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Joseph DeAngelo Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping, Murder Charges in Golden State Killer Cases

Joseph DeAngelo Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping, Murder Charges in Golden State Killer Cases

The plea-deal was driven, in part, by concerns about COVID-19.

In April 2018, we reported that investigators looking into the case of the “Golden State Killer,” believed responsible for 12 murders and 51 rapes carried out throughout California during the ’70s and ’80s, had a breakthrough. New DNA testing helped lead to the identification of a 72-year old Joseph DeAngelo as a potential suspect.

Over two years later, DeAngelo has pleaded guilty to 26 kidnapping and murder charges.

Four decades after he started sneaking into homes, tying up victims, raping women and killing couples, former police officer Joseph DeAngelo pleaded guilty Monday to 26 charges of murder and kidnapping, admitting what pioneering forensic science had already proven — he was the sadistic Golden State Killer.

His acceptance of a plea deal spared him death, a reprieve the 74-year-old never offered more than a dozen men and women he shot and bludgeoned to death during a 12-year spree of rapes and killings during the 1970s and ’80s.

The admission of guilt guarantees that DeAngelo will be sentenced to life without parole.

DeAngelo was charged with 13 counts of murder, with additional special circumstances, as well as 13 counts of kidnapping for robbery in six counties, including Contra Costa County in the Bay Area. He admitted to more than 50 rapes, including some in Santa Clara, Contra Costa and Alameda counties, but the statute of limitations expired on those crimes.

The plea-deal was driven, in part, by concerns about COVID-19:

The prosecutors’ decision to take a plea deal rather than go to a jury trial was driven in part by public health risks, Ms. Holliday said at the start. The preliminary hearing was originally scheduled for May, she said, but “it had to be postponed because of court closures and the dangers of bringing elderly or high-risk individuals into the courtroom.”

The advanced age of many of the key players involved also played a role. “Many of the victims, witnesses and law enforcement are in their 80s and 90s,” she said. “Many of these people all deeply affected by these crimes may not be with us at the time of jury trial.”

DeAngelo’s horrific crime spree made for a lengthy court hearing.

He began as the Visalia Ransacker with a string of burglaries, then grew more violent as he moved from one county to the next. In 1975, college professor Claude Snelling was shot and killed as he charged at a masked man who was trying to abduct his daughter from his home, according to the Visalia Times Delta.

That masked man is then believed to have bound and raped a woman in Citrus Heights, leading to a series of attacks near Sacramento police attributed to an East Area Rapist. The suspect then killed a couple who is believed to have witnessed him breaking into a home in the Northern California city of Rancho Cordova.

Then, he moved 300 miles south to the Santa Barbara area, which he haunted for years with a string of killings that dubbed him the Original Night Stalker.

At first, local authorities didn’t see a connection between the crimes. But a pattern emerged.

He began by attacking women who were alone or with their children, but by 1977, his victims included couples in their homes.
Usually, he would sneak into homes, authorities said. If a couple was home, he would tie up the man, place dishes on his back and threaten to kill both victims if he heard the plates fall while he raped the woman.

The DNA used to track down DeAngelo included a sample from his trash and a swab from the driver’s side handle of his car. He is looking at the possibility of serving 11 consecutive terms of life without parole, with 15 concurrent life sentences and additional time for weapons charges.


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At least he faces some justice after all this time.

Did you know that the biblical “eye for and eye, tooth for a tooth” was about equal justice but not vengeance? It was Jewish law to put a limitation on someone doing to harm to another, so it would not be doing more harm to the perpetrator of the wrong than they had done to the victim. In cases of murder, it feels wrong that those who committed it are allowed to live the rest of their natural life when they took from someone else something that is irreplaceable.

Life in prison isn’t pleasant, but it is still life, which this evil person stole from many. He still lives while he deprived those he killed of theirs. This doesn’t even touch on the other crimes, including numerous rapes. I hope the years he has left are not good ones.

    Tom Servo in reply to oldgoat36. | July 1, 2020 at 9:46 am

    What you just wrote is why every previous generation of every culture in human history has believed in, and enforced, the death penalty for crimes like this. We are insane not to do it.

    Milhouse in reply to oldgoat36. | July 1, 2020 at 10:03 am

    The Biblical rule is actually about compensation. The interpretation handed down at the same time as the text is that it means the compensation to be paid for the damage is the value of what was lost, to be assessed as the difference between the price the plaintiff would fetch were he sold as a slave before the injury and what he would fetch now. “The value of an eye for an eye”, etc. (This is just the compensation for the actual loss; additional compensation is to be paid for the pain inflicted, the plaintiff’s medical expenses, the lost income while recovering, and the embarrassment of having to live with the injury.)

    This is evident if you read the whole passage together. “Whoever kills a person shall be killed. He who kills an animal shall pay for it, a life for a life. If a person inflicts a wound on another, whatever he did shall be done to him: a break for a break, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, whatever would has been inflicted on another so shall be inflicted on him. He who kills an animal shall pay for it, but he who kills a person shall be killed.”

    So what exactly is the penalty for killing an animal? The second sentence in the passage says the killer “shall pay for it, a life for a life”. OK, we say to ourselves, so the Creator is making a radical statement for animal rights; killing an animal is a capital crime, just like killing a person. Fair enough; He makes the rules. No more meat, I guess. But then we come to the end, and we’re told the exact opposite: Killing an animal is not like killing a person; it requires payment as opposed to death. So what did the second verse mean by saying the killer must pay “a life for a life”? We’ve just proved that it can’t mean his life, and it makes no sense to kill one of his animals (what if he doesn’t own any?), so the only sensible interpretation is the traditional one, “the value of a life for a life”. He pays the difference between what the animal was worth alive and whatever it’s worth now, dead (for dog food or whatever). But if that’s what “an X for an X” means in that sentence then it must mean the same thing throughout the whole passage. So just as the payment for an animal’s life is the difference in the animal’s value with and without the life, so the payment for an eye is the difference in the person’s value with and without the eye.

Does this guy’s layer not know about the “Get out of jail free” card? California Assembly Bill 1810 (No Author)?

johnny dollar | July 1, 2020 at 9:12 am

There was no chance whatsoever that this animal would have been executed if the state had elected to proceed with the case. Our idiot governor has imposed a stay on all executions, and even without that, our last execution was decades ago.
He would have died on death row, along with the other 700 or so convicted murderers.

    Connivin Caniff in reply to johnny dollar. | July 1, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    Yeah, but it would be nice to subject him to Death Row. On the other hand, he may have a few detractors in the general population.

You can tear down a statue, but you can’t execute a killing POS like this? Madness.

healthguyfsu | July 1, 2020 at 1:06 pm

Flies in the face of all those crim “experts” that say serial killers can’t stop.

This guy did to avoid and deny justice as long as possible.

buckeyeminuteman | July 2, 2020 at 11:03 am

I hope his fellow inmates get him. With a blunt broom stick.