘He then walked her to the family room, blindfolded her, then returned to the bedroom to put more dishes on her husband’s body and said: ‘If these dishes fall, I’ll kill everyone’.
‘He then said to her: “If you don’t give me a good f**k, I’ll kill everyone.”
‘He then cut her nightgown with a knife in several places and proceeded to rape her… he then forced her to orally copulate him, threatening to cut her baby boy’s ear off and bring it to her if she resisted,’ prosecutor Venus Johnson said.
On another occasion, he masturbated in front of a victim and tried to rape her but couldn’t, and, frustrated asked her: ‘Have you ever f****d before?’
He bit that victim’s breast four times. She was babysitting at the time.
Victims’ family members were anxious about what to expect before the court hearing began.
‘I’ve been on pins and needles because I just don´t like that our lives are tied to him, again,’ said Jennifer Carole, the daughter of Lyman Smith, a lawyer who was slain in 1980 at age 43 in Ventura County.
His wife, 33-year-old Charlene Smith, was also raped and killed.
A guilty plea and life sentence avoids a trial or even the planned weeks-long preliminary hearing. The victims expect to confront him at his sentencing in August, where it´s expected to take several days to tell DeAngelo and Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman what they have suffered.
Gay and Bob Hardwick were among the survivors looking forward to DeAngelo admitting to their 1978 assault.
The death penalty was never realistic anyway, Gay Hardwick said, given DeAngelo’s age and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s moratorium on executions.
‘He certainly does deserve to die, in my view, so I am seeing that he is trading the death penalty for death in prison.
‘It will be good to put the thing to rest. I think he will never serve the sentence that we have served – we´ve served the sentence for 42 years.’
Over the course of the day California prosecutors took turns laying out the Golden State Killer’s heinous crimes in their counties. Following a lunch recess Orange County Officials discussed the 1980 killings of Keith and Patrice Harrington.
Keith, 24, and Patrice, 27 were found bludgeoned to death Aug. 21, 1975, at their home in a gated community in Orange County’s Laguna Niguel.
The lengthy list of crimes ran from at least 1973 to 1986 and involved attacks on some 106 children, men and women. In his string of heinous attacks 50 women were raped and 13 people were killed.
Was Golden State Killer behind a murder that another man died in prison for? – Prosecutors set to review 1979 brutal rape and murder of young California mother Joan […]
The crime spree began while DeAngelo was a police officer, authorities said. He served on two small-town departments during the 1970s.
Following an afternoon break DeAngelo started to admit to uncharged offenses, including rape, in seven counties in exchange for those counties not charging him.
Many of DeAngelo’s attacks described in court followed the same pattern: breaking into homes at night, tying up victims with shoe laces, putting dinner plates on the backs of victims to prevent them from moving and getting help, and raping his victims or forcing them to masturbate him, and searching the home for food and money.
DeAngelo Jr., a former cop, eluded law enforcement for decades until his DNA was linked to the crimes through GEDMatch.com, a genealogy website that one of his relatives had submitted their DNA to.
Joseph James DeAngelo’s crimes
1974-1975: 120 burglaries in Visalia and surrounding areas
June 18, 1976: Sexual assault/rape, Rancho Cordova
July 17, 1976: Sexual assault/rape, Carmichael
August 29, 1976: Burglary, attempted sexual assault, Rancho Cordova
Sept. 4, 1976: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael
Oct. 5, 1976: Sexual Assault/rape, Citrus Heights
Oct. 9, 1976: Sexual Assault/rape, Rancho Cordova
Oct. 18, 1976: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael
Oct. 18, 1976: Carjacking, Rancho Cordova
Nov. 10, 1976: Kidnapping, Citrus Heights
Dec. 18, 1976: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael
Jan. 18, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento
Jan. 24, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Citrus Heights
Feb. 7, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael
Feb. 16, 1977: Assault, attempted murder, Sacramento
March 8, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento
March 18, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Rancho Cordova
April 2, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Orangevale
April 15, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael
May 3, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento
May 5, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Orangevale
May 14, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Citrus Heights
May 17, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael
May 28, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento
Sept. 6, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Stockton
Oct. 1, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Rancho Cordova
Oct. 21, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento
Oct. 29, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento
Nov. 10, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento
Dec. 2, 1977: Attempted sexual assault, Sacramento
Jan. 28, 1978: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael
Jan. 29, 1979: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael
Feb. 2, 1978: Brian and Katie Maggiore were killed, Rancho Cordova
March 18, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Stockton
April 14, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Sacramento
June 5, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Modesto
June 7, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Davis
June 23, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Modesto
June 24, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Davis
July 6, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Davis
Oct. 7, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Concord
Oct. 13, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Concord
Oct. 28, 1978: San Ramon
Nov. 4, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, San Jose
Dec. 2, 1978: Sexual assault/rape,San Jose
Dec. 8, 1978: Sexual assault/rape (DNA link), Danville
Dec. 18, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, San Ramon
March 20, 1979: Sexual assault/rape, Rancho Cordova
April 4, 1979: Sexual assault/rape, Fremont
June 2, 1979: Sexual assault/rape, Walnut Creek
June 11, 1979: Sexual assault/rape (DNA link), Danville
June 25, 1979: Sexual assault/rape, Walnut Creek
July 5, 1979: Attempted sexual assault, Danville
Oct. 1, 1979: Attempted sexual assault/murder (no DNA) Goleta
Dec. 30, 1979: 2 people killed, Goleta
March 13, 1980: Sexual assault/rape, Lyman and Charlene Smith were killed (DNA link), Ventura
Aug. 19, 1980: Sexual assault/rape, Keith and Patrice Harrington killed, Dana Point
Feb. 5, 1981: Sexual assault/rape, Manuela Witthuhn killed (DNA link), Irvine
July 27, 1981: 2 people killed (DNA link), Goleta
May 4, 1986: Sexual assault/rape, Janelle Cruz killed(DNA link) Irvine
While his real identity remained a mystery until then, his crimes earned him a series of ominous names.
First, he was the Visalia Ransacker, a burglar who ravaged people’s homes from 1974-1975, stealing personal items and scattering women’s underwear around the crime scenes.
Next, he was the East Area Rapist, a shadowy predator who assaulted dozens of women between 1976 and 1979.
Between the burglaries and rapes, he started killing, earning himself the name of the Golden State Killer and the Original Nightstalker.
What triggered his sadistic tendencies remains largely a mystery.
DeAngelo grew up following his US Airman father around with his mother and sister.
Little is known about his upbringing beyond that they were, at one time, stationed in Germany.
His sister’s son, Jesse Ryland, has told in the past how DeAngelo would often see his father beat his mother, Kathleen.
He also claimed that he witnessed his sister being raped by two airmen when she was just seven and he was nine.
Ryland speculated that may have been the catalyst for his obsession with rape later in life. DeAngelo has never commented on it.
The family returned to the US and settled on the West Coast by DeAngelo’s teenage years.
Photo [left], suspected serial killer and prolific burglar, Joseph James DeAngelo Jr when he was in the Navy, and on the [right] is a picture of DeAngelo during his sophomore year at Folsom High School
His father was posted overseas in Korea later but he and his mother and sister stayed. His mother, according to a profile in the Los Angeles Times in 2018, started seeing a married man who had his own family.
It left DeAngelo in charge of caring for his younger siblings.
Former childhood friends told how he would try to fit in to their families as if they were his own.
He graduated from Folsom Senior High School in 1964 and joined the Navy, working as a damage control man aboard the Canberra during the Vietnam War.
No other details of his military career are known.
A 1967 article in The Auburn Journal, the local newspaper where his parents live, describes him as a 21-year-old due home on leave.
After returning to the US from Vietnam, he met Bonnie Colwell, a science student who ultimately broke his heart.
He and Bonnie were at one time engaged but she broke it off in 1971.
When he was arrested in 2018, Bonnie went into hiding.
DeAngelo’s next known milestone was not until 1972, when he graduated from California State University with a degree in criminal justice.
From there, he joined The Exeter Police Department where he worked as an officer on the burglary unit.
It’s in this job that he learned how to commit seemingly perfect burglaries himself.
It was also while he was working there that he married Sharon Marie Huddle.
The pair had three daughters, who are now all adults.
Between 1974 and 1975, a figure who became known as the Visalia Ransacker carried out more than 120 burglaries in the area. For decades, his identity was unknown.
When DeAngelo was arrested in 2018 for the murders and rapes of dozens of others, he was quickly tied to the Visalia Ransacker crimes and blamed for them.
His signature, when burglarizing, was to leave women’s underwear scattered at his crime scenes.
In 1975 was when he graduated from burglarizing to attempted kidnapping and then killing, shooting dead Claude Snelling who was protecting his teenage daughter, Elizabeth, from being kidnapped.
Elizabeth, 16, woke up at 2am on September 11, 1975, to see a man in a ski mask, standing over her bed, telling her to go with him or be killed.
He dragged her from her room and out of the family’s backdoor towards their carport but was stopped by Snelling who happened to be in the kitchen at the time.
Elizabeth later recalled: ‘I heard a yell and saw my dad charge out the back door.
