Just before receiving multiple consecutive life sentences, Joseph James DeAngelo, the former California police officer who lived a double life as the murderous sociopath dubbed the Golden State Killer, broke his silence to tell a hushed courtroom filled with victims and their family members that he was “truly sorry” for the crimes.
It was such an unexpected moment that it brought gasps from those in the gallery, many of whom sat through an extraordinary four-day sentencing hearing filled with graphic and heart-wrenching testimony from dozens of victims. It also reinforced that nobody ever seemed to know what DeAngelo would do and who he was, which helps explain how he eluded detection for four decades while committing at least 13 killings and dozens of rapes.
Victim after victim lined up on Tuesday to describe Joseph DeAngelo as a “sick monster,” “horrible man” and “subhuman” who stole their innocence and changed their lives during a more than decade-long reign of rape and murder that earned him the nickname Golden State Killer.
Forty years after a sadistic suburban rapist terrorized California in what investigators later realized were a series of linked assaults and slayings, a 74-year-old former police officer is expected to plead guilty Monday to being the elusive Golden State Killer.
The deal will spare Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. any chance of the death penalty for 13 murders and 13 kidnapping-related charges spanning six counties. In partial return, survivors of the assaults that spanned the 1970s and 1980s expect him to admit to up to 62 rapes that he could not be criminally charged with because too much time has passed.