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Suspect set to plead guilty

  • FILE - In this March 12, 2020, file photo, Joseph James DeAngelo, charged with being the Golden State Killer, appears in court in Sacramento, Calif. The 74-year-old former police officer is tentatively set to plead guilty Monday, June 29, 2020, to being the elusive Golden State Killer. The hearing comes 40 years after a sadistic suburban rapist terrorized California in what investigators only later realized were a series of linked assaults and slayings. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File) Rich Pedroncelli

  • FILE - In this Aug. 23, 2018, file photo Jennifer Carole, the daughter of Lyman Smith, believed to be one of the victims of the Golden State Killer, talks with reporters after Joseph James DeAngelo's court appearance in Sacramento, Calif. Forty years after a sadistic suburban rapist terrorized California in what investigators only later realized were a series of linked assaults and slayings, the 74-year-old former police officer is tentatively set to plead guilty Monday, June 29,2020, to being the elusive Golden State Killer. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File) Rich Pedroncelli

Associated Press
Published: 6/28/2020 5:19:47 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Forty years after a sadistic suburban rapist terrorized California in what investigators later realized were a series of linked assaults and slayings, a 74-year-old former police officer is expected to plead guilty Monday to being the elusive Golden State Killer.

The deal will spare Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. any chance of the death penalty for 13 murders and 13 kidnapping-related charges spanning six counties. In partial return, survivors of the assaults that spanned the 1970s and 1980s expect him to admit to up to 62 rapes that he could not be criminally charged with because too much time has passed.

Yet nothing is certain until he actually speaks in a Sacramento State University ballroom pressed into use as a courtroom to provide for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve been on pins and needles because I just don’t like that our lives are tied to him, again,” said Jennifer Carole, the daughter of Lyman Smith, a lawyer who was slain in 1980 at age 43 in Ventura County. His wife, 33-year-old Charlene Smith, was also raped and killed.

Investigators early on connected certain crimes to an armed and masked rapist who would break into sleeping couples’ suburban homes at night, binding the man and piling dishes on his back.

He would threaten to kill both victims if he heard the plates fall while he raped the woman.

Gay and Bob Hardwick were among the survivors.

They are now looking forward to DeAngelo admitting to that 1978 assault.

The death penalty was never realistic anyway, she said, given DeAngelo’s age and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s moratorium on executions.

“He certainly does deserve to die, in my view, so I am seeing that he is trading the death penalty for death in prison,” she said. “It will be good to put the thing to rest. I think he will never serve the sentence that we have served — we’ve served the sentence for 42 years.”

A guilty plea and life sentence avoids a trial or even the planned weeks-long preliminary hearing.

The victims expect to confront him at his sentencing in August, where it’s expected to take several days to tell court officials what they have suffered.




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