After more than 40 years after allegedly committing a series of violent crimes, the so-called "Golden State Killer" is in the custody of the sheriff in Sacramento, California. At approximately 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, lawmen arrested Joseph James DeAngelo (72). The suspect is a former police officer. He stands accused of two counts of first-degree murder.
Known also as the "East Area Rapist" in reference to an area of Sacramento, in Los Angeles he was known as the "Golden State Killer." He had eluded justice for more than 40 years. The FBI joined the investigation into one of the state’s most notorious criminals. The first crime attributed to him occurred 40 years ago in Rancho Cordova. According to an account told by the victim to the FBI, "He came in and had a ski mask on and jumped on the bed and had a knife." The female victim also recounted that he robbed her. "After it was all over and done with, he went through the stuff in the room, took money out of my purse," said the victim.
After that, the east end of Sacramento and Contra Costa County were plagued by violent sexual assaults in the 1970s. One victim recalled, "Sock stuffed in my mouth, blindfolded, gagged, hands tied, legs tied, and then you, know pulled me up like this, because I was on my stomach, and put me back in bed and said, if you move I'm going to kill you," one victim said.
DNA evidence later confirmed a link between the crime committed in the San Francisco Bay area with murders in southern California during the 1980s. "This serial offender was probably one of the most prolific, certainly in California, possibly within the United States," said Sacramento County Sheriff's Sgt. Paul Belli.
The Golden State Killer is believed to have committed 50 rapes in northern California during the mid-1970s, in addition to 12 murders in the southern part of the state between 1979 and 1986. Initially, the crimes were focused in areas east of Sacramento: Carmichael, Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova, where at least fifty women were raped between June 18, 1976, and July 5, 1979. Earlier incidents in Visalia may also be connected. The suspect’s last known crime, the only one after 1981, took place in 1986. The suspect is believed to have carried out 120 burglaries.
After several suspects were cleared through DNA test, alibi, or other methods, the FBI and local law enforcement agencies held a news conference in 2016 to announce a nationwide dragnet and a $50,000 reward for his capture.