Golden State Killer pleads GUILTY to 13 murders and 13 kidnappings

‘He is the real life version of Hannibal Lector’: District attorney celebrates the conviction of ‘sociopath’ Golden State Killer, 74, after he pleaded guilty to 13 murders and another 13 kidnappings that will see him spend the rest of his life in jail

  • Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, has pleaded guilty to 13 murders and 13 kidnappings in California on Monday 
  • He sat in front of dozens of his victims and their relatives in a ballroom at Sacramento State University
  • The elderly inmate had to be wheeled into the courtroom in a wheelchair in an orange prison uniform
  • Prosecutors read out the circumstances and charges of each crime and he feebly replied ‘guilty’ and ‘I admit’  
  • The hearing had to be moved from court to a larger room to enforce social distancing for the big crowd 
  • DeAngelo and his public defenders wore face shields in adherence with coronavirus health guidelines
  • His sentencing is expected to last for several days beginning on August 17 
  • ‘We have now moved this monster, not simply from just being caught but now standing convicted…Today was a good day for the people,’ Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said

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The Golden State Killer has pleaded guilty to 26 charges of murder and kidnapping, bringing an end to a sinister, decades-long saga of kidnappings, rapes, murders and the capture of the once elusive crime figure, as prosecutors celebrate bringing the ‘real life version of Hannibal Lecter’ to justice. 

Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, pleaded guilty Monday to all 13 counts of murder, 13 counts of kidnapping, and confessed to 161 uncharged crimes – many of which were rapes – which go back beyond the statute of limitations.  

At the end of the exhaustive hours-long hearing, which wrapped up shortly before 5pm PST, relatives and loved ones in the makeshift ballroom courtroom in Sacramento broke into applause and one woman shouted ‘Goodbye! So long!’

His sentencing is expected to last for several days beginning on August 17. During that time victims will share impact statements and the judge will not put a time limit. 

DeAngelo is also accused of committing over 60 rapes in his murderous spree from 1975 to 1986, even while he was working as a police officer, in various California counties. He became known by the malevolent monikers ‘Golden State Killer’, ‘East Area Rapist’, ‘Original Night Stalker’, and ‘Diamond Knot Killer’.

DeAngelo, frail and in an orange prison jumpsuit, had to be wheeled onto the stage at the hearing held in the ballroom of Sacramento State University. 

He feebly answered ‘yes’ and ‘yes your honor’ and ‘guilty’ and ‘I admit’ when a judge asked for his plea on the string of charges. 

At a press conference following the historic hearing, prosecutors celebrated their victory, finally ending an over 45-year hunt for the notorious killer. 

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Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, pleaded guilty Monday to all 13 counts of murder, 13 counts of kidnapping, and confessed to 161 uncharged crimes - many of which were rapes, bringing an end to the mystery of the Golden State Killer and justice for his dozens of victims. DeAngelo pictured at his hearing in Sacramento County on Monday

Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, pleaded guilty Monday to all 13 counts of murder, 13 counts of kidnapping, and confessed to 161 uncharged crimes – many of which were rapes, bringing an end to the mystery of the Golden State Killer and justice for his dozens of victims. DeAngelo pictured at his hearing in Sacramento County on Monday

DeAngelo, frail and in an orange prison jumpsuit, had to be wheeled onto the stage at the hearing held in the ballroom of Sacramento State University. He feebly answered 'yes' and 'yes your honor' and 'guilty' and 'I admit' when a judge asked for his plea on the string of charges

DeAngelo, frail and in an orange prison jumpsuit, had to be wheeled onto the stage at the hearing held in the ballroom of Sacramento State University. He feebly answered ‘yes’ and ‘yes your honor’ and ‘guilty’ and ‘I admit’ when a judge asked for his plea on the string of charges

People at the courtroom held up photos of their loved ones during the hearing on the crimes and cheered when the hours-long hearing wrapped up

People at the courtroom held up photos of their loved ones during the hearing on the crimes and cheered when the hours-long hearing wrapped up

Members of the audience, including victims and family members of victims, stand as DeAngelo is charged

Members of the audience, including victims and family members of victims, stand as DeAngelo is charged 

