The Golden State Killer suspect's lawyer wants to block prosecutors who think they're inches away from cracking the case.
The public defender for Joseph DeAngelo filed a motion Wednesday opposing efforts to collect bodily evidence that would include photos of his penis, which was said to be exceptionally small.
The attorney Diane Howard argued that a search warrant for DNA, fingerprints and body photographs should be halted because it was approved before her client’s arrest, the Associated Press reported. A hearing will be held Thursday to discuss the warrant.
The prosecution is asking for photographs of DeAngelo's whole body, including his genitalia, according to the Sacremento Bee. Victims of the Golden State Killer said he had a small penis, which for decades was one of the few distinct physicals detail authorities knew about the serial killer and rapist.
The Golden State Killer’s DNA, obtained from a crime scene, sat in evidence storage for decades but didn't match with anyone in the FBI’s national DNA database. That finally changed when police brought the DNA evidence to the genealogy site GEDmatch. It matched with the DNA of one of DeAngelo’s relatives, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Police then collected DNA from DeAngelo's trash to confirm the match before his arrest.
This tactic has brought into question issues of privacy when using a genealogy site in a criminal probe. GEDmatch co-founder Curtis Rogers told Ars Technica that the company wasn't aware police were using the site to make a break in the case.
“While the database was created for genealogical research, it is important that GEDmatch participants understand the possible uses of their DNA, including information of relatives that have committed crimes or were victims of crimes,” he said. He said users should remove their DNA from the database or not upload it in the first place if they have concerns about how it will be used.
DeAngelo, 72, has not entered a plea. He has been charged with four murders as part of a California crime spree that included at least 12 killings and dozens of rapes.
[Photo: Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office]