CALIFORNIA -74 year old former Auburn police officer, Joseph DeAngelo, is expected to plead guilty on June 29, 2020 to life without the possibility of parole after being arrested in 2018 for eight-counts of first degree murder. Prior to his arrest, DeAngelo was wanted by the FBI since the the 1980’s for committing 45 rapes, 12 homicides, and 120 residential burglaries throughout the State of California.
Between 1976 and 1986, DeAngelo, who was known as the East Area Rapist, committed 12 homicides, 45 rapes, and more than 120 residential burglaries across Sacramento and Orange County communities. The defendant targeted victims from the ages of 13 to 41 and most commonly attacked women home alone, women at home with their children, and women home alone with their husbands.
Special Agent Marcus Knutson stated that during DeAngelo’s years of terror, “People were sleeping with shotguns, we had people purchasing dogs. People were concerned. This guy was terrorizing the community. He did horrible things.”
Burglaries and rapes began occurring in the eastern district of Sacramento County in the summer of 1976. DeAngelo burglarized homes, took coins, jewelry, and identification documents from victims. Neighborhood burglaries were often followed by clusters of sexual assaults.
The defendant was known to attack couples, tie up victims, rape, then murder. After July 1981, no associated incidents were known again until 1986 when an 18-year-old woman was raped and murdered in Irvine, California. This crime was the the last known crime associated with the defendant.
Sacramento County Sheriff, Scott Jones, revealed that the 30 year investigation came to an identification match after investigators tested DNA evidence from a discarded item to link DeAngelo with samples left by the killer at one of his attacks. Police waited outside DeAngelo’s residence for days then moved in and arrested him without incident at his home in the Sacramento suburb of Citrus Heights.