'Joseph DeAngelo isn’t just the Golden State Killer. Having sat here today and sat that night of his interview, he is the real life version of Hannibal Lecter. He’s a cruel, intelligent, sadistic serial killer, he is a pure sociopath, he is a master manipulator,' Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said at a press conference Monday evening

‘Joseph DeAngelo isn’t just the Golden State Killer. Having sat here today and sat that night of his interview, he is the real life version of Hannibal Lecter. He’s a cruel, intelligent, sadistic serial killer, he is a pure sociopath, he is a master manipulator,’ Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said at a press conference Monday evening

'The victims in this case have lived for far too long with this trauma. Simply put, they deserve to see the defendant die in prison as a convict and not simply the accused,' Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten said

‘The victims in this case have lived for far too long with this trauma. Simply put, they deserve to see the defendant die in prison as a convict and not simply the accused,’ Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten said

DeAngelo pictured huddled with his attorney public defender Diane Howard towards the end of the hearing

DeAngelo pictured huddled with his attorney public defender Diane Howard towards the end of the hearing 

‘Thank you for being what I call Team Justice. This has been a very long journey for justice. It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. For so many there is little doubt that this journey felt like a thousand miles. This journey of passion and persistence finally led to this day of reckoning,’ Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.

‘Joseph DeAngelo isn’t just the Golden State Killer. Having sat here today and sat that night of his interview, he is the real life version of Hannibal Lecter. He’s a cruel, intelligent, sadistic serial killer, he is a pure sociopath, he is a master manipulator.

‘We have now moved this monster, not simply from just being caught but now standing convicted…Today was a good day for the people,’ she added.

She said that a huge step in bringing DeAngelo to justice came with the revolutionary new DNA tool investigative genetic geneology which led authorities to identify and arrest the serial killer.    

‘I’m a supporter of the death penalty. I believe in it. But in the end I and my colleagues concluded that seeking death did not serve the best interests of the victims in this unique decades-old serial rape, killing case,’ Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten said. 

‘The probability, given his age, the defendant would likely die before his trial and certainly before any execution could be carried out…The victims in this case have lived for far too long with this trauma. Simply put, they deserve to see the defendant die in prison as a convict and not simply the accused. And that is the reason we chose this result, which I think is a just and fair result,’ Totten added.  

When asked if DeAngelos’ frail and feeble appearance in court was an act Schubert said: ‘The court couldn’t take his plea unless he’s competent to stand trial.’

She noted that when he was arrested in 2018 he was racing down a freeway on a motorcycle. Days later when he appeared in court he was wheeled in sitting in a wheelchair. 

Joseph James DeAngelo, the Golden State Killer, appears in a court hearing in California on Monday to plead guilty 

DeAngelo was helped out of his wheelchair by his lawyers

DeAngelo was helped out of his wheelchair by his lawyers

The frail 74-year-old was wheeled in to the university ballroom if front of a socially distanced crowd

The frail 74-year-old was wheeled in to the university ballroom if front of a socially distanced crowd

Two people, believed to be victims or victims relatives, stood to listen to some of the charges being described

Two people, believed to be victims or victims relatives, stood to listen to some of the charges being described 

Journalists and victims were among the 160 people who attended the hearing on Monday

Journalists and victims were among the 160 people who attended the hearing on Monday

The ballroom on Monday where Joseph James DeAngelo , the Golden State Killer, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of murder and 13 counts of kidnapping to avoid the death penalty

The ballroom on Monday where Joseph James DeAngelo , the Golden State Killer, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of murder and 13 counts of kidnapping to avoid the death penalty 

The hearing could not take place in an ordinary courtroom because 150 of his victims and victim’s relatives showed up and a larger room was needed to enforce social distancing.  

Prosecutors said the time for justice was now because many of the victims had waited decades for it and were now so elderly they might not be able to wait for a jury trial. 

Sacramento County prosecutor Thien Ho told the court: ‘The scope of Joseph DeAngelo’ crime spree is simply staggering. His monikers reflect the sweeping geographical impact of his crimes. 

‘Each time he escaped, slipping away silently into the night, leaving communities terrified for years. 

‘For over 40 years the biggest question remained unanswered who was the serial killer and rapist?’ 

