The mystery of the “Golden State Killer”, a serial killer that terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s, seems resolved following the arrest of a man in Citrus Heights, a suburb of Sacramento.
A 72-year-old former police officer, Joseph James DeAngelo, has been identified as the Golden State Killer. He faces two charges of first degree murder for the death of a couple in 1980 and charges of aggravated rape.
Ventura District Attorney Greg Totten said the prosecution would seek the death sentence against the former police officer, who escaped the authorities for 40 years.
DNA tests were used to capture him and link up the dozens of crimes he allegedly committed, Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said at a news conference. She pointed out that despite the thousands of clues collected over decades, Joseph James DeAngelo was not in the spotlight until last week.
We found the needle in the haystack. She was here in the Sacramento district.
Anne Marie Schubert, District Attorney Sacramento
Joseph James DeAngelo was fired from the Auburn Police Department in 1979 after being arrested for shoplifting.
The FBI suspects he has committed 12 murders, 45 rapes and 120 burglaries in California between 1976 and 1986. The first two murders took place in February 1978.
The Golden State Killer has taken other nicknames: the “East Area Rapist” in Northern California, the “Original Night Stalker” in Southern California, and the “Diamond Knot Killer”, according to the elaborate knot that he used to tie up two of his victims.
“Everyone was scared,” FBI agent Marcus Knutson said on the federal police website.
In 2016, the FBI and the California authorities re-launched the search and offered a US $ 50,000 reward for his arrest and conviction.
“I’m overwhelmed with joy,” says a victim
A woman sexually assaulted at her home in 1976 by a man suspected of being East Area Rapist told the media to feel “ecstatic” since she was contacted by a detective about the arrest.
“I’m overwhelmed with joy,” said Jane Carson-Sandler. I feel like in a dream. ”
It’s wonderful to be able to move on and know that he is in prison.
Jane Carson-Sandler, alleged victim of Golden State Killer
A sadistic modus operandi
The man often had the same way of proceeding. Armed with a gun and wearing a mask, he entered homes while single women or couples slept. He tied up the man and stacked dishes on his back, then raped the woman, threatening to kill both of them if the dishes fell.
He often took souvenirs, including coins and jewelry from his victims, who were between 13 and 41 years old.
The Golden State Killer is the subject of a book by American writer Michelle McNamara, And I’ll disappear in the night , published this year.
David Brule is the lead editor for Roswell Gazette. David has written for several publications including the Albuquerque Journal and the Huffington Post. David is based in Albuquerque and covers issues affecting his city and Bernalillo County. When he’s not busy writing, David enjoys woodworking.