'Golden State Killer' Joseph James DeAngelo Pleads Guilty To 13 Murders
“I destroyed all their lives. So now I’ve got to pay the price,” he reportedly has said.
Joseph James DeAngelo enters a makeshift courtroom built for social distancing at Sacramento State, June 29, 2020. [Photo: Daniel Kim/Sacramento Bee/Tribune News Service via Getty Images]
Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., known as the Golden State Killer, has confessed to being a serial murderer who terrorized West Coast communities from the mid-1970s to the ’80s.
At a June 29 plea hearing in Sacramento, California, over 150 victims and their loved ones looked on as 74-year-old DeAngelo — sitting in a wheelchair and wearing an orange jumpsuit and transparent face shield — told the court he was guilty of 13 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of kidnapping.
“Mr. DeAngelo is acknowledging his guilt for the heinous crimes he has committed,” Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said, according to NPR. “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.”
As part of a plea deal made with prosecutors, DeAngelo’s confession allowed him to avoid the death penalty, but he now faces multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole, The New York Times reported.
He also agreed to admit to dozens of other uncharged offenses, including rape, but he will not be prosecuted for the cases since the statute of limitations had expired.
“The scope of Joseph DeAngelo's crime spree is simply staggering,” Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney for Sacramento County Thien Ho said, according to the Washington Post.
Now known as the Golden State Killer, DeAngelo was connected to past crimes associated with the East Area Rapist, the Visalia Ransacker and the Original Night Stalker. He reportedly carried out over 100 burglaries, nearly 50 rapes, and at least 13 murders from Northern to Southern California beginning around 1975. His crime spree suddenly stopped in 1986.
DeAngelo, a former police officer, was arrested in April 2018 after investigators uploaded DNA collected at the scene of an unsolved double murder to a publicly available database. They used genetic genealogy to trace the results to one of the killer’s distant relatives, allowing them to then zero in on DeAngelo. Investigators surreptitiously collected DeAngelo’s DNA from his car door handle and a tissue he had thrown away and confirmed his genetic material was a match to the crime scene evidence.
USA Today reported that after his arrest, DeAngelo admitted to police he “did all that.”
He made me. He went with me. It was like in my head, I mean, he’s a part of me. I didn’t want to do those things.
“I didn’t have the strength to push him out,” DeAngelo said of a supposed evil alter-ego, according to Sacramento County prosecutor Ho.
“He made me. He went with me. It was like in my head, I mean, he’s a part of me. I didn’t want to do those things. I pushed Jerry out and had a happy life,” DeAngelo allegedly continued, adding, “I did all those things. I destroyed all their lives. So now I’ve got to pay the price.”
District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert of Sacramento County noted DeAngelo’s capture and prosecution “has been a long journey for justice for countless victims and their families.”
“The facts revealed today demonstrate that Joseph DeAngelo is a sociopath, master manipulator and a sadistic serial killer,” she said.