The Golden State Killer has pleaded guilty to 26 charges of murder and kidnapping, bringing an end to a sinister, decades-long saga of kidnappings, rapes and murders, as prosecutors celebrated bringing the ‘real life version of Hannibal Lecter’ to justice Leave a comment

The Golden State Killer has pleaded guilty to 26 charges of murder and kidnapping, bringing an end to a sinister, decades-long saga of kidnappings, rapes and murders, as prosecutors celebrated bringing the ‘real life version of Hannibal Lecter’ to justice. 

Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, pleaded guilty Monday to all 13 counts of murder, 13 counts of kidnapping, and confessed to 161 uncharged crimes – many of which were rapes – which go back beyond the statute of limitations.  

At the end of the exhaustive hours-long hearing, which wrapped up shortly before 5pm PST, relatives and loved ones in the makeshift ballroom courtroom in Sacramento broke into applause and one woman shouted ‘Goodbye!So long!’

His sentencing is expected to last for several days beginning on August 17. During that time victims will share impact statements and the judge will not impose a time limit. 

DeAngelo is also accused of committing over 60 rapes in his murderous spree from 1975 to 1986, even while he was working as a police officer, in various California counties.He became known by the malevolent monikers ‘Golden State Killer’, ‘East Area Rapist’, ‘Original Night Stalker’, and ‘Diamond Knot Killer’.

DeAngelo, frail and in an orange prison jumpsuit, had to be wheeled onto the stage at the hearing held in the ballroom of Sacramento State University. 

He feebly answered ‘yes’ and ‘yes your honor’ and ‘guilty’ and ‘I admit’ when a judge asked for his plea on the string of charges. 

At a press conference following the historic hearing, prosecutors celebrated their victory, finally ending a more than 45-year hunt for the notorious killer. 

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Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, pleaded guilty Monday to all 13 counts of murder, 13 counts of kidnapping, and confessed to 161 uncharged crimes – many of which were rapes, bringing an end to the mystery of the Golden State Killer and justice for his dozens of victims.DeAngelo pictured at his hearing in Sacramento County on Monday

DeAngelo, frail and in an orange prison jumpsuit, had to be wheeled onto the stage at the hearing held in the ballroom of Sacramento State University.He feebly answered ‘yes’ and ‘yes your honor’ and ‘guilty’ and ‘I admit’ when a judge asked for his plea on the string of charges

People at the courtroom held up photos of their loved ones during the hearing on the crimes and cheered when the hours-long hearing wrapped up

Members of the audience, including victims and family members of victims, stand as the charges are read

‘Joseph DeAngelo isn’t just the Golden State Killer.Having sat here today and sat that night of his interview, he is the real life version of Hannibal Lecter. He’s a cruel, intelligent, sadistic serial killer, he is a pure sociopath, he is a master manipulator,’ Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said at a press conference Monday evening

‘The victims in this case have lived for far too long with this trauma.Simply put, they deserve to see the defendant die in prison as a convict and not simply the accused,’ Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten said

DeAngelo pictured huddled with his attorney public defender Diane Howard towards the end of the hearing 

‘Thank you for being what I call Team Justice. This has been a very long journey for justice. It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. For so many there is little doubt that this journey felt like a thousand miles.This journey of passion and persistence finally led to this day of reckoning,’ Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.

‘Joseph DeAngelo isn’t just the Golden State Killer. Having sat here today and sat that night of his interview, he is the real life version of Hannibal Lecter.He’s a cruel, intelligent, sadistic serial killer, he is a pure sociopath, he is a master manipulator.

‘We have now moved this monster, not simply from just being caught but now standing convicted… Today was a good day for the people,’ she added.

She said that a huge step in bringing DeAngelo to justice came with the revolutionary new DNA tool investigative genetic geneology which led authorities to identify and arrest the serial killer.    

‘I’m a supporter of the death penalty.I believe in it. But in the end I and my colleagues concluded that seeking death did not serve the best interests of the victims in this unique decades-old serial rape, killing case,’ Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten said. 

‘The probability, given his age, the defendant would likely die before his trial and certainly before any execution could be carried out… The victims in this case have lived for far too long with this trauma.Simply put, they deserve to see the defendant die in prison as a convict and not simply the accused. And that is the reason we chose this result, which I think is a just and fair result,’ Totten added.  

When asked if DeAngelos’ frail and feeble appearance in court was an act Schubert said: ‘The court couldn’t take his plea unless he’s competent to stand trial.’

