Golden State Killer Pleads Guilty To Murder Charges

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Joseph James DeAngelo, The man accused of being the “Golden State Killer” has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of murder and admitted other crimes during a plea hearing that is ongoing in a California courtroom.

Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, is admitting to being one of the nation’s worst serial predators as part of a deal with prosecutors and a handful of California counties that spares him the death penalty. The deal calls for him to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

DeAngelo said “guilty” in a husky voice after Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael G. Bowman asked him if he killed journalism professor Claude Snelling in 1975, the first of 13 counts of first degree murder and other uncharged counts DeAngelo is expected to admit to under the terms of the deal.

The plea hearing will bring to a close one of the nation’s most infamous strings of unsolved crimes, sprees of slayings, rapes and burglaries that stretched across California from the mid-’70s to the mid-80s.

Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney for Sacramento County, Thien Ho said “The scope of Joseph DeAngelo’s crime spree is simply staggering.”

DeAngelo muttered to himself as he waited in a law enforcement interview room. “I’ve done all those things,” Ho said DeAngelo said to himself. “I’ve destroyed all their lives.”

The hearing is being held at a cavernous Sacramento State University ballroom, a venue chosen because it was large enough to hold the more than 150 victims and family members of victims expected to attend and at the same time provide for social distancing.

The arrest of DeAngelo in 2018 marked an extraordinary breakthrough, since it came decades after the hunt for the killer had grown cold, and because it relied on a groundbreaking genetic technique that has now helped solve dozens of other crimes.

DeAngelo, a Navy veteran and former police officer, was quietly living out his retirement in the Sacramento suburb of Citrus Heights when authorities linked him to a series of brutal attacks that stretched from Northern to Southern California between 1974 and 1986.

The Golden State killer, who was alternately known as the East Area Rapist, Original Nightstalker and Visalia Ransacker, among other monikers appeared to start in 1974 with a series of more than 100 home burglaries and a slaying near Visalia, a city in the Central Valley of California. Dozens of rapes followed in and around Sacramento and the Bay Area from 1976 to 1979.

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