In his guilty plea deal DeAngelo agreed to plead guilty to all charges and to admit to uncharged attacks to avoid the death penalty. He faces 11 consecutive terms of life without parole and 15 concurrent life sentences and additional time for weapons charges.

DeAngelo as a police officer for Exeter Police Department, in the early 70s

DeAngelo as a police officer for Exeter Police Department, in the early 70s

However Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman said that the sentence is only a recommendation. 

Now, DeAngelo will likely die in prison. 

‘Mr. DeAngelo is acknowledging his guilt for the heinous crimes he has committed,’ Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said. 

‘There is really nothing that could give full justice because he has committed horrendous acts and murder up and down the state of California. But at least we can now begin the process — after decades — to bring some closure to families.’

Prosecutors on Monday described how DeAngelo’s semen was found at the scene of some of the crimes and matched to the relative’s sample in GEDMatch.com. 

Cops watched him for weeks, trailing him in a garbage truck, and stole his trash after he dumped it on the street to gain their samples of his DNA. 

Once in custody, they said he ‘feigned feeble incoherence in the interview room’ but was heard talking to himself, saying: ‘I did all that. 

‘I didn’t have the strength to push him out, it was like he’s a part of me. I didn’t want to do those things. 

‘I pushed Jerry out and had a happy life. I did all those things. I’ve destroyed all their lives so now I’ve got to pay the price.’ 

Jerry is the inner personality he cryptically referred to that purportedly forced him to commit the wave of crimes that ended in 1986. 

Prosecutors read through a timeline of the crimes, giving details of all the killings, before the judge asked DeAngelo how he wanted to plead. 

He answered ‘guilty’ to the charges and answered ‘I admit’ to the sexual crimes that could not be charged because they are outside of the statute of limitations.  

Among the attacks was on a Jane Doe and her husband in 1978. DeAngelo broke into the couple’s home, tied them up with shoe strings in their bedroom to ransack the house, then forced the husband to lie face down on their bed with dishes on his back while he raped his wife in another room. 

He raped her anally and vaginally and forced her to perform oral sex on him while threatening to cut off her baby son’s ear and bring it to her if she resisted, the prosecutor said. 

‘Jane Doe and her husband went to bed at 11.30pm John Doe recalled being awoken by a sound and seeing a male standing at the foot of his bed that male was the defendant, Joseph DeAngelo.

Chief Deputy DA at Santa Barbara District Attorney Kelly Duncan speaks during a hearing against former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo Jr

DeAngelo answered 'guilty' or 'I admit' to all of the accusations

Chief Deputy DA at Santa Barbara District Attorney Kelly Duncan speaks during a hearing against former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo Jr.  DeAngelo answered ‘guilty’ or ‘I admit’ to all of the accusations

Chief Assistant DA at Contra Costa County Venus Johnson

Deputy DA at Sacramento County Thienvu Ho

Chief Assistant DA at Contra Costa County Venus Johnson (left) and Deputy DA at Sacramento County Thienvu Ho (right) also described some of DeAngelo’s crimes

Chief Assistant DA at Ventura County Cheryl Temple

Deputy DA at Sacramento County Amy Holliday

Chief Assistant DA at Ventura County Cheryl Temple (left) and Deputy DA at Sacramento County Amy Holliday (right) described in detail different crimes 

‘DeAangelo was holding a flashlight in his left and was pointing a revolver at John Do. The defendant then said: “I just want food and money, that’s all I’ll kill you if you don’t do what I say”‘.

‘Jane Doe then woke up at this point and the defendant told her husband to turnover and put his hands behind his back.’

DeAngelo then used shoe strings to tie up the couple and told them to lie on their bed while he ransacked their home for 30 minutes.

 He then forced her to orally copulate him, threatening to cut her baby boy’s ear off and bring it to her if she resisted
Prosecutor Venus Johnson describing 1978 attack 

He took dishes from the kitchen and placed them on their backs while he rummaged, presumably so that he would hear the dishes crash if they tried to move.

‘When he returned to the couple’s bedroom, he told the woman, “don’t you look at me or I’ll cut your f****** head off.”

‘He then forced her out of the bedroom, told her that if she didn’t do what he said, he would kill everyone in the house, including their baby son.

