After three days of victim statements, Joseph James DeAngelo, now known to be the infamous Golden State Killer, was sentenced Friday to multiple life terms in prison without the possibility of parole for numerous murders and rapes over a decade in California. He will die in prison.
Honorary Judge Michael Bowman delivered sentencing in the Sacramento Superior Court in California after district attorneys from counties all over the state delivered closing statements — some statements resulted in eruptive applause in the courtroom. “There is no prayer strong enough to save you,” Sacramento DA Anne Marie Schubert said, echoing Kris Pedretti, a victim who spoke on Tuesday. DeAngelo avoided eye contact and instead stared straight ahead as he sat in a wheelchair.
“The victims must be assured, that Mr. DeAngelo will never, ever, walk this earth again,” Bowman said, adding that he was handing out the maximum possible sentence. “The defendant deserves no mercy.”
Bowman said he considered DeAngelo’s age and how many people are currently on death row, as well as the California taxpayers, before sentencing him to multiple life terms as opposed to death.
DeAngelo was arrested in 2018 and 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.
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’s defense attorneys read statements from DeAngelo’s family members — his sister blamed their father for DeAngelo’s crimes due to “physical and mental abuse” he inflicted on the kids, mainly DeAngelo. However, she said, “of course, that will never justify what happened and I can only express my deepest sympathies to the survivors and the family members of the victims.”
His niece wrote in a letter about her nice life living with DeAngelo after her dad abused her. “He taught me everything,” she wrote. “Joe was kind and loving — Joe out of anyone in my life has always been my favorite person… he made my life peaceful.”
DeAngelo spoke then. “I’ve listened to all of your statements, each one of them, and I am really sorry to everyone I’ve hurt. Thank you, your honor.”
The search for the Golden State Killer was recently chronicled in HBO’s “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” based on Michelle McNamara’s book of the same name. McNamara was a crime author who took it upon herself to solve the crime until her death in 2016. She never witnessed the arrest of DeAngelo although she vastly contributed to his capture.