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A new digital book gives a platform for hundreds of people affected by the Golden State Killer’s reign of terror.
The Sacramento County District Attorney's Office has released a free book called “Sacramento, A Community Forever Changed,” on their website which gives input on the case from hundreds in the county. The subtitle is "Stories From Those Who Lived Through the Terror of the East Area Rapist." The East Area Rapist moniker is one of several that Joseph DeAngelo, 75, was given during his decades-long spree.
The once elusive serial killer was sentenced in August to life in prison without the possibility of parole. During the 1970s and '80s, he committed 13 murders and at least 50 rapes, as well as countless break-ins. He terrorized multiple Northern California counties, including Sacramento, while using his job as a cop as a convenient and sinister tool to evade capture. He began by sexually assaulting women and teens who were alone in their house but later escalated to 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 attacks gripped residents of Northern California and those in Sacramento County were invited by District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert in August to share their stories. The resulting 226-page book is filled with hundreds of email submissions from people who lived through the scary times.
Schubert told local station KOVR that among the revelations in the book is how the crime spree prompted some parents to train their children how to use guns and others to explain what rape was to their kids.
"I was 10 years old and asked my mother what a rapist was," one community member recalls, adding that the situation "shaped how I looked at the world."
DeAngelo began serving his sentence last month. His identity remained a mystery until April 2018 when genetic analysis pointed to him as the main suspect. While officials initially planned for a trial, DeAngelo took a plea deal to avoid the death penalty. Before he was sentenced, victims and survivors participated in an inspiring three-day victim impact statement hearing where they were granted the opportunity to speak their minds. Their testimony ranged from heartfelt speeches to flipping the killer off.
Schubert hopes the book will give survivors even more of a voice, in the aftermath of DeAngelo’s crime spree.
“It demonstrates the raw emotions that folks went through at the time,” she told KOVR.
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