‘He then walked her to the family room, blindfolded her, then returned to the bedroom to put more dishes on her husband’s body and said: ‘If these dishes fall, I’ll kill everyone’.

‘He then said to her: “If you don’t give me a good f**k, I’ll kill everyone.”

Judge Michael Bowman speaks at the Sacramento County courtroom. He asked DeAngelo whether or not he understood the deal and agreed to it, to which he answered 'yes your honor'

Judge Michael Bowman speaks at the Sacramento County courtroom. He asked DeAngelo whether or not he understood the deal and agreed to it, to which he answered ‘yes your honor’ 

DeAngelo pictured during Monday's hearing on his crimes in Sacramento, Calfiornia wearing a proptective face shield

DeAngelo pictured during Monday’s hearing on his crimes in Sacramento, Calfiornia wearing a proptective face shield 

‘He then cut her nightgown with a knife in several places and proceeded to rape her… he then forced her to orally copulate him, threatening to cut her baby boy’s ear off and bring it to her if she resisted,’ prosecutor Venus Johnson said. 

On another occasion, he masturbated in front of a victim and tried to rape her but couldn’t, and, frustrated asked her: ‘Have you ever f****d before?’ 

He bit that victim’s breast four times. She was babysitting at the time. 

Victims’ family members were anxious about what to expect before the court hearing began.

‘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, a lawyer who was slain in 1980 at age 43 in Ventura County. 

His wife, 33-year-old Charlene Smith, was also raped and killed.

Jane Carson-Sandler, a 1976 rape victim of the Golden State Killer flashed a thumbs up to agree with a prosecutor's statement about a part of DeAngelo's anatomy during Monday's court hearing

Jane Carson-Sandler, a 1976 rape victim of the Golden State Killer flashed a thumbs up to agree with a prosecutor’s statement about a part of DeAngelo’s anatomy during Monday’s court hearing

Golden State Killer victim Jane Carson-Sandler was 30 when she was attacked in October 1976

Jane Carson-Sandler pictured in 2018

Golden State Killer victim Jane Carson-Sandler pictured left and right in 2018. She was 30 when she was attacked in October 1976

A guilty plea and life sentence avoids a trial or even the planned weeks-long preliminary hearing. The victims expect to confront him at his sentencing in August, where it´s expected to take several days to tell DeAngelo and Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman what they have suffered.

Gay and Bob Hardwick were among the survivors looking forward to DeAngelo admitting to their 1978 assault.

The death penalty was never realistic anyway, Gay Hardwick said, given DeAngelo’s age and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s moratorium on executions.

‘He certainly does deserve to die, in my view, so I am seeing that he is trading the death penalty for death in prison. 

‘It will be good to put the thing to rest. I think he will never serve the sentence that we have served – we´ve served the sentence for 42 years.’

Over the course of the day California prosecutors took turns laying out the Golden State Killer’s heinous crimes in their counties. Following a lunch recess Orange County Officials discussed the 1980 killings of Keith and Patrice Harrington. 

Keith, 24, and Patrice, 27 were found bludgeoned to death Aug. 21, 1975, at their home in a gated community in Orange County’s Laguna Niguel. 

The lengthy list of crimes ran from at least 1973 to 1986 and involved attacks on some 106 children, men and women. In his string of heinous attacks 50 women were raped and 13 people were killed. 

The crime spree began while DeAngelo was a police officer, authorities said. He served on two small-town departments during the 1970s. 

Following an afternoon break DeAngelo started to admit to uncharged offenses, including rape, in seven counties in exchange for those counties not charging him. 

Many of DeAngelo’s attacks described in court followed the same pattern: breaking into homes at night, tying up victims with shoe laces, putting dinner plates on the backs of victims to prevent them from moving and getting help, and raping his victims or forcing them to masturbate him, and searching the home for food and money. 

As the egregious attacks were described family members of victims stood up during the reading of the circumstances of their loved one’s death or attacks. 

Family members of Janelle Cruz, DeAngelo’s last known victim, were some of therelatives to stand up and face the Golden State Killer as the charge was read out.  

Relatives of one woman who was raped erupted in applause when the prosecutor read a victim’s statement that DeAngelo had a small penis.

Sandy James was one of the relatvies in the ballroom to hold up a photo of her late sister Debbie Strauss who was stalked and raped by DeAngelo.  

