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Taxpayers Could Keep Footing Golden State Killer Suspect's Legal Bills ― But Not If Prosecutors Have Their Way

Joseph DeAngelo stood agape in a courtroom cage as a judge read off the litany of charges against him.

By Gina Tron
Why is the Golden State Killer Suspect in a Courtroom Cage?

Golden State Killer suspect Joseph DeAngelo, 72, was arraigned on Thursday afternoon, standing formally accused of the heinous, infamous crime spree which spanned six California jurisdictions between 1975 and 1986.

During the arraignment, the judge granted the prosecution's request for an investigation into whether or not the suspect can afford his own lawyer, so that no more public money is spent on him, according to CBS13 in Sacramento.

Judge Michael Sweet read DeAngelo his charges, while the accused cold-blooded killer stood steadily in a courtroom cage, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, his mouth gaped open.

DeAngelo listened from behind the steel bars as Sweet charged him with 13 counts of murder, 18 rape and rape special circumstances charges, six firearm charges, 13 kidnapping for purposes of robbery charges, and 21 use of a weapon charges.

Prosecutors representing five of the six counties involved, who filed a joint complaint against DeAngelo earlier this month, were present in the courtroom.

DeAngelo appeared thinner than his last court apperearance, and certainly thinner than when he was arrested back in April.

Sweet approved media requests to record video and audio of the arraignment KNX1070 in Los Angeles.  However, it appears that not all media requests were granted by the judge, according to a tweet from Reno-Gazette reporter Sam Gross.

A handful of reporters weren’t the only ones standing outside the courtroom during the arraignment. Sacramento County Sheriff deputies also stood guard near its entrance.

“First time I’ve seen them here for this case,” tweeted Lemora Abrams, a reporter for CBS13 in Sacramento. “One officer told me it’s because the charges are being consolidated. Won’t say more.”

A Sacramento police spokesman later said officers stood guard as a precaution because of the district attorneys’ presence, Abrams later reported. DeAngelo’s public defenders Diane Howard and Joseph Cress entered the courtroom ahead of press.

During the brief arraignment, which only lasted some twenty minutes, Sweet announced that DeAngelo is due back in court on Dec. 6. He has not yet entered a plea.

Prosecutors spanning 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 long-elusive 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."

“He created violent crimes in all of these jurisdictions,” said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.

“Our team has been working for decades to try to capture this person, this individual who has created so much terror across the state.”

The complaint's formal filing, Rackauckas said, marks the outset of DeAngelo's prosecution.

[Photo: Getty Images]