SANTA ANA (CBSLA) –Authorities announced Tuesday that the Golden State Killer suspect — the 72-year-old man accused of at least 13 murders, more than 50 rapes and more than 100 burglaries in the 1970s and 1980s statewide — will be tried in Sacramento County on all charges.
During a joint news conference in Orange County District Attorney’s Office headquarters in Santa Ana, prosecutors announced the filing of a consolidated criminal complaint in Sacramento County against 72-year-old Joseph DeAngelo of Citrus Heights. The complaint charges DeAngelo, a former police officer, with 13 murders, including four in Orange County.
The murder charges include a variety of special circumstance allegations that open DeAngelo to a possible death sentence. The complaint also includes 13 counts of kidnapping to commit robbery.
The alleged crimes span an 11-year period from 1975 to 1986 and occurred in six different counties.
DeAngelo will be arraigned Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in Sacramento.
O.C. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas had been in negotiations with prosecutors from various counties involved in the case to determine where to hold DeAngelo’s first trial. He was caught in April with the help of DNA evidence.
Rackauckas said the decision to try the case jointly in Sacramento County was made based on a variety of factors, including the availability of witnesses and consideration for victims’ families and other concerned parties that would need to appear in court.
DeAngelo is currently charged in Orange County with four counts of murder. He is accused of killing 24-year-old Keith and 28-year-old Patrice Harrington Aug. 19, 1980, in Dana Point; 28-year-old Manuela Witthuhn in Irvine on Feb. 5, 1981; and 18-year-old Janelle Cruz in Irvine on May 5, 1986.
DeAngelo had been twice scheduled for arraignment in Orange County — May 7 and May 30 — but both times the hearings were canceled.
The Harringtons lived in a single-story home in the gated Niguel Shores community when they were attacked in their bedroom, said Investigator Larry Pool of the Golden State Killer task force. Their bodies were found on their blood-spattered bed with ligature marks on their wrists and Patrice’s ankles, Pool wrote in a probable cause declaration.
Investigators in 1996 matched semen at the crime scene to the killer in the two other O.C. cases, Pool said. The identity of the killer remained anonymous until this year when investigators used a public genealogy database with DNA recovered from an item discarded by DeAngelo, Rackauckas said in an interview in May.
Witthuhn was attacked sometime between 11 p.m. on Feb. 5, 1981, and 2 a.m. Feb. 6, 1981, when investigators believe she died, Pool said. The cause of death was skull fractures from a beating, Pool said, adding that her parents discovered her body when they went to check up on her.
Cruz was killed about 5 p.m. May 5, 1986, in her bed in her Irvine home, Pool said. Blood covered her head and neck and she was partially covered by her blanket, Pool said.
DeAngelo is also linked to the murders of Lyman and Charlene Smith in Ventura on March 13, 1980; Cheri Domingo and Gregory Sanchez in Goleta on July 27, 1981; Robert Offerman and Alexandria Manning in Goleta on Dec. 30, 1979; Brian and Katie Maggiore in Rancho Cordova on Feb. 2, 1978; and Claude Snelling in Visalia on Sept. 11, 1975.
DeAngelo is also linked to the Ransacker burglaries from April 1974 through December 1975, a spree that ended with the attempted murder of Visalia Officer Bill McGowan as he tried to apprehend the suspect, Pool alleged.
DeAngelo is alleged to be the East Area Rapist who was suspected in 52 attacks in Contra Costa, Sacramento and Santa Clara counties from June 1976 through July 1979, Pool said.
DeAngelo attended the Kings County Public Safety Academy for 400 hours, Pool said. He worked for the Exeter police department until 1976, when he went to work as an officer in Auburn until he was fired in 1979 for shoplifting a hammer and dog repellant, Pool said.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)