Joseph DeAngelo to face trial in Sacramento, new charges

Aug. 21 (UPI) — Joseph DeAngelo, the suspected Golden State Killer accused of slaying 13 people in California over the course of a decade, will face trial in Sacramento, prosecutors announced Tuesday.

District attorneys from six California counties where he faces charges are consolidating the case against the 72-year-old Citrus Heights man, they said during a news conference.

Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton also announced new charges against DeAngelo for crimes associated with nine rapes during the 1970s. He faces 13 counts of kidnapping during the course of robbery.

Though the statute of limitations expired for any rape charges, he allegedly used a gun or knife in the attacks, making him eligible for a life sentence and the new charges.

“For decades he evaded justice and devastated communities across California,” Becton said.

DeAngelo is accused of 13 murders, some 50 rapes and more than 85 burglaries during a crime spree that spanned the state of California in the 1970s and 1980s. Law enforcement officers in the state initially didn’t tie together the crimes, and the man responsible was known by a number of monikers depending on the area.

The earliest offenses linked to DeAngelo were in Tulare County, where police and early media reports described him as the Visalia Ransacker. He is accused of more than 85 burglaries before allegedly killing Claude Snelling in 1975.

He’s also accused of dozens of rapes and 12 murders in other parts of Central and Southern California, where he was known as the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker and the Diamond Knot Killer.

In addition to Snelling, police charged DeAngelo with the murders of Robert Offerman, Debra Manning, Charlene Smith, Lyman Smith, Keith Harrington, Patrice Harrington, Manuela Witthuhn, Cheri Domingo, Gregory Sanchez, Katie Maggiore, Brian Maggiore and Janelle Cruz.

Most of the killer’s victims were women who were home alone or with their children. If their husbands were home, they were often tied up during the attack.

Police announced in April they were able to link DeAngelo to the slayings using DNA evidence from some of the crimes entered into a genealogy website.

DeAngelo was an officer with the Auburn Police Department for three years in the 1970s and he also had a job with the police department in Exeter, which is near Visalia where the burglaries from 1973 and 1976 happened. He was divorced and was living with his daughter and granddaughter at the time of his arrest.

The Golden State Killer case was the subject of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, an investigative book written by the late Michelle McNamara and a podcast of the same name featuring interviews with McNamara, her husband Patton Oswalt and others who worked on the book.

Oswalt, an actor and comedian, helped to get McNamara’s book published after her death in 2016 and has promoted it since its release in February.

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