By Steve Neavling
Former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. affirmed he is the Golden State Killer by pleading guilty Monday to 13 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of kidnapping.
The 74-year-old, who sat in a wheel chair and wore an orange jump suit and plastic face shield, admitted he committed a string of murders in the 1970s and ’80s that terrorized California and frustrated law enforcement.
“Mr. DeAngelo is acknowledging his guilt for the heinous crimes he has committed,” Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said at the court hearing, NPR reports. “There is really nothing that could give full justice because he has committed horrendous acts and murder up and down the state of California. But at least we can now begin the process — after decades — to bring some closure to families.”
In June 2016, the FBI renewed its manhunt for the elusive killer during a news conference, where they announced a $50,000 reward. Less than two years later, DeAngelo was arrested, based on forensic genetic genealogy.
“The scope of Joseph DeAngelo’s crimes is simply staggering,” Sacramento County Prosecutor Thien Ho said. “Each time he escaped, slipping away silently into the night.”
Family members of some of the victims spoke.