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The “Golden State Killer” faces justice

There were a lot of emotions as victims and surviving family members got to confront the golden state killer,who raped and killed dozens of people beginning in the 70s.

Over the course of his crime spree that spanned California, Joseph James DeAngelo has been known as the Golden State Killer, the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker and the Visalia rapist.

One woman, who was just seven years old and asleep when her mother was bound and raped by DeAngelo, described him threatening her mother not to make a sound lest she woke up.
“He threatened to cut my ear off and bring it to her,” she said. When she woke, “I could sense evil, then all hell broke loose.”
Comparing him to the fictional cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter, she said DeAngelo was “proof monsters were real. I had met the boogeyman.”
“You can go straight to hell,” another victim Pat Murphy said while raising a middle finger. Murphy was only 15 when DeAngelo raped her.

About DeAngelo

DeAngelo attended the Kings County Public Safety Academy for 400 hours. He worked for the Exeter police department until 1976, when he went to work as an officer in Auburn until he was fired in 1979 for shoplifting a hammer and dog repellent.

Joseph James DeAngelo on the right in a photo from 1979.

In the summer of ’76,burglaries and rapes terrorized the eastern district of Sacramento County. The  “Golden State Killer” would break into his victims’ homes by prying open a window or door while they slept and would sometimes take jewelry, identification, cash and coins from their homes.

In February 1978, Brian and Katie Maggiore, were walking their dog in the Sacramento area when they got attacked. DeAngelo shot Brian and ran after Katie who had managed to get away.He caught up with her and shot her in the head.

The burglaries continued in the East Bay area of Northern California, and then escalated into rapes and murders along the California coast. The “Golden State Killer” would often attack couples, tie up both victims, rape the female, and then murder them.

On Dec. 30, 1979, Alexandria Manning and Robert Offerman were killed in Goleta, near Santa Barbara.

In March 1980 Lyman and Charlene Smith were attacked in their Ventura home and Charlene was bound and raped.The couple was eventually murdered and their bodies were found by Lyman Smith’s 12-year-old son.

In August of 1980, Keith and Patrice Harrington were slain in their home in Dana Point in Southern California.

On February 5, 1981, 28-year-old Manuela Witthuhn was bound, raped and bludgeoned to death while home alone in Irvine in Southern California. Her body was found by her mother.

In July 1981, Cheri Domingo and Gregory Sanchez were killed in Goleta. DeAngelo shot and beat Sanchez  to death then bound Domingo, raped her and beat her in the head more than 10 times.

In 1986,18-year-old Janelle Cruz was killed. Cruz was bound, raped and bludgeoned in the face and head at her home, prosecutors said. That was his last known crime.

The case went cold for decades and DeAngelo’s name came up for the first time in the investigation in 2018, Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.

DeAngelo became the first public arrest obtained through genetic genealogy, a new technique that takes the DNA of an unknown suspect left behind at a crime scene and identifies him or her by tracing a family tree through his or her family members, who voluntarily submit their DNA to public genealogy databases.

To identify DeAngelo, investigators narrowed the family tree search based on age, location and other characteristics.

Once authorities zeroed in on DeAngelo, they surveilled him and collected his DNA from a tissue left in a trash.

On June 29, 2020, DeAngelo pleaded guilty to 13 counts of first-degree murder.The plea deal also required DeAngelo to admit to multiple uncharged acts, including rapes, which were described in horrific detail by prosecutors.

The death penalty will be taken off the table and he will serve life without parole.


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