A Sacramento county judge sentenced the Golden State Killer on Friday for a massive murder and rape spree that began in the 1970s and spanned up and down California, leaving investigators without a suspect in custody until his eventual arrest in 2018.
According to ABC-10, Joseph James DeAngelo, 74, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole eleven times, life in prison fifteen times, and an additional eight years in prison. He must also register as a sex offender.
DeAngelo pleaded guilty to 13 murders and 13 rape-related crimes back in June, and admitted guilt to dozens of other crimes beyond the statute of limitations, in exchange for not receiving the death penalty, reports the Associated Press.
The Sacramento county prosecutor has previously said DeAngelo admitted to the crimes while alone in an interrogation room back in 2018, blaming the crime spree on “Jerry,” an alter ego that prosecutors suggested he faked, reports the news agency.
According to ABC News, DeAngelo’s modus operandi involved sneaking into homes and binding his victims; he would often force the male to balance dinner plates on his own back while DeAngelo committed his sex crimes. He would then promise to murder his victims if he heard the plates move.
“It wasn’t enough for him to rape or beat or shoot his victims,” said Santa Barabara County district attorney Joyce Dudley, reports the Los Angeles Times. “He wanted to take inflicting human pain to the highest level possible. Therefore, he often ensured that their loved ones saw or heard their loved ones being killed. That’s who Joe DeAngelo is.”
A former police officer and retired truck mechanic, DeAngelo was arrested in 2018 after investigators uploaded a copy of his DNA to a genealogy website where a relative of DeAngelo had also uploaded a DNA sample, reports NPR.
DeAngelo’s arrest was made over forty years after he committed the first rape, which was later attributed to a separate chain of crimes committed up and down the state of California. Investigators initially did not realize the crimes were linked.
“I was a normal 15-year-old kid. I loved going to school, having sleepovers and going to church,” Kris Pedretti, who was attacked by DeAngelo in 1976, told the judge, reports ABC News.
“I sang ‘Jesus Loves Me’ in my head as I waited — waited to die,” she said. “The knowledge that DeAngelo will spend the rest of his life in prison for his heinous acts has ended my dark journey so that I may begin a new one.”
Jennifer Carole, the daughter of Lyman Smith, who was beaten to death along with his wife and left to be found by his 12-year-old son back in 1980, said she can “have no peace” because justice “is not possible in this case,” reports the LA Times.
Before he was sentenced, DeAngelo acknowledged the victims, saying that he listened to all of their statements and was “truly sorry to everyone I’ve hurt,” reports ABC-10. When the judge finally handed down his sentence, the room reportedly erupted into applause.
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