July 9, 2020
Golden State killer avoids costly trial, admits horrific crime spree
SACRAMENTO - Forty-five years after committing his first murder, Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. admitted Monday he was the Golden State Killer: serial killer, rapist and author of one of the worst crime sprees in California history.

Looking frail and speaking in a halting voice, DeAngelo entered a string of guilty pleas in a Sacramento State ballroom that was converted into a courtroom for the day, the Sacramento Bee reported.

DeAngelo, 74, admitted to a 12-year binge of murder and sexual assaults from the Sacramento area to Orange County that captivated the world’s attention and spawned a multitude of nicknames for the disgraced former police officer: Golden State Killer, East Area Rapist, Visalia Ransacker, Original Night Stalker and more.

Wearing a jailhouse orange jumpsuit, and a face shield to guard against the spread of the coronavirus, DeAngelo agreed to plead guilty to a total of 13 counts of murder and 13 counts of kidnap for robbery, starting with the Nov. 11, 1975, shooting death of college professor Claude Snelling in Visalia. He admitted to 62 rapes and other crimes for which he wasn’t formally charged.

He admitted to Snelling’s death, and the other crimes, with a simple but feeble, “Guilty.” When the uncharged counts were read aloud, he said, “I admit.”

Prosecutors from across the state read aloud the excruciating, horrific and sometimes bizarre circumstances of each case.

DeAngelo sat impassively at the defense table, flanked by his public defenders, as the gruesome details of his crimes were recited.

Thienvu Ho, a Sacramento County deputy DA, said DeAngelo committed a total of 50 rapes in addition to the 13 murders.

Ho said DeAngelo inadvertently confessed to his crimes shortly after his arrest two years ago. After being confronted with DNA evidence and then being left alone in a law enforcement interview room, DeAngelo was observed muttering to himself, “I did all those things. I’ve destroyed all their lives.”

Under a plea-bargain deal reached two weeks ago, DeAngelo is expected to be sentenced in August to life in prison without parole.

Prosecutors agreed to forego seeking the death penalty in order to save the cost of taking DeAngelo to trial in what would have been one of the largest and costliest prosecutions in California history. Given DeAngelo’s advanced age, the ages of witnesses and investigators, and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s imposition of a moratorium on executions, prosecutors decided it was time to accept a plea deal and not conduct a death penalty trial.
Story Date: June 30, 2020
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