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.