At long last the notorious serial killer and rapist known as the Golden State Killer has been brought to justice. We’ve got five things to know about Joseph James DeAngelo.
Decades after his alleged murder and rape spree that terrorized California, Joseph James DeAngelo has been arrested and named as the infamous Golden State Killer. The 72-year-old was taken into custody at his Citrus Heights, CA home on Apr. 25, decades after killing at least a dozen people, raping 45 women and committing hundreds of burglaries throughout California between 1976 and 1986. His reign of terror gripped the East Bay area, Sacramento and Southern California. In 2016 his case was reopened by a multiagency task force which offered a $50,000 reward for information on his case 40 years after his first crime. Through DNA evidence recovered in recent days he was linked to being the Golden State Killer. We’ve got five things to know about Joseph James DeAngelo.
1. DeAngelo had several nicknames as his crimes moved throughout California.
Along with being called the “Golden State Killer,” he was also known as the “East Area Rapist” “Visalia Ransacker” and the “Original Nightstalker.” His crimes took place in the Sacramento Area between 1976-78 before moving on to suburbs of San Francisco’s East Bay area between 1978-79 where he allegedly committed 11 rapes. In 1980 his crime spree moved to southern California’s Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. He’s believed to have committed at least 85 burglaries and one murder in Visalia, CA in 1975.
2. DeAngelo was once a cop.
He was a police officer with the Auburn, CA Police Department, but was arrested for shoplifting a can of dog repellant and a hammer from a Sacramento drug store in 1979. He didn’t even fight to keep his job, as the city manager was quoted at the time saying that DeAngelo “failed to answer any of the city’s investigations and did not request an administrative hearing.” He eventually received six months probation and a $100 fine for the shoplifting incident.
3. DeAngelo went silent for five years in between his final crimes.
He allegedly committed several double homicides and numerous rapes in in SoCal up until July of 1981. After that there were no crimes linked to the Golden State Killer until his final known incident in May of 1986, when he allegedly murdered an 18-year-old girl in Irvine, CA.
4. DeAngelo lived quietly in suburban Sacramento for the past three decades.
He lived in his Citrus Heights neighborhood for over 30 years. Neighbors told reporters that he was a “relatively nice guy” who was prone to “cursing outbursts you could hear down the street.” He had married at one point and has three adult children.
5. Comedian Patton Oswalt’s late wife Michelle McNamara wrote a book about his crimes.
True crime writer McNamara penned I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, along with author Bill Jensen. At the end of the book, she predicted that the Golden State Killer would eventually be captured as an elderly man, with police giving a knock at his door and him being too old to escape their capture. Boy did she nail it!