Al­leged se­rial killer to keep pub­lic de­fender

The Modesto Bee - - News - BY KATH­LEEN RONAYNE As­so­ci­ated Press


A sus­pected Cal­i­for­nia se­rial killer can­not af­ford a pri­vate at­tor­ney, a judge ruled Thurs­day, keep­ing in place a pub­lic de­fender in a case ex­pected to cost tax­pay­ers $20 mil­lion.

Joseph DeAn­gelo, a for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer fac­ing 26 mur­der and kid­nap­ping charges, could be re­quired to re­im­burse the county to the ex­tent he is able af­ter the trial, Judge Michael Sweet said in Sacra­mento Su­pe­rior Court.

DeAn­gelo, 73, stood in an orange jump­suit in­side a court­room cage.

Sacra­mento County has asked the state to pick up the cost of pros­e­cut­ing and de­fend­ing DeAn­gelo.

Au­thor­i­ties be­lieve he com­mit­ted 13 mur­ders and more than 50 rapes in the 1970s and 80s span­ning six Cal­i­for­nia coun­ties. The rape cases hap­pened too long ago to be pros­e­cuted, so pros­e­cu­tors brought 13 re­lated kid­nap­ping counts.

DeAn­gelo has not en­tered a plea.

Diane Howard, the pub­lic de­fender who has rep­re­sented him since his ar­rest, did not com­ment af­ter Thurs­day’s hear­ing. She rep­re­sented DeAn­gelo in court along­side two other de­fense at­tor­neys.

Pros­e­cu­tors from all six Cal­i­for­nia coun­ties where DeAn­gelo was charged – Sacra­mento, Santa Bar­bara, Orange, Ven­tura, Tu­lare and Con­tra Costa – ap­peared in court.

The par­ties are next due in court April 10.

Howard sub­mit­ted a sealed af­fi­davit de­tail­ing DeAn­gelo’s eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion that Sweet used to make his de­ter­mi­na­tion.

The search for the se­rial killer, known by nick­names such as the East Area Rapist and the Golden State Killer, vexed au­thor­i­ties for decades and left vic­tims’ fam­i­lies with­out an­swers. Fi­nally in early 2018 in­ves­ti­ga­tors used DNA and a ge­nealog­i­cal web­site to iden­tify and ar­rest DeAn­gelo.

The se­rial killer would mon­i­tor sub­ur­ban neigh­bor­hoods and sneak into homes at night, au­thor­i­ties said. If a cou­ple was home, he would tie up the man, place dishes on his back and threaten to kill both vic­tims if he heard the plates fall onto the floor while he raped the woman.

PAUL KITAGAKI JR. Sacra­mento Bee

Joseph James DeAn­gelo, cen­ter, talks with pub­lic de­fender Diane Howard, and Joe Cress dur­ing his hear­ing Thurs­day in Sacra­mento.

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