Joseph DeAngelo, better known now as the “Golden State Killer,” was addressed directly in court on Tuesday in powerful and emotional victim impact statements.
The three days of hearings, which includes statements from survivors and victims’ family’s members, began Tuesday with victims of rapes in Sacramento County.
DeAngelo, who was a police officer from 1973 to 1979, now 74 years old, was accused of committing 13 murders as well as multiple rapes and burglaries in the 1970s and 80s, terrorizing communities from Northern to Southern California.
He will be formally sentenced on Friday to life without parole. He was arrested in Sacramento County, in April of 2018 and became the first public arrest obtained through genetic genealogy, a new technique that takes the DNA of an unknown suspect left behind at a crime scene and identifies him or her by tracing a family tree through his or her family members, who voluntarily submit their DNA to public genealogy databases.
One victim, Kris Pedretti, was raped on Dec. 18, 1976, when she was 15 years old, by a knife-wielding man who said he would kill her if she did not obey him. “He tormented me. And he told me over and over again he would kill me. And I believed him,” she said in court Tuesday.
Pedretti said she thought she was going to die at three different times that night. The next morning, “I woke up knowing I would never be a child again,” she said.
Pedretti said her parents did not let her talk about that night, which forced her “to live my life like the rape never happened.” She said she struggled for 41 years with extreme panic attacks, failed relationships, unhealthy coping mechanisms, few friends and frequent job changes.
“Though I have found my way to a happy and safe life,” she said, “DeAngelo deserves his sentence of life without parole in the most dark and lonely containment.”
Pedretti told DeAngelo, “Your secrets have been exposed. Your double life is over. The world, and I mean the entire world, knows who you are and what you did. “You will forever be known as a repulsive coward who hid behind a mask of evil. The devil can keep you company in your prison cell, as he gnaws away at whatever soul you have left.”
She told the court, “the victim impact statements should be his only reading materials in his prison cell.”
Since DeAngelo’s arrest, over 150 other crime suspects have been identified through genetic genealogy.
For additional information visit our friends at ABC News.