Families of victims who were viciously attacked by the Golden State Killer may finally be able to shut a door if a plea deal is reached. Joseph James DeAngelo is expected to plead guilty to a number of charges against him on June 29. This would allow him a life sentence rather than the death penalty, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"We feel this is a just resolution of this case and that the resolution provides some finality and closure for the victims," Sacramento County Supervising Assistant Public Defender Joseph Cress told the Sacramento Bee. "This also avoids the stress and financial costs of a lengthy trial." DeAngelo is accused of murdering 13 people and raping 45 throughout the course of 10 years from 1976 to 1986 and was linked by DNA and method. He is also expected to admit to other rapes in which he was not charged for where the statute of limitation has expired.
According to the Bee, an agreement is "still in the works" since details of the agreement have not yet been released. The 74-year-old, who is a former police officer, was arrested in 2018 and has been in custody ever since. He's also responsible for more than 120 burglaries across California, making it one of the longest crime sprees in U.S. history. Since it's a highly publicized case, the courtroom in which his hearing will take place in is still being decided. Hundreds of spectators are expected to attend, including family members of the victims, media from around the world and more, so officials are searching for a large enough courtroom. Currently, they have taken place in the Sacramento County Main Jail, however, the size of the room is unable to support more than a few dozen people.
Due to social distancing rules and COVID-19 concerns, the new venue is not expected to be in any of the Sacramento Superior Court courtrooms. Instead, officials are searching for large public buildings in the surrounding area. "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 prior to sentencing." The statement continued with, "We have a moral and ethical responsibility to consider any offer form 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."