Yes, I’m a mon­ster

Calif. killer pleads guilty, avoids death penalty


A for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer known as the Golden State Killer pleaded guilty Mon­day to mul­ti­ple mur­der and kid­nap­ping charges and ad­mit­ted to dozens of rapes in a bru­tal crime spree that ter­ror­ized Cal­i­for­nia in the 1970s and ’80s.

The ad­mis­sion came af­ter 74-year-old Joseph James DeAn­gelo struck a deal with pros­e­cu­tors to avoid the death penalty. The guilty plea will re­sult in a life sen­tence with no chance of pa­role, but pros­e­cu­tors hope it will also bring some clo­sure to the nu­mer­ous fam­i­lies whose loved ones were killed or as­saulted in a se­ries of slay­ings and rapes that spanned six coun­ties and went un­solved for decades.

The ex-cop ap­peared Mon­day morn­ing in a Sacra­mento State Univer­sity ball­room turned into a tem­po­rary court­room to al­low for so­cial dis­tanc­ing dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­demic. In ad­di­tion to charges re­lated to 13 mur­ders and 13 kid­nap­pings, DeAn­gelo con­fessed to rap­ing more than 60 women, though he won’t be crim­i­nally charged with those sex crimes be­cause the statute of lim­i­ta­tions has ex­pired.

DeAn­gelo, look­ing frail and sound­ing de­spon­dent, sat in a wheel­chair and re­peat­edly replied, “Yes” or “Yes, Your Honor,” as Judge Michael Bow­man read the charges against him. He and mul­ti­ple at­tor­neys in the room were wear­ing face shields to pro­tect them­selves from COVID-19.

The sadis­tic, cold-blooded killer was ar­rested two years ago af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tors used an open-source, pub­lic ge­neal­ogy web­site to track down crime sus­pects through vol­un­tar­ily sub­mit­ted DNA sam­ples.

Pros­e­cu­tors from the six coun­ties that in­ves­ti­gated the decades-old cases joined the livestream­ed hear­ing Mon­day and de­scribed each of the mur­ders in graphic de­tail while fam­ily mem­bers of some of the vic­tims sat just feet away. One of those pros­e­cu­tors, Santa Bar­bara Dis­trict At­tor­ney Joyce Dud­ley, de­tailed the bru­tal killings of two doc­tors who were mur­dered in Go­leta in 1979. “When the de­fen­dant en­tered the locked Of­fer­man home, he did so with the in­tent to rape and mur­der De­bra Manning, to mur­der Robert Of­fer­man and to take items from the home,” Dud­ley said.

DeAn­gelo then tied the vic­tims’ wrists with ny­lon cord, raped Manning, shot her in the back of her head and then fired mul­ti­ple shots at Of­fer­man. He then stole a cam­era and grabbed some food in the kitchen be­fore walk­ing out.

“The de­fen­dant rum­maged through the re­frig­er­a­tor at Robert’s home and ate left­over tur­key he found wrapped in plas­tic,” Dud­ley said.

He would also take “tro­phies” from his vic­tims’ houses, in­clud­ing pieces of jew­elry like rings and cuff links, au­thor­i­ties have said.

“He’s a psy­cho­log­i­cal sadist,” crim­i­nol­o­gist Paul Holes said in a 2018 pod­cast. “His big thing was the fear he was in­still­ing in the vic­tims.”

In an­other re­veal­ing mo­ment Mon­day, a pros­e­cu­tor said DeAn­gelo once blamed his crim­i­nal be­hav­ior on an in­ner per­son­al­ity named “Jerry.”

“I didn’t have the strength to push him out,” DeAn­gelo re­port­edly told cops af­ter his ar­rest two years ago. “He made me. He went with me. It was like in my head, I mean, he’s a part of me. I didn’t want to do those things. I pushed Jerry out and had a happy life. I did all those things. I de­stroyed all their lives. So now I’ve got to pay the price.”


“Golden State Killer” Joseph James DeAn­gelo, a for­mer cop, pleads guilty Mon­day in Sacra­mento, Calif., court to mul­ti­ple mur­der and kid­nap­ping charges and ad­mits to dozens of rapes in a bru­tal crime spree. Makeshift court­room (be­low) at a col­lege was set up to al­low for pan­demic so­cial dis­tanc­ing.

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