‘The kidnapper] threw me down and shot my dad twice. Then he pointed the gun at me.’
DeAngelo hit her with the gun and kicked her but fled. Snelling died on his way to the hospital.
In 1976, he left the Exeter Police Department and started working for the Auburn Police Department.
That is when his relentless raping began.
Between 1976 and 1979, he raped dozens of women in the area.
It terrorized the neighborhoods where he picked his targets and earned him the name East Area Rapist.
One of the victims recalled how he lay down next to her after the attack and sobbed: ‘I hate you, I hate you, I hate you Bonnie.’
DeAngelo was fired by the police department in 1979 after being caught shoplifting a hammer and dog repellent from a drugstore in Citrus Heights, one of the areas where he would attack women.
He then spent 27 years working at a Save Mart Supermarkets distribution center, fixing trucks, before retiring in 2017.
It’s unclear when but he and his wife separated some time before his 2018 arrest which came as a shock to his neighbors and relatives.
It was the first time police had tested samples of DNA found at some of the crime scenes against DNA being stored by GEDMatch.
One of DeAngelo’s relatives had willingly submitted their sample to find out more about their ancestry.
Since his case, it has been used as a crime-solving technique hundreds of times.
DeAngelo’s neighbors described him as ‘cantankerous’, unlikable and a ‘curser’.
While he has been blamed for 88 crimes, he has also been exonerated in others.
Among his rapes is the attack of a 13-year-old girl who recalled in detail being assaulted while he shone a flashlight in her face.
‘In a very harsh whisper, he would say, “Do you want to die?
‘Do you want me to kill your mother? Do you want me to slit her throat?”‘ Wardlow said.
‘I answered him immediately, “I don’t care,” and he’d say, “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”‘ Margaret Wardlow, who was raped by him in 1977, recalled to Inside Edition after his arrest last year.
DeAngelo’s wife and children have never spoken of his crimes.
His sister was stunned when he was arrested.
‘As stunned as I am – because I’ve never seen him display any kind of madness or anything like that – I just can’t believe it.
‘I’ve never seen anything to allow myself to think he could do such things,’ Rebecca Thompson, his older sister, told The Sacramento Bee at the time of his arrest.
Golden State Killer’s 13 murder Victims
Claude Snelling September 11, 1975
Journalism professor Claude Snelling, 45, was asleep in his home in Visalia, California when he heard an odd noise outside at about 2am.
He rushed outside to find a masked man dragging his 16-year-old daughter Elizabeth away.
The abductor shot Snelling twice, killing him, and fled the scene on foot, leaving Elizabeth unharmed.
She later told how her father saved her life.
DeAngelo had woken her up, standing over her in a ski mask. He told her to go with him or risk her life.
She said it was ‘blurry’ but that she remembered him dragging her.
‘The kidnapper] threw me down and shot my dad twice. Then he pointed the gun at me.’
DeAngelo hit her with the gun and kicked her but fled. Snelling died on his way to the hospital.
The shooting was connected to the work of the Visalia Ransacker, believed to be responsible for 102 burglaries in the area, when ballistics matched the gun that killed Snelling to one that had been stolen in a previous break-in.
December 30, 1979
Dr Robert Offerman, 44, and Alexandria Manning, 35, were killed at a home in Goleta near Santa Barbara.
Offerman, an osteopathic surgeon, and Manning, a clinical psychologist, had their hands bound with twine.
Lyman and Charlene Smith
March 13, 1980
Lyman Smith, 43, and his wife Charlene, 33, were bludgeoned to death with a fireplace log in their Ventura County home.
Smith was an attorney who was just days from being appointed a judge. His wife worked as a court clerk.
Patrice and Keith Harrington killed Aug 19, 1980
Patrice and Keith Harrington August 19, 1980
Patrice Harrington, 28, and her husband Keith, 25, were killed in their home at Dana Point. Police said they were beaten with a blunt instrument.
Patrice was a pediatric nurse and her husband was a medical student at UC Irvine.
Manuela Witthuhn, 28, was raped and beaten to death in her home in Irvine.
She was home alone at the time because her husband was in the hospital recovering from an illness.
Cheri Domingo, 35, and Gregory Sanchez, 27, were house sitting in Goleta when they were murdered in bed.
Domingo was found with her hands tied and suffering massive head injuries. Sanchez was shot and bludgeoned.
Janelle Lisa Cruz
May 4, 1986
Janelle Cruz, 18, was bludgeoned to death in her family’s home in Irvine. She was home alone at the time and police found her lying across her bed.
A real estate agent who was selling the family’s home was the first to discover the teen’s body. Blood was found spattered throughout the home and police believe she was beaten with a pipe wrench.
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