Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 72, was arrested by police in California on Tuesday afternoon and charged with eight counts of murder. DeAngelo 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 13 homicides, between 45 and 51 rapes, and numerous home burglaries between 1973 and 1986. He was booked into jail 2:30 A.M. Wednesday morning.
DeAngelo is currently charged with eight murders and more charges are expected. His arrest was related to the 1980 cold case murders of Lyman and Charlene Smith. He was soon charged in Sacramento County with the 1978 murders of Brian Maggiore and his wife, Katie. He is also facing four counts of murder in Orange County relating to the killing of Patrice Harrington, Manuela Witthuhn and Janelle Cruz. More charges are expected since the Golden State Killer has committed at least 13 known murders during his crime spree from 1975 to 1986.
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 two counts of 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/Visalia Ransacker?
The East Area Rapist, also known as the Golden State Killer, is said to have committed 13 homicides, between 45 and 51 rapes, and numerous home burglaries between 1975 and 1986. In the summer of 1976, his attacks officially 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 1975 with the shooting death of Claude Snelling. The journalist professor, Snelling, died via gunshot wound in the early hours of September 11, 1975, as he attempted to prevent the killer from abducting his daughter. Authorities dubbed the suspect the “Visalia Ransacker” who was known for sexually-motivated burglaries ranging all the way back to 1973.
He killed again 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 old.
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 between 45 51 rapes, as well as 13 murders. His initial killing spee is thought to have began in 1975 with the murder of journalism professor Claude Snelling. His final victim is suspected to be an 18-year-old woman who was murdered in 1986.
In 1978, The Golden State Killer murdered Brian and Katie Maggiore who were both shot dead outside their homes while walking their dog. Investigators believe that the victims recognized and surprised the murderer who was prowling through the neighbor near Sacramento.
It would take authorities almost 37 years to link the murders of Brian and Katie Maggiore to the Golden State Killer. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations was the first to make the connection between the young couple’s murders and the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer.
The Golden State Killer struck again on December 30, 1979. On that date, the killer murdered Dr. Robert Offerman and Dr. Alexandria Manning at Avenida Pequena Avenue in Goleta, California. The couple was close to divorce before they were both murdered.
Dr. Manning was discovered by authorities in the nude, lying face-down, with her hands tied behind her back, and a bullet wound in the back of her head. Her husband, Dr. Offerman, was found kneeling on the ground, dead, with one bullet wound visible on his upper chest and three in his back. White twine was wrapped around Offerman’s wrists. The serial killer murdered Manning and Offerman with a .38 revolver. Neither victim was sexually assaulted.
On March 13, 1980, the killing spree continued with the murders of Charlene and Lyman Smith. Charlene was raped and killed, while Lyman was also murdered. The crime took place in their home on High Point Drive in Ventura County.
Authorities discovered the bodies of the couple in their bed with a blanket covering their heads. Lyman Smith’s hands and feet were both tied with a nylon cord. He was found naked lying face-down. His wife, Charlene Smith, was raped. She was found only wearing a t-shirt. Her hands, wrists, and ankles, were all tied behind her back. Detectives reported that the couple was viciously beaten to death.
On August 19, 1980, the Golden State Killer’s killing spree resumed with murder of Keith Harrington, and the rape and killing of Patrice Harrington. The crime Cockleshell Drive in Dana Point.
The murdered couple was discovered with their hand’s bound with macrame cord. They had been bludgeoned to death in bed. Bed sheets covered their heads.
On February 5, 1981, police believe that the Golden State Killer struck again. This time, he’s suspected of raping and murdering Manuela Witthuhn in Irvine, California.
On July 27, 1981, the Golden State Killer is suspected of murdering another couple. The serial killer’s bloody string of crimes is suspected to have continued with the murders of Gregory Sanchez and Cheri Domingo on Toltec Way, Goleta.
Sanchez was murdered via blunt-force trauma to the head. He was found naked, lying face-down on the floor with a gunshot wound on his chest. Part of his body was lying in the closet. His wife, Domingo, was also found in the nude. She was discovered dead, lying in bed, with sheets and blankets on top of her. A single blow to the head resulted in Domingo’s death. She was murdered with the same weapon that killed her husband.
Almost five years later, the killer is said to have struck again. This time, he allegedly raped and murdered 18-year-old Janelle Lisa Cruz in Irvine, who he is his youngest known victim.
Ms. Cruz was killed by being struck in the head and face with a pipe wrench. She was found by authorities with her bra pushed down to her waist. The pipe that killed her was believed to have been taken from her backyard.
