Published: Wed, July 01, 2020
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Golden State Killer suspect pleads guilty in hearing at Sac State

Golden State Killer suspect pleads guilty in hearing at Sac State

The so-called "Golden State Killer" pleaded guilty to multiple murders Monday, as well admitting to dozens of rapes and kidnappings, drawing a line under a sadistic crime spree that terrorized California for two decades.

A frail-looking DeAngelo, 74, wheeled into the courtroom wearing an orange jumpsuit and a clear face shield, responded simply "Yes", "No", "Guilty" and "I admit" to the judge's questions, as he agreed to the terms of the plea deal.

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". He was kicked off of the Auburn Police Department force in 1979 after he was caught shoplifting. When he was arrested in April 2018, he was in Citrus Heights, the neighborhood where the Golden State Killer raped the first of his known victims in 1976.

District attorneys from the eight California counties where DeAngelo committed crimes recounted in graphic detail multiple rapes and the 13 murders DeAngelo committed throughout these counties from 1975 to 1986.

"The family members of the murder victims have waited for decades for justice for their loved ones, the sexual assault victims have waited decades for justice", she said.

In February 1978, the "Golden State Killer" shot and killed Brian and Katie Maggiore, who were walking their dog in the Sacramento area.

The statute of limitations for the rapes have expired, but all offences were read out by prosecutors in a hearing that stretched over seven grisly hours.

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.

Over the years, the suspect was also known as the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker and the Visalia Ransacker.

They then gathered DeAngelo's DNA on the handle of a vehicle door and a tissue in his garbage can, which matched the DNA from the crime scenes.

When the lengthy hearing has concluded, he will have pleaded 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, the prosecution said.

While sparing the defendant from a potential death sentence, the deal also saves a dwindling number of ageing survivors, victims' families, witnesses and law enforcement officers involved in the case from prolonged legal proceedings, prosecutors said. Due to the large numbers of people attending, the hearing was held at a ballroom at California State University, Sacramento to allow for social distancing.

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