Joseph James DeAngelo is flanked by sheriff’s deputies at the Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Courthouse in Sacramento, California. (SANTIAGO MEJIA/Getty Images/TNS)

Golden State Killer apologizes to victims, sentenced to life in prison

Joseph DeAngelo, probably better known as the Golden State Killer, was sentenced Friday in Sacramento to 12 life terms for the killings, rapes and other crimes committed in California, including some in the Bay Area.

DeAngelo, 74, was sentenced to the maximum time allowed by law and will spend the rest of his life in prison.

He was once a police officer and terrorized the state over 13 years in the 1970s and 1980s. More than 30 years passed before he was identified as the slayer.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman said at Friday’s hearing that DeAngelo deserves no mercy. Midway through the hearing, DeAngelo took off his white mask, gathered himself and addressed the court.

Wearing a white shirt on top of an orange one, DeAngelo said, “I’ve listened to all your statements. Each one of them. And I am truly sorry to everyone I’ve hurt.”

DeAngelo pleaded guilty to more than a dozen murders and more than a dozen kidnappings and other crimes. He was identified through investigative genetic genealogy in 2018, prosecutors in Contra Costa County said.

DeAngelo killed his last victim in 1986. Prosecutors said that he admitted to crimes against 87 individuals at 53 separate crime scenes.

Charges were filed against him for offenses he perpetrated against 26 people and DeAngelo admitted to uncharged crimes against 61 more. Uncharged crimes occurred in Santa Clara, Alameda, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare and Yolo counties.

Prosecutors decided to allow DeAngelo to plead guilty to some of the offenses and admit the uncharged ones in consultation with victims and their families. The scope of the case involved more than 1.3 million pages of discovery, and if charges were filed for all of the offenses the proceedings may have taken as many as 10 years.

The decision allowed the victims and their families hear DeAngelo admit what he did. For the past three days, the victims have described how DeAngelo’s actions affected them.

DeAngelo pleaded guilty to 13 counts of first-degree murder and 13 felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery. DeAngelo admitted to killing Claude Snelling in 1975 in Tulare County, Katie and Brian Maggiore in 1978 in Sacramento County, Debra Alexandria Manning in 1979 in Santa Barbara County, Robert Offerman in 1979 in Santa Barbara County, Cheri Domingo in 1981 in Santa Barbara County, Greg Sanchez in 1981 in Santa Barbara County, Charlene and Lyman Smith in 1980 in Ventura County, Keith and Patrice Harrington in 1980 in Orange County, Manuela Wittuhn in 1981 in Orange County and Janelle Cruz in 1986 in Orange County.

Prosecutors said DeAngelo’s crime spree started in 1975 when he was a police officer with the Exeter Police Department and the crimes continued after he was fired from the Auburn Police Department in 1979. Prosecutors said he started with peeping through windows and his offenses escalated through stalking to serial murder.

DeAngelo was also nicknamed the Visalia Ransacker, the Original Night Stalker and the East Area Rapist.

-Keith Burbank, Bay City News

Bay Area NewsCaliforniaCrime

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