California’s ‘Golden State Killer’ pleads guilty to more than a dozen murders

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. pleaded guilty Monday to 13 counts of first-degree murder, closing a decades-long investigation into a string of grizzly murders that terrorized California in the 1970s and ’80s.

According to NPR, wheelchair-bound DeAngelo, 74, barely spoke and did not look at the victims' families during the proceedings, except to answer "yes" and "I admit" to the charges as they were read.

“Mr. DeAngelo is acknowledging his guilt for the heinous crimes he has committed,” Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said.

“There is really nothing that could give full justice because he has committed horrendous acts and murder up and down the state of California. But at least we can now begin the process — after decades — to bring some closure to families,” she added.

According to The Sacramento Bee, DeAngelo agreed to plead guilty to 13 counts of murder and 13 counts of kidnap for robbery, starting with the Nov. 11, 1975, shooting death of college professor Claude Snelling in Visalia, California.

By day's end, DeAngelo also was scheduled to admit to 62 rapes and other crimes committed during his 12-year spree from Sacramento to Orange County for which he has not been formally charged, the Bee reported.

In addition to the 13 murders, DeAngelo committed a total of 50 rapes, Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Thienvu Ho said, noting he inadvertently confessed two years ago while left alone in an interview room after being confronted with evidence of the crimes, the newspaper reported.

"I did all those things. I've destroyed all their lives," DeAngelo was observed muttering to himself, while audibly blaming an inner demon, the Bee reported.

“I didn’t have the strength to push him out. He made me,” DeAngelo said, according to Ho’s account.

Sacramento Bee reporter Sam Stanton is reporting live from the hearing of Joseph James DeAngelo, who has pleaded guilty to multiple rapes and murders. Read our full story:

Posted by The Sacramento Bee on Monday, June 29, 2020

Per a plea deal reached two weeks ago, DeAngelo is expected to be sentenced in August to life in prison without the possibility of parole, NPR reported.

California has not executed an inmate since 2006, and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order in March 2019 instituting a statewide moratorium on the death penalty, meaning DeAngelo will face consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole, NPR reported.

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