THE GOLDEN STATE KILLER: HOW A VIETNAM VET TURNED COP GOT AWAY WITH RAPE, BURGLARY, KIDNAPPING AND MURDER FOR DECADES BEFORE BEING BROUGHT DOWN BY A GENEALOGY WEBSITE

DeAngelo Jr., a former cop, eluded law enforcement for decades until his DNA was linked to the crimes through GEDMatch.com, a genealogy website that one of his relatives had submitted their DNA to.

DEANGELO’S CRIMES

1974-1975: 120 burglaries in Visalia and surrounding areas 

June 18, 1976: Sexual assault/rape, Rancho Cordova

July 17, 1976: Sexual assault/rape, Carmichael

August 29, 1976: Burglary, attempted sexual assault, Rancho Cordova

Sept. 4, 1976: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

Oct. 5, 1976: Sexual Assault/rape, Citrus Heights

Oct. 9, 1976: Sexual Assault/rape, Rancho Cordova

Oct. 18, 1976: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

Oct. 18, 1976: Carjacking, Rancho Cordova

Nov. 10, 1976: Kidnapping, Citrus Heights

Dec. 18, 1976: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

Jan. 18, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento

Jan. 24, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Citrus Heights

Feb. 7, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

Feb. 16, 1977: Assault, attempted murder, Sacramento

March 8, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento

March 18, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Rancho Cordova

April 2, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Orangevale

April 15, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

May 3, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento

May 5, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Orangevale

May 14, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Citrus Heights

May 17, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

May 28, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento

Sept. 6, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Stockton

Oct. 1, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Rancho Cordova

Oct. 21, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento

Oct. 29, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento

Nov. 10, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento

Dec. 2, 1977: Attempted sexual assault, Sacramento

Jan. 28, 1978: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

Jan. 29, 1979: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

Feb. 2, 1978: Brian and Katie Maggiore were killed, Rancho Cordova

March 18, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Stockton

April 14, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Sacramento

June 5, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Modesto

June 7, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Davis

June 23, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Modesto

June 24, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Davis

July 6, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Davis

Oct. 7, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Concord

Oct. 13, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Concord

Oct. 28, 1978: San Ramon

Nov. 4, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, San Jose

Dec. 2, 1978: Sexual assault/rape,San Jose

Dec. 8, 1978: Sexual assault/rape (DNA link), Danville

Dec. 18, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, San Ramon

March 20, 1979: Sexual assault/rape, Rancho Cordova

April 4, 1979: Sexual assault/rape, Fremont

June 2, 1979: Sexual assault/rape, Walnut Creek

June 11, 1979: Sexual assault/rape (DNA link), Danville

June 25, 1979: Sexual assault/rape, Walnut Creek

July 5, 1979: Attempted sexual assault, Danville

Oct. 1, 1979: Attempted sexual assault/murder (no DNA) Goleta

Dec. 30, 1979: 2 people killed, Goleta

March 13, 1980: Sexual assault/rape, Lyman and Charlene Smith were killed (DNA link), Ventura

Aug. 19, 1980: Sexual assault/rape, Keith and Patrice Harrington killed, Dana Point

Feb. 5, 1981: Sexual assault/rape, Manuela Witthuhn killed (DNA link), Irvine

July 27, 1981: 2 people killed (DNA link), Goleta

May 4, 1986: Sexual assault/rape, Janelle Cruz killed(DNA link) Irvine

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While his real identity remained a mystery until then, his crimes earned him a series of ominous names. 

First, he was the Visalia Ransacker, a burglar who ravaged people’s homes from 1974-1975, stealing personal items and scattering women’s underwear around the crime scenes. 

Next, he was the East Area Rapist, a shadowy predator who assaulted dozens of women between 1976 and 1979. 

Between the burglaries and rapes, he started killing, earning himself the name of the Golden State Killer and the Original Nightstalker.

What triggered his sadistic tendencies remains largely a mystery.

DeAngelo grew up following his US Airman father around with his mother and sister. 

Little is known about his upbringing beyond that they were, at one time, stationed in Germany. 

His sister’s son, Jesse Ryland, has told in the past how DeAngelo would often see his father beat his mother, Kathleen. 

