Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 72, was arrested by police in California on Wednesday morning, and has been accused of being a notorious serial killer known as the East Area Rapist and Golden State Killer. According to co-author of the book “I’ll Be Gone In The Dark,” this particular serial killer has been accused of committing 12 homicides, 45 rapes and numerous home burglaries between 1976 and 1986. However, DeAngelo has only been charged with two counts of murder, according to the website of the Sacramento County Sherriff’s Office. His charges relate to the 1980 cold case murders of Lyman and Charlene Smith.
At 2:30 A.M. on Wednesday, April 25, Joseph James DeAngelo was taken into police custody. He is currently ineligible for bail. According to jail records, DeAngelo stands at 5’11” and weighs 205 pounds. According to the F.B.I., the East Area Rapist and Golden State Killer was about 5’10” and was between the ages of 60 and 75.
A live press-conference regarding the arrest of the suspected killer was streamed on Facebook. According to authorities, DNA-testing led police to the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo, Jr. He was arrested for capital murder relating to crimes stemming from the year 1980, specifically relating to the deaths of Lyman and Charlene Smith. They are just two of 12 suspected victims of the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer.
Who Is The East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer?
The East Area Rapist, also known as the Golden State Killer, is said to have committed 12 homicides, 45 rapes and numerous home burglaries between 1976 and 1986. In the summer of 1976, his attacks began. According to the F.B.I., “Burglaries and rapes occurred in Rancho Cordova and Carmichael, California, both suburbs of Sacramento. The EAR/GSK gained entry into the homes of his victims by prying open a window or door while they slept. He would then shine a flashlight into the face of his victims, tie up the female victim and, if a male victim was present, tied him up as well. The EAR/GSK then ransacked the residence and raped the female victim. He often took small items from the residences including coins, cash, identification, and jewelry. Some victims reported receiving telephone calls from the suspect after the crimes.”
The Golden State Killer committed his first murder in 1978, slaying a couple who were walking their dog. “A couple was shot and killed while walking their dog in Rancho Cordova. Evidence left at the scene was indicative of the EAR/GSK. After this crime, the EAR/GSK committed rapes in Stockton, Modesto, Davis, and the East Bay Area of California. Between 1979 and 1981, he was involved in the rape and murder of several individuals, including couples, in Southern California. These victims were tied up in the same manner as the Sacramento area rapes and their homes were also ransacked. After July of 1981, no additional incidents related to the EAR/GSK were reported until the rape and murder of an 18-year-old girl occurred in Irvine, California, in May of 1986. This was the last known incident related to the EAR/GSK in California.”
The ages of his victims ranged between 12 and 41 years of age.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the East Area Rapist is accused of breaking into 150 homes across California. He committed crimes from northern to central California, leaving behind victims in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Yolo, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.
This serial killer is also known as the Original Night Stalker and the Diamond Knot Killer. He is suspected of committing 51 rapes and 12 murders. His final victim is suspected to be an 18-year-old female in 1986
Who Is Joseph James DeAngelo Jr.?
Joseph James DeAngelo is a Vietnam War veteran as well as a former California policeman who lost his job after being arrested for shoplifting a hammer and a can of dog repellent at a Sacramento drug store, according to an archived article that was later posted on Twitter by Billy Jensen. DeAngelo had been a police officer from 1973 to 1979. During the time of the arrest, DeAngelo worked as an officer in Auburn, California.
According to a 1973 newspaper article from The Exeter Sun, a 27-year-old DeAngelo was hired as a police officer in Exeter in August ’73. The newspaper also states that he is a native of Bath New York as well as a veteran of the Vietnam War. Regarding his educational background, DeAngelo graduated from from Folsom Senior High School in June 1964. He then received his associates with honors in political science at Sierra College. He also attended California State University, where he received a degree in criminal justice, with specialization in criminal law.
Before setting off for the police department in Auburn, DeAngelo interned with the Roseville Police Department, and was stationed with in the patrol, identification and investigation divisions.
It isn’t publicly known when DeAngelo made the move from the Exeter to Auburn police departments. However, it is clear that DeAngelo lost his job as an officer following the shoplifting arrest, according to a 1979 newspaper report by the Auburn Journal.
“Auburn City Manager Jack Sausser said DeAngelo failed to answer any of the city’s investigations and did not request an administrative hearing so was dismissed Monday,” according to the Auburn Journal. Sausser said to reporters, “There was justifiable grounds to remove him from the public sector.” Auburn Police Chief Nick Willick said, “It is very important that the community have the utmost trust and faith in its officers’ integrity; when this trust and faith has been compromised, officers can no longer effectively function in the community.”
The shoplifting-related arrest occurred on July 21, 1979, at at the Pay N’Save Store off Greenback Lane in Citrus Heights. “Dog repellant. Hammer. And refuses a hearing after shoplifting charge. Just took his punishment and left the force so no one would look deeper,” said Billy Jensen on Twitter.
He was found guilty for shoplifting on October 31, 1979, and sentenced to six months probation and a $100 fine. He tried to appeal his firing, but later dropped the appeal as he was found guilty in criminal court.
Joesph James DeAngelo Has A Military And Romantic Past, And Might Have A Daughter
According to a 1967 California newspaper archive, DeAngelo served in the U.S. Navy as a damage controlman 2nd class on the USS Canberra, who was “expected to dock at San Diego … following service on the gun line off North Vietnam.”
DeAngelo completed basic training in 1964. However, the navy has not confirmed any information regarding his service.
According to the F.B.I.’s Most Wanted Page, profilers for the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer believe that he had military experience. “He may have had an interest in the military, or had some military training, leaving him familiar and proficient with firearms,” according to the F.B.I.’s page.
Another archived newspaper article reveals that DeAngelo had been engaged to married in 1970, but did not end up marrying that woman. He ended up marrying a different woman in 1973. Public records also suggest that DeAngelo has a daughter who is in her 30s and has two children.
How Did Police Link Joseph James DeAngelo To The Murders Of Lyman and Charlene Smith?
According to Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, DNA evidence linked Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. to the murders of Lyman and Charlene Smith. The break in the case reportedly came through during the last six days as a result of DNA-testing conducted in the Sacramento County Crime Lab. He is ineligible for bail and has been charged with two counts of capital murder.
According to NBC Los Angeles, a public tip helped lead authorities to the arrest after renewed attention was placed on the case. In 2016, a $50,000 reward was offered to the public, 40 years after the first murder, for any information leading to the capture of the Golden State Killer.
According to Sheriff Scott Jones, police had been conducting surveillance on DeAngelo after obtaining DNA that confirmed his identity. He was taken into custody without incident on the morning of Wednesday, April 25, 2018.
Who are the suspected murder victims of the Golden State Killer?
Below is a list of the 12 victims of the Golden State Killer.
- Brian Maggiore
- Katie Maggiore
- Alexandria Manning
- Dr. Robert Offerman
- Charlene Smith
- Lyman Smith
- Patrice Harrington
- Keith Harrington
- Manuela Witthuhn
- Cheri Domingo
- Gregory Sanchez
- Janelle Cruz
Book About The Golden State Killer
In February 2018, a book was released detailing the crimes of the killer and the obsession to catch the monster. The book was titled, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search of the Golden State Killer.
The book was written by a team of writers, including Jensen, researcher Paul Haynes and Michelle McNamara and her husband comedian Patton Oswalt. McNamara passed away in April 2016 before the book’s publication.