WATCH LIVE: DAs hold press conference after Golden State Killer pleads guilty to murder, rape charges

New York News
SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Killer Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. is entering guilty pleas as part of a deal to avoid the death penalty.

“Guilty!” It’s the word that his victims and their family members have been aching to hear for decades from DeAngelo, the Golden State Killer’s unqualified admission of guilt to 13 first degree murders and dozens of rapes and other crimes.

“Families have waited for decades for justice,” said Sacramento County prosecutor Amy Holliday, delivering an opening statement at DeAngelo’s plea hearing at Sacramento State University. “Sexual assault victims have waited decades for justice. This final resolution will allow remaining victims to hear the defendant admit to these crimes.”

ABC7 PRESENTS: Chasing the Golden State Killer

In all, the 74-year-old wheelchair-bound DeAngelo pleaded guilty to 13 first degree murders, 13 kidnappings with the use of a firearm and 161 uncharged crimes, including dozens of rapes where the statute of limitations (from the 1970s-80s) had long ago run out.

The formal charges include four cases in Contra Costa County in 1978 and ’79, committed in the cities of San Ramon, Danville, Walnut Creek and Concord.

TIMELINE: A look back at the Golden State Killer’s crime spree that lasted a decade

DeAngelo’s violent crime spree of rape and murder ran from 1975 to 1986, from as far north as Sacramento County to Orange County and many stops in between. During some of that time, he was employed as a police officer in both Exeter and Auburn.

He was not arrested until 2018 after a DNA match. By then, he was a husband, father and grandfather, living in a Sacramento suburb, blending into a community that he once terrorized.

“The time for justice stands in front of us,” Holliday told the court. “This place, this plea at this time is in the best interest of the state of California.”

The hearing, moved to a ballroom at Sac State due to space and coronavirus concerns, is expected to go for four to five hours, as prosecutors describe each of DeAngelo’s acts, the judge reads the charges and DeAngelo admits guilt to each.

In exchange for his guilty pleas, DeAngelo will avoid the death penalty, but spend the rest of his life in prison, without the possibility of parole.

Here are the victims that DeAngelo is pleading guilty to murdering:

  • Claude Snelling – Tulare County
  • Katie Maggiore – Sacramento County
  • Brian Maggiore – Sacramento County
  • Debra Alexandria Manning – Santa Barbara County
  • Robert Offerman – Santa Barbara County
  • Cheri Domingo – Santa Barbara County
  • Greg Sanchez – Santa Barbara County
  • Charlene Smith – Ventura County
  • Lyman Smith – Ventura County
  • Patrice Harrington – Orange County
  • Keith Harrington – Orange County
  • Manuela Witthuhn – Orange County
  • Janelle Cruz – Orange County

See the full complaint filed against DeAngelo here.

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Take a look at all of ABC7’s stories, photos, videos, and more from the archives about the Golden State Killer.

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