Golden State Killer ad­mits to dozens of rapes and mur­ders

Miami Herald - - Front Page - BY DON THOMP­SON AND BRIAN MELLEY As­so­ci­ated Press

SACRA­MENTO, CALIF.

A for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer who ter­ror­ized Cal­i­for­nia as a serial bur­glar and rapist and went on to kill more than a dozen peo­ple while evad­ing cap­ture for decades pleaded guilty Mon­day to mur­ders at­trib­uted to the Golden State Killer.

Joseph James DeAn­gelo Jr. had re­mained al­most silent in court since his 2018 ar­rest un­til he re­peat­edly ut­tered the words “guilty” and “I ad­mit” in a hushed and raspy voice as part of a plea agree­ment that will spare him the death penalty for a life sen­tence with no chance of pa­role.

DeAn­gelo, 74, did not co­op­er­ate with au­thor­i­ties, but mut­tered a con­fes­sion of sorts after his ar­rest that cryp­ti­cally re­ferred to an in­ner per­son­al­ity named “Jerry” that he said forced him to com­mit the wave of crimes that ap­peared to end abruptly in 1986.

“I did all that,” DeAn­gelo said to him­self while alone in a po­lice in­ter­ro­ga­tion room after his ar­rest in April 2018, Sacra­mento County pros­e­cu­tor Thien Ho said.

“I didn’t have the strength to push him out,” DeAn­gelo said. “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.”

Ho said: “The scope of Joseph DeAn­gelo’s crimes is sim­ply stag­ger­ing. Each time he es­caped, slip­ping away silently into the night.”

DeAn­gelo, seated in a wheel­chair on a makeshift stage in a univer­sity ball­room that could ac­com­mo­date more than 150 ob­servers at a safe dis­tance dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­demic, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of mur­der and dozens of rapes that were too old to pros­e­cute.

The large room at Sacra­mento State Univer­sity was made to look like a state court­room with the seal of the Sacra­mento County Su­pe­rior Court be­hind the judge’s chair and U.S. and state flags on the riser that served as a sort of stage for a day­long pro­ceed­ing that had a theater-like feel. Large screens flanked the stage so spec­ta­tors could fol­low the livestream­ed hear­ing.

DeAn­gelo, who wore orange jail scrubs and a plas­tic face shield to pre­vent pos­si­ble spread of the virus, listed to one side and his mouth ap­peared agape as pros­e­cu­tors read graphic de­tails of the crimes, where he raped and killed then snacked be­fore leav­ing.

Fam­ily mem­bers wept as the pro­ceed­ing went on most of the day. A pile of used tis­sues sat on the floor next to Jen­nifer Ca­role, whose fa­ther, at­tor­ney Ly­man Smith, was slain in 1980 with his wife, Char­lene Smith, who was raped be­fore be­ing killed. “This is much harder than I thought it was go­ing to be. And I thought it was go­ing to be hard,” Ca­role said. “I feel a lot of anger, which I don’t think I’ve felt so pow­er­fully be­fore.”

Po­lice used DNA from crime scenes to find a dis­tant rel­a­tive through a pop­u­lar ge­neal­ogy web­site data­base then built a fam­ily tree that even­tu­ally led them to him. They tailed DeAn­gelo and se­cretly col­lected DNA from his car door and a dis­carded tis­sue to get an ar­rest war­rant.

DANIEL KIM Sacra­mento Bee

Joseph James DeAn­gelo Jr., 74, blamed an in­ner per­son­al­ity named ‘Jerry.’

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