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Crime News Golden State Killer: Main Suspect

Sleeping In Separate Bedrooms: What We Know About Golden State Killer Suspect Joseph DeAngelo’s Marriage To Sharon Huddle

Sharon Huddle, a divorce attorney, and James DeAngelo separated in the early 1990s.

By Gina Pace

Golden State Killer suspect Joseph DeAngelo has been long estranged from his wife Sharon Huddle. They were married in 1973, and interviews with those who knew him over the years indicate that there were possible rifts in their relationship even before their separation in the early 1990s.

Here’s everything we know about their marriage:

They slept in separate bedrooms.

Nick Willick was the chief of the Auburn Police Department when DeAngelo was a cop in the late 1970s. He told Stephanie Gosk, the host of “Golden State Killer: Main Suspect,” about visiting DeAngelo’s home once during an interview for the upcoming special premiering on Saturday, August 4 at 7pm ET/PT on Oxygen.

“I went there just once [in the 1970s]. He just recently moved in to the house and he said come over and you see the house we just bought,” Willick said.

But something struck him as odd.

“The fact that he was probably 30, 31 years of age and that they have separate bedrooms, which I thought was a little strange,” Willick said. “[He] said ‘this is my wife’s bedroom, this is my bedroom.’ Said something to the extent of when they wanted to get together they would.”

According to authorities, many of the crimes committed by the Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist, were committed during the night and early morning hours.

Joseph DeAngelo when he was an Exeter, Calif. police officer. Credit: Oxygen via The Sun Gazette.

She was studying to be a lawyer when they lived in Auburn.

Jim Stancil befriended DeAngelo when Stancil was a teen and DeAngelo was a police officer living in Auburn. Their houses had adjoining backyards. Stancil and his friends would help DeAngelo around the house and in the garden, and DeAngelo would show off his model boats and motorbikes.

Stancil estimates he went inside DeAngelo’s house eight to 10 times. Occasionally he would see Huddle, who was going to law school. 

“She would come out of the bedroom, and she was polite,” Stancil told Gosk. “From what I saw there was not a whole lot of interaction [between DeAngelo and Huddle].”

Stancil’s sister, Cheryl Brown, saw Huddle so infrequently she wasn’t aware until recently that the man she called “Crazy Cop Joe” was even married.

Outsiders could sense discord in their relationship.

Later, DeAngelo and Huddle moved to Citrus Heights and had three daughters.

Sonja Gorman lives in a house that has an adjoining backyard with DeAngelo’s home in Citrus Heights.

Years ago, the family invited one of DeAngelo’s daughters to a birthday party that they had for their daughter.

“That was the last time we ever invited that daughter to the house because it upset us as far as the behavior of the parents,” Gorman told Gosk. “The man was very, very abrasive and he was scary to children and to us as adults.”

Sonja’s son Grant Gorman remembers lots of yelling and cursing from when he was growing up.

“Joe taught me how to cuss, the words that I heard on this side of the fence were the earliest and the most foul I had ever heard and it was traumatizing,” Grant Gorman told Gosk. “It scared me and my siblings to death.”

Once Huddle moved with her daughters, a neighbor in their new neighbor told the San Jose Mercury News that DeAngelo would come over and they would have “epic shouting matches.”

She works as a divorce attorney.

Huddle works in Roseville, part of Sacramento County. 

She helped mount a battle against surrogate motherhood at one point in her life. While practicing law under her married name, Sharon Huddle DeAngelo, she co-founded the National Coalition Against Surrogacy, according to the LA Times. She helped found the organization when the state was weighing passing a law that would govern the rights of women that are paid to carry fetuses of egg and/or sperm donors.

According to the California State Bar, Huddle has no disciplinary actions on her license. She has an active license to practice law in California and she was admitted to the bar in 1982. In 1987, she was inactive for eight months.

They separated in 1991.

The couple separated in 1991 but never got a divorce.

“I’m very well aware they are estranged,” Paul Holes, an investigator on the case, said on a panel about the Golden State Killer at Crimecon in Nashville in May. “It’s an unusual situation that someone so well versed in the divorce process has chosen not to have completed that process, and it becomes suspicious.”

Grant Gorman said that around that time, family life ceased at the Citrus Heights home.

“I don’t think he dated, I don’t think he had friends over, the house was just him there,” Gorman said.

They had three daughters.

DeAngelo and Huddle’s first daughter  was born in September 1981, and the couple had two more daughters in the 1980s. One of his daughters is an ER physician and another is a graduate student, according to the Times. When DeAngelo was arrested, he was living with one of his daughters and a teenage granddaughter.

She’s released a statement through the Sacramento County Sheriff.

DeAngelo was arrested in April and awaits trial for 12 murders. 

Huddle has not spoken with the media, but released a statement in June.

“My thoughts and prayers are for the victims and their families,” said Huddle, 65. “The press has relentlessly pursued interviews of me. I will not be giving any interviews for the foreseeable future. I ask the press to please respect my privacy and that of my children.”

— Ethan Harfenist contributed to this report.

[Photo: Oxygen via Auburn Journal]