Golden State Killer arrives in prison to start life sentence

Golden State Killer arrives in prison to start life sentence

Golden State Killer arrives in prison to start life sentence for rapes and murders that terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s

  • Joseph James DeAngelo, 74, will today begin serving multiple life sentences 
  •  He carried out sadistic rapes and murders in the 1970s and 1980s 
  •  DeAngelo pleaded guilty in June to 13 murders and 13 rape-related charges

A former police officer who eluded authorities for years as the Golden State Killer has arrived in state prison. 

Joseph James DeAngelo, 74, will today begin serving multiple life sentences for rapes and murders that terrorized much of California in the 1970s and 1980s.

DeAngelo arrived at North Kern State Prison, a reception center in the Central Valley about 140 miles north of Los Angeles.

oseph James DeAngelo, a former police officer who eluded authorities for years as the Golden State Killer arrived in state prison Tuesday to begin serving multiple consecutive life sentences for sadistic rapes and murders

Officials there will decide his permanent prison destination based on his security, medical, psychiatric and program needs, said California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Terry Thornton.

DeAngelo pleaded guilty in June to 13 murders and 13 rape-related charges that spanned much of California between 1975 and 1986. The plea deal spared him the death penalty.

He admitted victimizing at least 87 people at 53 separate crime scenes spanning 11 California counties, though some of the crimes were too old to be formally charged.

DeAngelo’s rapes and eventual murders followed the same pattern. He would tie up couples he surprised while they slept, then assault the woman as the man lay helpless. He would place dishes on the man´s back, warning that he would kill them both if the dishes rattled.

He was sentenced in August after an extraordinary four-day hearing with emotional testimony from many of his victims or their survivors.

DeAngelo eluded capture for four decades before he was finally unmasked in 2018 with a pioneering use of DNA tracing.

To finally identify and arrest him, investigators pioneered a new method of DNA tracing that involves building a family tree from publicly accessible genealogy websites to narrow the list of suspects.


Jane Carson-Sandler, who was raped by the serial killer in 1976, confronted DeAngelo during the second day of victim impact statements at the Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Courthouse on Wednesday.

Joseph James DeAngelo, 74, – aka the Golden State Killer – stood up from his wheelchair and removed his mask before apologizing to his victims and their families in court in August 

They linked nearly 40-year-old DNA from crime scenes to a distant relative, and eventually to a discarded tissue they surreptitiously sneaked from DeAngelo’s garbage can in suburban Sacramento.

The same technique has since been used to solve 93 murders and rapes across the nation, said Ron Harrington, the brother of one of DeAngelo’s victims.

‘It is probably the most important (recent) advancement by law enforcement in solving cold case murders and rapes,’ he said.

The sweep of his crimes is measured by the mysterious stalker’s nicknames over the years, prosecutors said: the Visalia Ransacker, thought to be responsible for about 100 burglaries and one slaying in the San Joaquin Valley farm town; the East Area Rapist; the Original Night Stalker; and finally, the Golden State Killer when investigators linked the crimes that stretched across much of the state.

DeAngelo is pictured in the early 70s when he worked with the Exeter Police Department. He married Huddle in 1973

‘He started off as a Peeping Tom, a voyeur, somebody lurking around women´s bedrooms at night peering in. He then became a two-bit burglar, breaking into women’s bedrooms, stealing trinkets and women´s underwear,’ Ron Harrington recalled.

That escalated to raping single women, then to humiliating couples.

His technique became his trademark: He would force his victims at gunpoint to bind themselves with shoelaces, then balance plates on the man´s back with a warning that he would kill both victims if he heard the plates rattle while he raped the woman.

He killed three early Northern California victims when they interfered with his assaults on women. But he escalated again when he moved to Southern California, to 10 known murders.

Even DeAngelo’s ex-wife, Sacramento attorney Sharon Huddle, said in a court filing that she was fooled, though many victims have wondered aloud how she could not have known of her husband´s double life.

‘I trusted the defendant when he told me he had to work, or was going pheasant hunting, or going to visit his parents hundreds of miles away,’ Huddle wrote.

‘You are finally going to prison and will remain there until you die,’ Jane Carson-Sandler, who was raped in 1976, told DeAngelo in August.

She recalled that he famously left behind a roast in the oven when police moved in to make their arrest on April 24, 2018. His survivors, she said, now plan to celebrate each anniversary of his arrest with a similar feast ‘in memory of your capture.’

‘Too bad you won’t get to enjoy it,’ she said.   

DEANGELO’S CRIMES

1974-1975: 120 burglaries in Visalia and surrounding areas 

June 18, 1976: Sexual assault/rape, Rancho Cordova

July 17, 1976: Sexual assault/rape, Carmichael

August 29, 1976: Burglary, attempted sexual assault, Rancho Cordova

Sept. 4, 1976: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

Oct. 5, 1976: Sexual Assault/rape, Citrus Heights

Oct. 9, 1976: Sexual Assault/rape, Rancho Cordova

Oct. 18, 1976: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

Oct. 18, 1976: Carjacking, Rancho Cordova

Nov. 10, 1976: Kidnapping, Citrus Heights

Dec. 18, 1976: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

Jan. 18, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento

Jan. 24, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Citrus Heights

Feb. 7, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

Feb. 16, 1977: Assault, attempted murder, Sacramento

March 8, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento

March 18, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Rancho Cordova

April 2, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Orangevale

April 15, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

May 3, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento

May 5, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Orangevale

May 14, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Citrus Heights

May 17, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

May 28, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento

Sept. 6, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Stockton

Oct. 1, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Rancho Cordova

Oct. 21, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento

Oct. 29, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento

Nov. 10, 1977: Sexual Assault/rape, Sacramento

Dec. 2, 1977: Attempted sexual assault, Sacramento

Jan. 28, 1978: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

Jan. 29, 1979: Sexual Assault/rape, Carmichael

Feb. 2, 1978: Brian and Katie Maggiore were killed, Rancho Cordova

March 18, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Stockton

April 14, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Sacramento

June 5, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Modesto

June 7, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Davis

June 23, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Modesto

June 24, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Davis

July 6, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Davis

Oct. 7, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Concord

Oct. 13, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, Concord

Oct. 28, 1978: San Ramon

Nov. 4, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, San Jose

Dec. 2, 1978: Sexual assault/rape,San Jose

Dec. 8, 1978: Sexual assault/rape (DNA link), Danville

Dec. 18, 1978: Sexual assault/rape, San Ramon

March 20, 1979: Sexual assault/rape, Rancho Cordova

April 4, 1979: Sexual assault/rape, Fremont

June 2, 1979: Sexual assault/rape, Walnut Creek

June 11, 1979: Sexual assault/rape (DNA link), Danville

June 25, 1979: Sexual assault/rape, Walnut Creek

July 5, 1979: Attempted sexual assault, Danville

Oct. 1, 1979: Attempted sexual assault/murder (no DNA) Goleta

Dec. 30, 1979: 2 people killed, Goleta

March 13, 1980: Sexual assault/rape, Lyman and Charlene Smith were killed (DNA link), Ventura

Aug. 19, 1980: Sexual assault/rape, Keith and Patrice Harrington killed, Dana Point

Feb. 5, 1981: Sexual assault/rape, Manuela Witthuhn killed (DNA link), Irvine

July 27, 1981: 2 people killed (DNA link), Goleta

May 4, 1986: Sexual assault/rape, Janelle Cruz killed(DNA link) Irvine

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