Who Is Joseph James DeAngelo Jr.? Looking Into The Past Of A Serial Killer Suspect
Joseph James DeAngelo has been charged with eight counts of capital murder. He was arrested in the afternoon of April 24, after DNA evidence linked him to the murders. He is a former police officer with the departments of Exeter and Auburn, California.
“It is very possible that he was committing the crimes while he was a police officer, but we’re unsure if he did those while on the job,” Sheriff Scott Jones said during a press conference.
Exeter Police Chief John Hall told CNN reporters, “It is absolutely shocking that someone can commit such heinous crimes, and finding out someone in a position of trust could betray that is absolutely unbelievable.”
The Auburn Police Department released a statement that said they will “do everything within its power to support this investigation and any prosecution that follows. We will pull out all the stops for our Sacramento-area law enforcement partners in this horrific and historic case.”
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 (shoplifting) 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 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 a specialization in criminal law.
Before setting off for the police department in Auburn, DeAngelo interned with the Roseville Police Department, and was stationed 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 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, and 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 the killer 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 be married in 1970, but did not end up marrying that woman. He ended up marrying a different woman in 1973 by the name of Sharon Marie Huddle, an attorney. Public records also suggest that DeAngelo has a daughter who is in her 30s and has two children. DeAngelo reportedly has three children altogether. Huddle and DeAngelo divorced in 1991, according to Fox 40.
One of DeAngelo’s neighbors spoke with the Sacramento Bee and told the paper that “Joe” lived with his daughter and granddaughter. The neighbor, Cory Harvey, said that DeAngelo spoke with her recently and said that he had retired two weeks ago. Harvey reportedly was looking forward to retiring for a long time and going fishing. It’s not yet know what was DeAngelo’s most recent occupation.
DeAngelo’s brother-in-law, James Huddle, told Oxygen.com, “Oh my goodness. Wow. I’ll have to process this,” after he found out about DeAngelo’s arrest. He remarked that DeAngelo was a “good father” to his three daughters. Huddle also said that DeAngelo was interested in guns and ammunition.
“He actually asked me about it once. He said, ‘What do you think of that East Area Rapist? What would you do, Jim?’” Huddle told Oyxgen. “(The case) was a big deal at the time. We were all concerned about our families.”
Huddle also said that DeAngelo was into “normal hobbies” such as fishing, modeling airplanes, as well as “guns and reloading ammunition.” He said that he didn’t notice anything unusual or sinister about the man now accused of being the Golden State Killer/East Area Rapist.
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.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi told the Sacramento Bee that investigators from the prosecuter’s office and the crime lab observed “online family trees that appeared to have matches to DNA samples from the East Area Rapist’s crimes … They then followed clues to individuals in the family trees to determine whether they were potential suspects.”
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 last week, in the process obtaining DNA that confirmed his identity as the murder suspect.
To make sure that the DNA matched, authorities collected a second “more robust sample,” according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Grippi. Test results came back Monday night and warrants were sent out for DeAngelo’s arrest. He was taken into custody without incident on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 25, 2018. He was booked into jail at 2:30 A.M. Wednesday morning.
Who are the 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
- Claude Snelling
Books 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.
Here’s the Amazon’s description of the book:
“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,’ Michelle McNamara’s compelling investigation of the ‘Golden State Killer,’ who terrorized northern California from the mid-70s to the mid-80s, is one of the best true crime books to come along in a decade. It’s the story of two obsessions: McNamara’s obsession with the criminal, and whatever abhorrent obsession drove him to commit a series of horrific rapes and murders over ten years. The author, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, describes the crimes and examines clues in an effort to uncover his identity. Occasionally, she challenges convention by inserting herself into the narrative (at one point, she even writes directly to the Golden State Killer), and the book acquires even more personal weight when one takes into account the fact that McNamara, at the age of 46, died while writing it. Knowing all of this, and with each chilling description, McNamara’s obsession begins to become our own. She believed that the Golden State Killer would still be alive today. You will discover yourself hoping she’s right, so that you can see him captured and brought to justice.”
Jane Carson-Sandler wrote a book about surviving a violent encounter with the serial rapist/murder. Her book is called Frozen in Fear: A True Story of Surviving the Shadows of Death. In the 2014 book, she wrote, “Citizens were scared, frustrated, and angry that he could not be caught.”
Richard Shelby also wrote a book about the decades-long search for the serial murderer/rapist. The book is called HUNTING A PSYCHOPATH: The East Area Rapist / Original Night Stalker Investigation – The Original Investigator Speaks Out. The book lays out the groundwork for the investigation and provides detailed evidence surrounding each assault.
