Tuesday marked the first day victims of the Golden State Killer, Joseph James DeAngelo, confronted the rapist and murderer in court ahead of his sentencing on Friday to life in prison.
Almost three dozen victims and family members will address DeAngelo over the next three days in Sacramento, California. In June, DeAngelo pleaded guilty to 13 counts of murder and 13 charges of kidnapping to commit robbery. Authorities charged the then 72-year-old man in 2018 with eight counts of first-degree murder based on new DNA evidence. Before then, the case had remained unsolved.
DeAngelo is believed to have committed 50 rapes in California from 1974 to 1986. He has been also identified as the East Area Rapist and the Visalia Ransacker. The Golden State Killer was linked by DNA and method to 12 murders, 45 sexual assaults and more than 120 burglaries from Sacramento to Orange County between 1976 and 1986.
One victim, who referred to herself as Peggy but was named as Jane Doe 15 by the court, was raped and falsely imprisoned by DeAngelo in 1976 at the age of 15. Addressing DeAngelo, who didn’t look at any of the victims or their family members during the statements, Peggy said, “After 42 years, I still look over my shoulder. I still don’t feel safe at night” and “I never knew if he would return like he threatened he would.”
“He’s a horrible man,” she added, before she stepped away from the podium.
The daughter of rape survivor Patricia Murphy — who was identified by the court as Jane Doe 1, whose attack took place in 1976 — read a statement on behalf of her mother before she addressed the Golden State Killer herself.
“That night forever changed me. I never felt safe for many years, I didn’t trust people, and I was always looking over my shoulder expecting someone to jump out at me,” she read on behalf of her mother, who was attacked by the Golden State Killer while she was at her parents’ house when she was 29 years old. Her daughter then said, “Rot in jail and then rot in prison. Turns out Joe — Jerry — won’t be gone in the dark after all.”
“I’ll be gone in the dark” is something DeAngelo said to his victims while threatening them to stay quiet during his vicious attacks.
Murphy’s daughter then sang a song to DeAngelo before flipping him off and calling him “subhuman.”
Pete Schultz — the son of Jane Doe 22, who was attacked in 1976 — asked DeAngelo if he remembered him after he woke him up when he was 7 years old and tied him to the bedpost while DeAngelo “performed horrific acts against my mother.”
“Our mother is not Jane Doe 22 and we are not just number 37 uncharged offense,” Schultz said. “We are the family of Winnie Schultz and we have all survived because of her bravery and resolve to do whatever it took to save herself and her family.”
Kris Pedretti was 15 when the Golden State Killer attacked her just before Christmas in 1976. On Tuesday, she took the podium to explain that while the attack was happening, she sang “Jesus Loves Me” as she “waited to die.” She said, “I woke up December 19 knowing I would never be a child again … I felt like I had died.”
She then addressed DeAngelo and asked him to “imagine his wife, daughters and granddaughter at 15 years old. Then imagine them being tied, gagged and blindfolded as they are being raped, tormented and fearful for their life by an unknown masked assailant who held the power of their life or death. I would ask him how he would react to the crime scene that my parents and sister came home to … If I could speak directly to DeAngelo, I would ask him, do you feel any remorse for what you did to me? For the people whose lives you sadistically cut short?”
“There is not a prayer strong enough to save you,” she concluded.
You can watch the livestream here.