The disgraced former police officer, and later truck mechanic, Joseph James DeAngelo, the killer with many names, such as the Golden State Killer, Serial Killer, Serial Rapist, East Area Rapist, Visalia Ran Sacker, Original Nightstalker, and author of one of the worst crime sprees in California history, agreed to plead guilty to 13 counts of murder and 13 counts of kidnapping for robbery, during a hearing period of several hours in a Sacramento State ballroom today.
By days end he was scheduled to also admit to 62 rapes and other crimes he wasn’t even formally charged with.
Forty-five years after murdering his first victim DeAngelo, 74, admitted to a 12-year binge of murder and sexual assaults from the Sacramento area to Orange County. He started his crime spree as a burglar in Visalia, Calif., where he is believed to be responsible for over 100 residential burglaries from April 1974 to December 1975.
His first known murder was of Claude Snelling, a journalism professor and public information officer at the College of the Sequoias. Snelling was fatally shot in September 1975 while attempting to stop the kidnapping of his 16-year-old daughter.
Under a plea-bargain deal reached two weeks ago, DeAngelo is expected to be sentenced in August to life in prison without parole. Prosecutors agreed to forego seeking the death penalty in order to save the cost of the largest and most expensive prosecutions in California history.
DeAngelo was arrested in April 2018 at his home in Citrus Heights, after DNA was plugged into genealogical websites in an effort to find a match.
The investigation using DNA found from old crime scenes, including semen found inside Charlene Smith, a woman DeAngelo killed in Ventura County in 1980 was spearheaded by Sacramento district attorney Schubert, that enabled them to track him down.