Judge OKs DNA tests from Golden State Killer

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - FRONT PAGE - By Don Thomp­son

SACRA­MENTO >> A North­ern Cal­i­for­nia judge on Thurs­day ap­proved prose­cu­tors’ re­quest to take more DNA sam­ples from a man charged with be­ing the in­fa­mous “Golden State Killer” who eluded ar­rest for decades.

Sacra­mento County Su­pe­rior Court Judge Steve White also told prose­cu­tors to in­for­mally de­cide who is em­pow­ered to con­sider de­fense at­tor­neys’ of­fer have Joseph James DeAn­gelo plead guilty in ex­change for avoid­ing the death penalty. So far, prose­cu­tors have not wa­vered from their in­tent to seek DeAn­gelo’s ex­e­cu­tion if he is con­victed.

The 74-year-old for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer is sus­pected of at least 13 mur­ders and more than 50 rapes across Cal­i­for­nia in the 1970s and 1980s. Six coun­ties have con­sol­i­dated their cases in Sacra­mento County, and four of those coun­ties are seek­ing the death penalty.

“Who’s in charge? Who can make de­ci­sions? We want to set­tle the case,” said de­fense at­tor­ney Alice Michel, adding later that “I don’t know who I’m sup­posed to talk to.”

De­fense at­tor­neys ques­tioned in court fil­ings whether Sacra­mento County District At­tor­ney Anne Marie Schu­bert could alone ne­go­ti­ate a plea deal, of if she would have to have agree­ment from prose­cu­tors in Santa Bar­bara, Or­ange and Ven­tura coun­ties. He also faces lesser penal­ties from Tu­lare and Con­tra Costa coun­ties.

That “is some­thing that you prob­a­bly should be en­ti­tled to know,” White said while urg­ing the at­tor­neys to work it out among them­selves.

Gov. Gavin New­som has a mora­to­rium on ex­e­cu­tions while he is gover­nor. But DeAn­gelo’s trial is likely sev­eral years away af­ter what is pro­jected to be a weeks-long pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing set to be­gin in May.

White al­lowed prose­cu­tors, over de­fense ob­jec­tions, to take four more cheek-swab DNA sam­ples from DeAn­gelo as they try to link him to old crimes.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors sur­rep­ti­tiously col­lected DNA from DeAn­gelo more than two years ago that they say proves he is the rapist who broke into cou­ples’ sub­ur­ban homes at night, bind­ing the man and pil­ing dishes on his back. The armed and masked rapist would threaten to kill both vic­tims if he heard the plates fall while he raped the woman.

RICH PE­DRON­CELLI — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Joseph James DeAn­gelo, charged with be­ing the Golden State Killer, talks with his at­tor­ney, Diane Howard, dur­ing his ap­pear­ance in Sacra­mento County Su­pe­rior Court in Sacra­mento on Thurs­day.

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