Coun­ties must choose how to try Golden State sus­pect

The Mercury News Weekend - - LOCAL NEWS - By Sean Emery South­ern Cal­i­for­nia News Group

SANTA ANA » Law en­force­ment of­fi­cials from Or­ange, Sacra­mento, Ven­tura and Santa Bar­bara coun­ties are ex­pected tomeet in the next few days to de­cide where the ac­cused Golden State Killer will be pros­e­cuted, the Or­ange County District At­tor­ney’s Of­fice said Wed­nes­day.

Or­ange County District At­tor­ney Tony Rack­auckas said there are “many is­sues to re­solve” re­gard­ing the pros­e­cu­tion of Joseph James DeAn­gelo, who is sus­pected by the author­i­ties of car­ry­ing out a dozenyear crime wave be­gin­ning in 1974 that in­cluded him killing at least 12 peo­ple across Cal­i­for­nia, rap­ing at least 45 and bur­glar­iz­ing hun­dreds of homes.

DeAn­gelo has been for­mally charged with eight slay­ings, in­clud­ing four in Or­ange County, two in Ven­tura County and two in Sacra­mento County. He has not yet en­tered a plea and is sched­uled to re­turn to a Sacra­mento court­room on Mon­day.

Key among the is­sues yet to be worked out is whether DeAn­gelo will be pros­e­cuted in mul­ti­ple tri­als in the var­i­ous coun­ties, or if the charges will be con­sol­i­dated for a sin­gle trial.

If con­sol­i­dated, a team with pros­e­cu­tors from all of the af­fected coun­ties that have brought charges against DeAn­gelo could be put to­gether, the Or­ange County District At­tor­ney’s Of­fice said.

In re­cent years, Or­ange County pros­e­cu­tors have han­dled sev­eral con­sol­i­dated cases in­volv­ing al­leged crimes from other ju­ris­dic­tions.

In the most high-pro­file ex­am­ple, Rod­ney Al­cala was tried in one con­sol­i­dated Or­ange County trial for the mur­ders of four Los An­ge­les County women and one Or­ange County woman. The de­ci­sion to con­sol­i­date those cases was made over Al­cala’s re­peated ob­jec­tions be­cause the crimes had “com­mon com­po­nents” and for “ju­di­cial econ­omy.”

Pros­e­cu­tors won a con­vic­tion.

Con­victed se­rial killer An­drew Ur­diales is cur­rently on trial for cap­i­tal mur­der in Santa Ana for slay­ings car­ried out in Or­ange, River­side and San Diego coun­ties. John Lau­rence Whi­taker is await­ing trial in Or­ange County for killings that oc­curred in Or­ange and Los An­ge­les coun­ties.

Pros­e­cu­tors are still work­ing to de­ter­mine whether the statute of lim­i­ta­tions has passed for the sus­pected rapes DeAn­gelo is ac­cused of car­ry­ing out. Even if he isn’t charged with those crimes di­rectly, Or­ange County District At­tor­ney’s Of­fice of­fi­cials said, the ev­i­dence tied to those al­leged rapes could po­ten­tially be in­tro­duced in a mur­der trial to show that a sim­i­lar method and mo­tive tied to­gether all of the var­i­ous of­fenses.

In the mean­time, a team led by for­mer Or­ange County Se­nior Dep- uty District At­tor­ney Deb­ora Lloyd that was cre­ated months prior to DeAn­gelo’s ar­rest has shifted its fo­cus from in­ves­tiga­tive work to trial prepa­ra­tion, go­ing over the ev­i­dence col­lected by lo­cal law en­force­ment through the lengthy in­ves­ti­ga­tion. That ef­fort fo­cuses on the Or­ange County crimes.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Joseph James DeAn­gelo, 72, who author­i­ties sus­pect is the so-called Golden State Killer re­spon­si­ble for at least 12mur­ders and 45rapes in the 1970s and ’80s, is ar­raigned April 27in Sacra­mento. He is sched­uled to re­turn to court Mon­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.