Joseph James DeAngelo, otherwise famously known as the Golden State Killer, pleaded guilty on Monday to 26 charges. The 74-year-old was known for sneaking into family homes at night, tying his victims up, raping the women, and then following through with murdering some of them. Throughout his 12-year killing spree in the 1970s and '80s, he killed and raped dozens of men and women.
By pleading guilty to all charges, this spared the former police officer the death penalty. Instead, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was charged with 13 counts of murder, with additional special circumstances, and 13 counts of kidnapping for robbery in six counties, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. On Monday, his case was handled in a large Sacramento ballroom as a way to host all of who would be attending, including victims, their families and the media. Due to the high profile case and the coronavirus pandemic, the case was forced to be held in a large area that could safely hold everyone.
Investigators believe he is responsible for more than 60 rapes; however, the statute of limitations expired on some of those crimes. By also pleading guilty, he was accepting responsibility for those uncharged crimes which happened in several counties across California including, Sacramento, Yolo, San Joaquin, Almeda and Santa Clara. Prosecutors feel that the only reason he stopped his killings was that he was getting to an age where he couldn't overpower his victims anymore.
In early June, it was suspected that DeAngelo was going to plead guilty, and according to Public Defender Joseph Cress, by doing this, he feels it would hopefully bring some justice and peace of mind to the victims and their families. "We feel this is a just resolution of this case and that the resolution provides some finality and closure for the victims," he told the Sacramento Bee. "This also avoids the stress and financial costs of a lengthy trial."
"Victims of a crime are entitled to finality in their criminal cases, as well as the expectation that the person convicted of committing the crime will be punished by the courts of the State of California," a joint statement by prosecutors from counties that have filed charges in the case read. "Victims and their loved ones have a right to be heard, and all six District Attorney's Offices involved in the prosecution of People v. DeAngelo are working closely with the victims, in this case, to ensure their statements are considering by the court before sentencing. We have a moral and ethical responsibility to consider any offer from the defense, given the massive scope of the case, the advanced age of many of the victims and witnesses, and our inherent obligation to the victims."