He also claimed that he witnessed his sister being raped by two airmen when she was just seven and he was nine.  

Ryland speculated that may have been the catalyst for his obsession with rape later in life. DeAngelo has never commented on it. 

The family returned to the US and settled on the West Coast by DeAngelo’s teenage years. 

His father was posted overseas in Korea later but he and his mother and sister stayed. His mother, according to a profile in the Los Angeles Times in 2018, started seeing a married man who had his own family. 

It left DeAngelo in charge of caring for his younger siblings. 

Former childhood friends told how he would try to fit in to their families as if they were his own.

He graduated from Folsom Senior High School in 1964 and joined the Navy, working as a damage control man aboard the Canberra during the Vietnam War. 

No other details of his military career are known. 

A 1967 article in The Auburn Journal, the local newspaper where his parents live, describes him as a 21-year-old due home on leave.  

After returning to the US from Vietnam, he met Bonnie Colwell, a science student who ultimately broke his heart. 

He and Bonnie were at one time engaged but she broke it off in 1971. 

When he was arrested in 2018, Bonnie went into hiding. 

DeAngelo’s next known milestone was not until 1972, when he graduated from California State University with a degree in criminal justice. 

From there, he joined The Exeter Police Department where he worked as an officer on the burglary unit. 

It’s in this job that he learned how to commit seemingly perfect burglaries himself. 

It was also while he was working there that he married Sharon Marie Huddle. 

The pair had three daughters, who are now all adults. 

Between 1974 and 1975, a figure who became known as the Visalia Ransacker carried out more than 120 burglaries in the area. For decades, his identity was unknown. 

When DeAngelo was arrested in 2018 for the murders and rapes of dozens of others, he was quickly tied to the Visalia Ransacker crimes and blamed for them. 

His signature, when burglarizing, was to leave women’s underwear scattered at his crime scenes. 

In 1975 was when he graduated from burglarizing to attempted kidnapping and then killing, shooting dead Claude Snelling who was protecting his teenage daughter, Elizabeth, from being kidnapped. 

Elizabeth, 16, woke up at 2am on September 11, 1975, to see a man in a ski mask, standing over her bed, telling her to go with him or be killed.

He dragged her from her room and out of the family’s backdoor towards their carport but was stopped by Snelling who happened to be in the kitchen at the time. 

Elizabeth later recalled: ‘I heard a yell and saw my dad charge out the back door. 

‘The kidnapper] threw me down and shot my dad twice. Then he pointed the gun at me.’

DeAngelo hit her with the gun and kicked her but fled. Snelling died on his way to the hospital.  

In 1976, he left the Exeter Police Department and started working for the Auburn Police Department.

That is when his relentless raping began. 

Between 1976 and 1979, he raped dozens of women in the area. 

It terrorized the neighborhoods where he picked his targets and earned him the name East Area Rapist. 

One of the victims recalled how he lay down next to her after the attack and sobbed: ‘I hate you, I hate you, I hate you Bonnie.’ 

DeAngelo was fired by the police department in 1979 after being caught shoplifting a hammer and dog repellent from a drugstore in Citrus Heights, one of the areas where he would attack women.  

He then spent 27 years working at a Save Mart Supermarkets distribution center, fixing trucks, before retiring in 2017. 

It’s unclear when but he and his wife separated some time before his 2018 arrest which came as a shock to his neighbors and relatives. 

It was the first time police had tested samples of DNA found at some of the crime scenes against DNA being stored by GEDMatch. 

One of DeAngelo’s relatives had willingly submitted their sample to find out more about their ancestry. 

Since his case, it has been used as a crime-solving technique hundreds of times. 

DeAngelo’s neighbors described him as ‘cantankerous’, unlikable and a ‘curser’. 

While he has been blamed for 88 crimes, he has also been exonerated in others.

Among his rapes is the attack of a 13-year-old girl who recalled in detail being assaulted while he shone a flashlight in her face. 

‘In a very harsh whisper, he would say, “Do you want to die? 

‘Do you want me to kill your mother? Do you want me to slit her throat?”‘ Wardlow said.

 ‘I answered him immediately, “I don’t care,” and he’d say, “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”‘ Margaret Wardlow, who was raped by him in 1977, recalled to Inside Edition after his arrest last year. 

