As California officials prepare for one of the state's most notorious serial rapists and killers to be sentenced, they invite Sacramento County residents who lived through his crime spree to share their stories.
Joseph DeAngelo, 74, pleaded guilty in June to being the Golden State Killer, the man responsible for 13 murders, almost 50 rapes, and dozens of home invasions between 1975 and 1986. Throughout the years, several monikers — East Area Rapist, Original Night Stalker, and the Visalia Ransacker — were attributed for his crimes, depending on the phase of his spree in which they were committed. It would take decades for officials to link all his crimes together and for his true identity to be unveiled.
The sentencing phase of DeAngelo's prosecution begins next week as survivors and victims’ relatives give impact statements starting Tuesday. By Friday, DeAngelo will be sentenced and he’s expected to get life without parole.
But before the courtroom conclusion of the case, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office is asking for insight from their community.
“In anticipation of this sentencing, Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert wants to hear from those in the Sacramento community who lived through the terror of the East Area Rapist in the mid-1970’s,” the office said in a Tuesday statement.
People are invited to email answers to five questions, listed online, to Schubert. The stories may be shared publicly but full names and emails will not be shared.
“Everyone who lived through the terror of his crime spree in California was affected,” the statement said. “Everyone has their own story.”
DeAngelo, who worked as a cop in the mid-to-late 1970s, terrorized Californians for decades. During the East Area Rapist phase of his crime spree, he sexually assaulted women and teens who were alone in their house. He later escalated into attacking couples, often restraining the men while he raped their partners. In some cases, he put dishes on the backs of the men while he raped the women, telling them that if any dishes broke, he’d kill them both.
The killer’s identity remained a mystery until April 2018 when genetic analysis pointed to former cop DeAngelo as the main suspect. While officials initially planned for a trial, DeAngelo took a plea deal to avoid the death penalty and admitted in June to 26 murder, rape, and kidnapping charges. He has also admitted to 62 uncharged offenses that he can no longer be charged for due to the statute of limitations.
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