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Prosecutors Want New DNA Samples From Golden State Killer Suspect, But His Lawyers Are Fighting It

A recent warrant for more DNA samples from Joseph DeAngelo was signed without defense attorneys or a court reporter present, the suspect's public defenders argued before the warrant's execution was delayed.

By Gina Tron

The lawyers defending Golden State Killer suspect Joseph DeAngelo are fighting prosecutors’ attempts to obtain more DNA samples from their client.

DeAngelo, now 74, was arrested in April 2018 after genetic analysis pointed to him as a suspect in a string of rapes and murders in numerous California jurisdictions during the '70s and '80s. The former police officer has been charged with 13 murders and 18 of the more than 50 rapes he’s suspected of committing.

DNA from tissue taken out of his trash by investigators led to his arrest. Soon after, prosecutors received permission from Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White to obtain DNA swabs from the alleged serial killer. 

Now, they are attempting to gather more DNA from him to prepare for his upcoming May 12 preliminary hearing, the Sacramento Bee reports.

White initially approved the prosecution’s newest request to obtain further DNA through blood and saliva from the suspect on Feb. 3, Mercury News reports. They had planned to swab DeAngelo’s cheeks the next day, but his defense attorneys fought it. They complained that they learned about the request on “extraordinarily short notice,” according to a motion they filed to stop the warrant from being served, obtained by Mercury News. The motion said that the warrant was signed without their knowledge and “not in open court with defense counsel and a court reporter present."

“In a capital case, all proceedings must be heard on the record with court and counsel and a court reporter present,” Assistant Public Defender Jennifer Cerri added, Mercury News reports.

White ultimately decided to halt the swabbing until a March 12 hearing on the subject is held.

It’s not clear why the prosecution was seeking additional DNA.

Last month, applause broke out in the Sacramento courtroom gallery after White rejected the defense’s request for a trial delay. He called the defense’s desire to prolong the case until the next year “unreasonable” and scheduled the case’s preliminary hearing for May instead.