In August 2010, Larry Crompton released a book called Sudden Terror. Compton was involved in the initial rape investigations and based his book upon the evidence he gathered regarding the East Area Rapist.
Here is the Amazon description of Crompton’s book:
“This book is based on the actual case of the East Area Rapist, later also known as the Original Night Stalker, a masked man who terrorized California communities for ten years; 1976 through 1986, and possibly to this day. Because I was not involved in the initial rape investigations, they are written from hundreds of reports, notes, memos, newspaper clippings, conversations and interviews with those who were involved. The crimes are factual. The crimes are real. While all characters and events have direct counterparts in the telling of the story, I have created some dialogue in the interest of readability. The cops in the initial rapes are not factual, their actions are. Their names and descriptions are completely fictitious. The names of the victims, witnesses and suspects are fictitious; the terror, the dialogue during the crimes, and the investigations are real. The cops involved in the cases after I was involved are real, their names and dialogue is factual, the investigations are real. The pain and terror may have diminished in the minds of the victims, I hope that the pain does not return. My intent is to tell the story without endangering the privacy or the dignity of the victims. They have suffered enough.”
Response To DeAngelo’s Arrest
Patton Oswald took to Twitter following DeAngelo’s arrest, writing “This is insane. It looks like they’ve caught the East Area Rapist, if that’s true they’ve caught the Golden State Killer. I think you got him, Michelle.” He called it, “One of the more surreal days of my life.”
One victim of the East Area Rapist was reportedly overwhelmed with joy following the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo, Jr., her suspected rapist. Jane Carson-Sandler spoke with The Island Packet newspaper, that two detectives who she had been keeping in touch with had informed her about the arrest. She was the East Area Rapist’s fifth victim. “I just found out this morning,” she told reporters. “I’m overwhelmed with joy. I’ve been crying, sobbing. I just can’t tell you how I feel. After 42 years — wow!”
As previously mentioned, Carson-Sandler had written a book about surviving a brutal and traumatizing attack from the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer. Her book is called Frozen in Fear: A True Story of Surviving the Shadows of Death. In the 2014 book, she wrote, “Citizens were scared, frustrated, and angry that he could not be caught.”
Michelle Cruz’s sister Jenelle Cruz was 18-years-old when she murdered by The Golden State Killer. Michelle told NBC Los Angeles, “I’m so excited and overwhelmed. I’m feeling very blessed today and now I will be able to breathe again” after the arrest of the suspected serial killer/rapist.
DeAngelo’s Home In Citrus Heights Is Being Searched By FBI & Local Police
The Sacramento Bee reported that local police and FBI agents was at DeAngelo’s home in Citrus Heights, near the border with Roseville, where the suspect has lived for at least two decades.
The Sacramento Bee describes the neighbor, where DeAngelo lived, as a quiet residential, middle-class neighborhood.
“It’s terrifying to think this man could have hopped the fence, and come into my backyard. I have children,” Beth Walsh, who lives in the area, on a street adjacent to DeAngelo, told the newspaper. “I’m glad to know they caught this guy.”
Another neighbor, Paul Sanchietti, described DeAngelo as “odd neighbor,” telling reporters, “He was aggravated or upset, his voice would carry, his swearing was alarming. But he seemed to calm down in the last few years.”
Kevin Tapia, who was raised in a home behind DeAngelo, told the Bee that the now-serial killer suspect had hostile run-ins with his family. He also said that DeAngelo was extremely painstaking with the way he parked his boat in the driveway, using permeant markers. A week ago, Tapia said he spoke with DeAngelo regarding a motorcycle mechanic.
According to the Bee, a Toyota and Volvo was sitting in DeAngelo’s garage on Wednesday morning.
Sergeant Paul Belli, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department detective assigned to the Golden State Killer case, said at a press conference last year, “Obviously, with the 40th anniversary, this is a time we want to take to acknowledge this serial offender who was probably one of the most prolific, certainly in California, possibly in the United States, but also to let the victims know that we’ll never give up.”
It’s Not Clear Why The Golden State Killer Stopped His Murder/Rape Spree in 1986
Carol Daly, a retired detective from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, spoke with CNN regarding the Golden State Killer/East Area Rapist. Daly said that, “We thought he would never stop, but then two months after the Maggiore homicides, the East Area Rapist left our jurisdiction. It was like he disappeared in thin air.”
Erika Hutchcraft, an investigator for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, told CNN, “These cases are some of the most horrific I’ve had to investigate. They’re not a one-time, you know, crime of passion, but these are almost passionless crimes. Very cold, very violent.”