Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., a retired police officer, appeared in court on Monday and plead guilty to a series of crimes that earned him the nickname “Golden State Killer.”
The crimes, which were committed 45 years ago, consisted of a series of murders, rape, and break-ins across several counties that terrified Californians in the 1970s and 80s. DeAngelo was an officer in two small-town police departments during the 70s and was behind dozens of burglaries and rapes in numerous California counties including Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay area, and Southern California. He was known to sneak into the couple’s houses, tie them up and rape the woman, sometimes killing them both.
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The ex-cop was able to evade authorities for 45 years as he crisscrossed through the state and was not securely arrested until 2018 thanks to new DNA technology.
As part of the plea deal DeAngelo struck with prosecutors across six counties the crimes had taken place, the former cop was able to avoid the death penalty in exchange for his guilty plea to 13 counts of murder and 13 counts of kidnapping for robbery. He is set to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
In the same hearing, DeAngelo also confessed to 62 rapes and other crimes like burglary for which he wasn’t formally charged with. He is expected to face sentencing in August and dozens of victims are expected to speak.