She noted that when he was arrested in 2018 he was racing down a freeway on a motorcycle.Days later when he appeared in court he was wheeled in sitting in a wheelchair. 

Joseph James DeAngelo, the Golden State Killer, appears in a court hearing in California on Monday to plead guilty 

DeAngelo was helped out of his wheelchair by his lawyers

The frail 74-year-old was wheeled in to the university ballroom if front of a socially distanced crowd

Two people, believed to be victims or victims’ relatives, stood to listen to some of the charges being described 

Journalists and victims were among the 160 people who attended the hearing on Monday

The ballroom on Monday where Joseph James DeAngelo , the Golden State Killer, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of murder and 13 counts of kidnapping to avoid the death penalty 

The hearing could not take place in an ordinary courtroom because 150 of his victims and victim’s relatives showed up and a larger room was needed to enforce social distancing.  

Prosecutors said the time for justice was now because many of the victims had waited decades for it and were now so elderly they might not be able to wait for a jury trial. 

Sacramento County prosecutor Thien Ho told the court: ‘The scope of Joseph DeAngelo’ crime spree is simply staggering.His monikers reflect the sweeping geographical impact of his crimes. 

‘Each time he escaped, slipping away silently into the night, leaving communities terrified for years. 

‘For over 40 years the biggest question remained unanswered who was the serial killer and rapist?’ 

In his guilty plea deal, DeAngelo agreed to plead guilty to all charges and to admit to uncharged attacks to avoid the death penalty.He faces 11 consecutive terms of life without parole and 15 concurrent life sentences and additional time for weapons charges.

DeAngelo as a police officer for Exeter Police Department, in the early 70s

However Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman said that the sentence is only a recommendation. 

Now, DeAngelo will likely die in prison. 

‘Mr.DeAngelo is acknowledging his guilt for the heinous crimes he has committed,’ Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said. 

‘There is really nothing that could give full justice because he has committed horrendous acts and murder up and down the state of California.But at least we can now begin the process — after decades — to bring some closure to families.’

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. 

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 Deputy DA at Santa Barbara District Attorney Kelly Duncan speaks during a hearing against former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo Jr.  DeAngelo answered ‘guilty’ or ‘I admit’ to all of the accusations

Chief Assistant DA at Contra Costa County Venus Johnson (left) and Deputy DA at Sacramento County Thienvu Ho (right) also described some of DeAngelo’s crimes

Chief Assistant DA at Ventura County Cheryl Temple (left) and Deputy DA at Sacramento County Amy Holliday (right) described in detail different crimes 

‘DeAangelo was holding a flashlight in his left and was pointing a revolver at John Doe. The defendant then said: “I just want food and money, that’s all I’ll kill you if you don’t do what I say”‘.

‘Jane Doe then woke up at this point and the defendant told her husband to turn over and put his hands behind his back.’

 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 describing 1978 attack 

DeAngelo then used shoe strings to tie up the couple and told them to lie on their bed while he ransacked their home for 30 minutes.

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.”

Judge Michael Bowman speaks at the Sacramento County courtroom.He asked DeAngelo whether or not he understood the deal and agreed to it, to which he answered ‘yes your honor’ 

DeAngelo pictured during Monday’s hearing on his crimes in Sacramento, Calfiornia wearing a proptective face shield 

‘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.

Jane Carson-Sandler, a 1976 rape victim of the Golden State Killer flashed a thumbs up to agree with a prosecutor’s statement about a part of DeAngelo’s anatomy during Monday’s court hearing

Golden State Killer victim Jane Carson-Sandler pictured left and right in 2018.She was 30 when she was attacked in October 1976

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 August 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. 

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. 

As the egregious attacks were described, family members of victims stood up during the reading of the circumstances of their loved one’s death or attacks. 

Family members of Janelle Cruz, DeAngelo’s last known victim, were some of the relatives to stand up and face the Golden State Killer as the charge was read out.  

Relatives of one woman who was raped erupted in applause when the prosecutor read a victim’s statement that DeAngelo had a small penis.

Sandy James was one of the relatives in the ballroom to hold up a photo of her late sister Debbie Strauss who was stalked and raped by DeAngelo.  

THE GOLDEN STATE KILLER: HOW A VIETNAM VET TURNED COP GOT AWAY WITH RAPE, BURGLARY, KIDNAPPING AND MURDER FOR DECADES BEFORE BEING BROUGHT DOWN BY A GENEALOGY WEBSITE

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.

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