Joseph DeAngelo, 74, pleads guilty to 'Golden State Killer' murders

'Golden State Killer' suspect pleads guilty to murder in California

Camera IconJane Carson-Sandler, a 1976 rape victim of Golden State Killer Joseph James DeAngelo, stands and gives a double thumbs -up to agree with a prosecutor's statement about part of DeAngelo's anatomy, during a court hearing in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, June 29, 2020.

The man known as the Golden State Killer will finally admit to the horrific crimes he committed in the '70s and '80s. including 13 first-degree murder charges he's facing.

Prosecutors also revealed that on the day of his arrest, while alone in an interview room, DeAngelo was overheard having an animated conversation with himself, referring to an apparent alter ego named "Jerry", whom he described as being "in my head" and compelling him to "do those things".

"Each time he escaped, slipping away silently into the night, leaving communities terrified", Ho added.

Under terms of the unusual plea deal, outlined by prosecutors and Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman at Monday's hearing, DeAngelo faces a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In 1973, DeAngelo began working as a police officer in Auburn, outside Sacramento, and then in Exeter, an hour southeast of Fresno.

DeAngelo was finally arrested in 2018 after a 40-year manhunt, when investigators compared DNA evidence from crime scenes to a family genealogy database used by his relatives to track down the killer.

He was initially charged with only the 1978 murders of Brian and Katie Maggiore, a newlywed couple who were shot dead in Rancho Cordova, a Sacramento suburb, while walking their dog.


The plea benefits the public for multiple reasons, including the time that has passed since the crime and the prospect of bringing elderly witnesses to testify during a pandemic, she said.

In one case, the judge heard how DeAngelo had forced a victim to orally copulate him by threatening to cut off the ear of her baby boy.

The known attacks began in 1975, initially in the Sacramento area of central California, before spreading out across the state.

He is 74 years old and terrorised the state in the 1970s and 1980s.

"His monikers reflect the sweeping geographical impact of his crimes: the Visalia Ransacker, the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker and the Golden State Killer", said Thienvu Ho, Sacramento County Assistant Chief District Attorney. The Vietnam War veteran spent six years in law enforcement before he was sacked for shoplifting dog repellent and a hammer from a drugstore.

He retired in 2017 from a job as a truck mechanic in Citrus Heights, a short commute from Sacramento, where he has lived for more than 20 years.

The breakthrough came about two months after the case gained renewed national attention in the bestselling book I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, which was published posthumously two years after the author's death and has recently been made into an HBO documentary series. "All present, all staring directly at that zilch of a human being, and he can't return their gaze".

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