The alleged Golden State Killer in California pleaded guilty

The alleged Golden State Killer in California pleaded guilty

SACRAMENTO, California (AP) – Forty years after a sadistic rapist in the suburbs terrorized California in what investigators later realized was a series of assaults and murders, a 74-year-old former police officer is expected to be guilty of the elusive Golden on Monday State Killer.

The deal saves Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. any death penalty for 13 murders and 13 kidnapping-related charges in six counties. On partial return, survivors of the assaults in the 1970s and 1980s expect him to admit up to 62 rapes for which he cannot be prosecuted because too much time has passed.

But nothing is certain until he actually speaks in a ballroom at the Sacramento State University that has been used as a courtroom to provide for social distance during the corona virus pandemic.

“I used pin needles because I just don’t like the fact that our lives are tied to him again,” said Jennifer Carole, the daughter of Lyman Smith, a lawyer who was murdered in Ventura County in 1980 at the age of 43. His wife, 33-year-old Charlene Smith, was also raped and murdered.

Investigators linked certain crimes early on to an armed and masked rapist who would intrude into the suburbs of sleeping couples at night, bind the man and stack plates on his back. He would threaten to kill both victims if he heard the plates fall while raping the woman.

Gay and Bob Hardwick were among the survivors.

They now look forward to DeAngelo giving in to that attack in 1978. The death penalty was never realistic anyway, she said, given DeAngelo’s age and the moratorium on executions by Governor Gavin Newsom.

“He certainly deserves to die, in my opinion, so I see that he trades the death penalty for death in prison,” she said. “It will be good to let the thing rest. I think he will never serve the sentence we have served – we have served the sentence for 42 years.”

A guilty plea and life imprisonment avoid trial or even the scheduled weeks-long preliminary hearing. The victims expect to confront him in his August conviction, where it is expected to take several days to tell DeAngelo and the Supreme Court Justice of Sacramento County what they have suffered.

Ron Harrington’s younger brother, Keith, had been married to Patti Harrington for only three months when they were bludgeoned to death in their Orange County home in 1980 by a murderer known as the Original Night Stalker.

All four brothers were successful, but “Keith, the youngest of us all, was the smartest,” he said. “It’s such a loss. And every time this comes up, I think of all the lives he would have saved as an emergency doctor. ‘

Two days later, their father found the couple.

“It was so horrifying,” said Harrington. “My father was never the same again.”

The killer brought a series of monikers for his crimes over the decades.

Visalia Ransacker.

East Area Rapist.

Original Night Stalker.

Diamond Knot Killer.

But it wasn’t until years later that investigators linked a series of attacks in Central and Northern California to subsequent murders in Southern California and settled on the umbrella nickname Golden State Killer for the mysterious attacker whose crimes spanned 11 counties of 1974 to mid 1986.

The mystery sparked global interest, a best-selling book, and a six-part HBO documentary, “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” which premiered on Sunday.

It was just the groundbreaking use of new DNA techniques that brought researchers to DeAngelo two years ago, who was fired from the Auburn Police Department, northeast of Sacramento, in 1979, after being caught with dog defense and a hammer. Previously, he worked as a police officer in the Central Valley town of Exeter from 1973 to 1976, near where the Visalia Ransacker hit more than 100 homes south of Fresno.

Investigators painstakingly built a family tree by linking decades-old crime scene DNA to a distant relative through a popular online DNA database. They eventually confined themselves to DeAngelo with a process that has since been used in other cases across the country, but said they only confirmed the link after they secretly collected his DNA from his car door and a discarded tissue.

His lawyers have since lobbied publicly for a deal that would save him the death penalty, although they did not respond to repeated requests for comment before Monday’s hearing.

Prosecutors who had applied for the death penalty identified the hugely complicated case and increasing age of many of the victims and witnesses by agreeing to consider the plea.

“Death doesn’t solve anything. But that he should have sat at trial or a preliminary hearing would have helped, “said Carole, saying that neither she nor her murdered father believed in the death penalty.

She was so committed to going through the case that she temporarily moved from Santa Cruz to her adult daughter’s house in Sacramento, where she slept on an air mattress in a spare room. She told the story of her father’s death and her own recent experiences through podcasts called The Lawyer’s Daughter.

But she said it “absolutely” makes sense for prosecutors to agree to life imprisonment without parole, both to prevent older victims and witnesses most vulnerable to the corona virus from appearing in court, and to taxpayers’ estimated cost of $ 20 million. of a trial.

Harrington supports the death penalty, but also agreed with the prosecutors’ decision “to give only a certain amount of closure.”

“This will be a relief for all of us to continue our lives,” said Hardwick. “We’ve been dealing with the consequences of the attack for 42 years.”

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