DeAngelo’s wife and children have never spoken of his crimes. 

His sister was stunned when he was arrested. 

‘As stunned as I am – because I’ve never seen him display any kind of madness or anything like that – I just can’t believe it. 

‘I’ve never seen anything to allow myself to think he could do such things,’ Rebecca Thompson, his older sister, told The Sacramento Bee at the time of his arrest. 

GOLDEN STATE KILLER’S THIRTEEN MURDER VICTIMS

Claude Snelling: September 11, 1975

Claude Snelling: September 11, 1975

Claude Snelling

September 11, 1975

Journalism professor Claude Snelling, 45, was asleep in his home in Visalia, California when he heard an odd noise outside at about 2am. 

He rushed outside to find a masked man dragging his 16-year-old daughter Elizabeth away.

The abductor shot Snelling twice, killing him, and fled the scene on foot, leaving Elizabeth unharmed. 

She later told how her father saved her life. 

DeAngelo had woken her up, standing over her in a ski mask. He told her to go with him or risk her life. 

She said it was ‘blurry’ but that she remembered him dragging her. 

‘The kidnapper] threw me down and shot my dad twice. Then he pointed the gun at me.’

DeAngelo hit her with the gun and kicked her but fled. Snelling died on his way to the hospital.  

The shooting was connected to the work of the Visalia Ransacker, believed to be responsible for 102 burglaries in the area, when ballistics matched the gun that killed Snelling to one that had been stolen in a previous break-in. 

Brian and Katie Maggiore: February 2, 1978

Brian and Katie Maggiore

February 2, 1978

Brian Maggiore, 21, and his wife Katie, 20, were walking their dog in their Rancho Cordova neighborhood, just outside Sacramento, on February 2, 1978. 

The FBI said the couple were chased down before being shot and killed by the Golden State Killer.

Dr Robert Offerman

Alexandria Manning

Dr Robert Offerman and Alexandria Manning: December 30, 1979

Dr Robert Offerman and Alexandria Manning

December 30, 1979

Dr Robert Offerman, 44, and Alexandria Manning, 35, were killed at a home in Goleta near Santa Barbara. 

Offerman, an osteopathic surgeon, and Manning, a clinical psychologist, had their hands bound with twine. 

DeAngelo is also charged with murdering Lyman and Charlene Smith at their Ventura County home on March 13, 1980

Patrice and Keith Harrington were killed in their home at Dana Point on August 19, 1980

Lyman and Charlene Smith (left) and Patrice and Keith Harrington (right)  

Lyman and Charlene Smith

March 13, 1980

Lyman Smith, 43, and his wife Charlene, 33, were bludgeoned to death with a fireplace log in their Ventura County home. 

Smith was an attorney who was just days from being appointed a judge. His wife worked as a court clerk. 

Patrice and Keith Harrington

August 19, 1980

Patrice Harrington, 28, and her husband Keith, 25, were killed in their home at Dana Point. Police said they were beaten with a blunt instrument.   

Patrice was a pediatric nurse and her husband was a medical student at UC Irvine.  

Manuela Witthuhn

Janelle Lisa Cruz

Manuela Witthuhn (left) and Janelle Lisa Cruz (right)

Manuela Witthuhn

February 5, 1981

Manuela Witthuhn, 28, was raped and beaten to death in her home in Irvine. 

She was home alone at the time because her husband was in the hospital recovering from an illness. 

Cheri Domingo and Gregory Sanchez 

Cheri Domingo and Gregory Sanchez 

Cheri Domingo and Gregory Sanchez

July 27, 1981

Cheri Domingo, 35, and Gregory Sanchez, 27, were house sitting in Goleta when they were murdered in bed. 

Domingo was found with her hands tied and suffering massive head injuries. Sanchez was shot and bludgeoned.

Janelle Lisa Cruz

May 4, 1986

Janelle Cruz, 18, was bludgeoned to death in her family’s home in Irvine. She was home alone at the time and police found her lying across her bed. 

A real estate agent who was selling the family’s home was the first to discover the teen’s body. Blood was found spattered throughout the home and police believe she was beaten with a pipe wrench.  

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