Things That Matter

Golden State Killer Confesses To Rape And Murder, After Families Have Been Waiting For Decades

Although his crime spree took place more than thirty years ago, the Golden State Killer has only recently been held accountable for the unspeakable crimes he committed up and down the state of California.

Thanks to advancements in DNA testing, police found a suspect and this week the Golden State Killer confessed to dozens of crimes committed from Sacramento to San Diego.

His victim’s families have celebrated the move as a first step on the path towards justice for their loved ones.

One of California’s most prolific killers has pleased guilty to his crimes and will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The Golden State Killer terrorized California for more than a decade, before his trail went cold. After being arrested in 2018 thanks to advancements in DNA testing, Joseph DeAngelo was charged with several crimes (including burglaries and murders) and named as the Golden State Killer.

Since his arrest, police have been building a case against him and this week charged him with additional crimes, for which he has pled guilty to on all counts. He pled guilty to 13 counts of first-degree murder and special circumstances – including murder committed during burglaries and rapes -– as well as 13 counts of kidnapping, and he acknowledged more than 50 rapes he was not charged for because of California’s statute of limitations.

DeAngelo will be sentenced in August, and will kiley serve 11 consevutive life terms without the possibility of parole. According to Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday, he agreed to plead guilty to all charges to avoid the death penalty.

With his guilty plea, victim’s families will finally be able to face him in court and seek justice.

Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Some of the Golden State Killer’s victims, were raped or murdered as far back as 1974. So their families have been waiting for justice for decades.

After dozens of false leads and dead ends, the case was followed up on after advancements in DNA. And now, the Golden State Killer has been identified and charged with the crimes that have left dozens of families in untold pain.

The plea means that his victims can give their impact statements starting August 17 — much quicker than if he had gone to trial in a prosecution that the six district attorneys involved said might have taken as long as a decade.

“Today’s court proceeding brings us one step closer to ending the horrific saga of Joseph DeAngelo and his decades long crime spree,” Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said Monday in a news release. “In this case justice did not move swiftly, it was a long time coming. However, our victims remained steadfast and brave throughout this entire process.”

The Golden State Killer had a long crime spree and dozens of victims.

Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Although DeAngelo was just arrested in 2018, his crimes date back to 1974. He has admitted to burglaries, rapes, and murders ranging from northern to Southern California. He earned nicknames such as the Visalia Ransacker, the Diamond Knot Killer, the Original Night Stalker and the East Area Rapist. Officials only later realized the crimes were all the work of one man.

The former police officer, Vietnam War veteran and auto mechanic was arrested in April 2018 after police tracked him down by matching his DNA with a genealogy website.

Investigators created a family tree dating back to the 1800s in order to identify him as a suspect. Detectives followed him and collected a piece of rubbish he had thrown away, finding the same DNA recovered from several crime scenes.

Now, the Golden State Killer’s gripping crime story will be told in a six-part HBO series.

Just one day before DeAngelo pled guilty to all charges, HBO debuted a miniseries detailing his crimes and the victim’s stories. The series, based on author and researcher Michelle McNamara‘s own investigation, combines archives of footage and police files, as well as exclusive new interviews with detectives, survivors and relatives of DeAngelo.

McNamara remained focused on the victims of the crimes throughout her process, and she earned the right to “walk off with 37 boxes of Golden State Killer evidence, according to Assistant Orange County Public Defender Scott Sanders.

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