The retired cop accused of being the notorious “Golden State Killer” is expected to plead guilty Monday to a reign of terror that involved more than a dozen slayings.
Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, is anticipated to enter a deal that will spare him the death penalty on charges for 13 murders and 13 kidnappings spanning six counties in California.
He’s also expected as part of the deal to cop to at least 62 rapes during his twisted crime spree in the 1970s and 1980s.
The crimes can no longer be prosecuted, because too much time has passed, but the deal would bring closure to survivors who have long-awaited justice in the case that has gripped Californians for decades.
For more than 40 years, the prolific-but-unidentified rapist and serial killer eluded authorities — as DeAngelo, who was an officer in two small-town police departments during the 1970s, allegedly crisscrossed the state.
Some of the earlier crimes involved an armed and masked rapist who would break into sleeping couples’ suburban homes at night, binding the man while sexually assaulting the woman in central and Northern California, authorities said.
It was only years later that the assaults were linked to slayings in Southern California.
The suspect had been known as East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker and the Diamond Knot Killer — before he was dubbed the Golden State Killer by writer Michelle McNamara in the best-selling book, “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.”
It took the pioneering use of new DNA techniques for investigators to finally make a break in the case. Using decades-old evidence, authorities compiled a family tree on an online DNA database and zeroed in on DeAngelo before arresting him in 2018.
He will appear Monday in a Sacramento State University ballroom that’s been converted into a courtroom to allow for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
“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, who was slain in 1980 in Ventura County.
Sentencing will likely occur in August and could last several days, as scores of victims are expected to confront him.
Source: New York Post
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