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How Authorities Found A Way To File Rape Charges Against GSK Suspect

It seemed uncertain that the suspected serial killer would be charged with any rapes because of the statute of limitations. But officials got creative.

By Gina Tron
Golden State Killer Suspect Arrested

This week Golden State Killer suspect Joseph DeAngelo was officially charged with not only 13 murders, but a handful of the more than 50 rapes he’s accused of committing. Previously, it was unclear if he would be charged with any of the sexual assaults because of the statute of limitations.

So, how was the 72-year-old, suspected in the heinous, infamous crime spree that spanned six California jurisdictions between 1975 and 1986, charged?

It was thanks to the outside-the-box-thinking of Paul Graves, Contra Costa prosecutor and head of the county district attorney’s sex crimes unit. He used an obscure 1970s law that allows the prosecution to charge DeAngelo with kidnapping during the commission of a robbery for some of the rapes, according to The Mercury News in San Jose.

“People were only thinking of rape and murder and that’s all they were thinking,” Graves told the publication, adding that he and sex crimes unit paralegal Jayla LaPlant worked with former crime lab chief Paul Holes to find ways to charge DeAngelo for the incidents where he allegedly raped women by citing a 1973 law enacted for kidnapping during a robbery, a law that allows for a life sentence. 

“It sounds on its face like we’re stretching it, but not in the eyes of the law,” Graves said.

The strategy worked.

Because of Graves’ creative thinking, Sacramento County was also able to charge DeAngelo with a handful of rapes.

In all, the suspected serial killer and rapist was charged with a total of 18 rapes.

Prosecutors representing six jurisdictions held a joint press conference on Tuesday to announce that they had consolidated the charges against DeAngelo into one felony complaint, filed in Sacramento County.

Oxygen.com obtained that complaint, which notes that all of DeAngelo's alleged victims who were not slain remain unidentified.

The still-anonymous victims are billed mostly in the complaint as "Jane Doe."

“We are unified and we are committed to delivering justice to the victims of the Golden State Killer and their loved ones, who for far too long have had justice elude them,” Ventura District Attorney Greg Totten said in the Tuesday press conference.

Thanks to new advances in DNA technology, and the efforts of law enforcement and sleuths alike, a break in the Golden State Killer saga was made earlier this year, and DeAngelo was arrested in April.

Earlier this month, police in the city of Visalia, along with Tulare County prosecutors, announced their belief that DeAngelo was also the elusive "Visalia Ransacker."

[Photo: Getty Images]