Historical sentence in California: after dozens of cases of rape and murder, former police officer Joseph DeAngelo, 74, known as East Area Rapist, Visalia Ransacker, Original Nightstalker and the Golden State Killer was sentenced to life in prison. DeAngelo eluded capture for decades, and it took law enforcement more than 40 years to connect his crimes and catch up to him. He was arrested in 2018, when investigators pioneered a new method of DNA tracing that involves building a family tree from publicly accessible genealogy websites to narrow the list of suspects. Even DeAngelo’s ex-wife, Sacramento attorney Sharon Huddle, said in a court filing Thursday that she was fooled, though many victims have wondered aloud how she could not have known of her husband’s double life.
Prosecutors from Ventura, Sacramento, Orange, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Contra Costa counties were ready to seek the death penalty against DeAngelo but an agreement was made, however, for life in prison as long as DeAngelo pleaded guilty to the 26 charged crimes and dozens of uncharged offenses. The district attorneys reiterated the powerful words of the survivors and their families, Before his sentencing, DeAngelo said: “I’ve listened to all your statements, each of them. And I’m truly sorry to everyone I’ve hurt.”