SACRAMENTO (CBSLA) – Nearly three-dozen survivors of the Golden State Killer began giving testimonials Tuesday in a Sacramento courtroom ahead of his sentencing at the end of the week.
Starting Tuesday and lasting through Thursday, victims and family members will read impact statements in the sentencing of 74-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., the Golden State Killer and a former police officer.
Back in June, DeAngelo plead guilty to committing 13 murders and nearly 150 other crimes which occurred up and down California. The crimes spanned an 11-year period from 1975 to 1986 and occurred in six different counties. DeAngelo was responsible for crimes purported by the Visalia Ransacker, the East Area Rapist and the original Night Stalker.
As part of a plea deal that will spare him from the death penalty, DeAngelo admitted to crimes for which he could no longer be prosecuted because of a statute of limitations — such as attempted murder, kidnapping to commit robbery, rape, robbery, first-degree burglary, false imprisonment and criminal threats.
On Thursday afternoon, DeAngelo’s Orange County victims are expected to be the last to have their say. On Friday morning, he is expected to be formally given a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
One of the East Area Rapist victims recounted Tuesday how his attack on her in Sacramento County on June 18, 1976, changed her life.
“I was a normal young woman of 22, happy and carefree, and the only dark spot in my young life was the death of my mother 18 months earlier,” she said. “I was vivacious, loved life and I was shy.”
She said “the devil incarnate” broke into her home when she was alone that night, “blindfolded me, tied me up, threatened my life with a knife and raped me.” She said she became “fearful, suspicious and hyper-vigilant” afterward.
“My sense of safety was shattered, the ringing of the telephone would invoke terror,” she said, because he called her to “taunt her” after the attack.
Another woman said DeAngelo raped her when she was 15, with her sister tied up in the next room. The two were home alone for the first time while their parents were out of town.
“I was hit several times on the head before I was tied up and gagged,” she said. “We were both threatened and I was raped several times.”
Among those DeAngelo pleaded guilty to murdering was 24-year-old Keith and 28-year-old Patrice Harrington on Aug. 19, 1980, in Dana Point; 28-year-old Manuela Witthuhn in Irvine in February 1981; and 18-year-old Janelle Cruz in Irvine in May 1986.
DeAngelo was arrested in April of 2018 due to advances in DNA technology. Investigators used a public genealogy database with DNA recovered from an item discarded by DeAngelo.
DeAngelo attended the Kings County Public Safety Academy for 400 hours. 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 repellent.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)