October 14, 2020

WARNING: mention of violence, rape, and abuse

Last week, we talked about the crimes committed by Joseph DeAngelo–AKA the Golden State Killer–and how he may have been able to get away with murder and rape for decades. This week, we’ll be talking about DeAngelo’s life in prison and his family’s reaction upon discovering he was a criminal.

As mentioned last week, officials were able to track down DeAngelo after finding DNA at a crime scene then using genealogy from other family members to track Joseph specifically in April of 2018


Two years later in June of 2020, DeAngelo accepted a plea deal to plead guilty to the 13 charges of rape-related and murder charges. He also admitted to acting on other forms of sexual assault, however he won’t be charged for this or the burglaries he committed. Because he confessed, there’s no chance for DeAngelo to face the death penalty.


“I still have a hard time believing that he did it,” said Lisa Ortiz, cousin-in-law of DeAngelo. “I mean, Joe’s like an amazing person. He was loving and nice and just the dad I wished that I had had.”


Other family members like Wes Ryland, DeAngelo’s nephew, while shocked, reveals a terrifying night when he woke up to a man wearing a ski mask in his room. 


“I always wondered all these years who was talking to me through his teeth, saying, ‘Don’t turn around; go back to sleep.’” After DeAngelo’s arrest, Ryland recalled that night. “I said, ‘Wow, I wonder if he used our house as a safe haven.’”


All throughout his court appearances, DeAngelo seemed like a feeble, frail man who struggled with doing simple tasks as he entered the courtroom in a wheelchair. Meanwhile, the prosecutor of the trial requested to show the jury a jail video where DeAngelo exercised in his cell, even climbing above his bed to cover the lights. (The video was denied to be used in trial as the defense never claimed DeAngelo was incompetant by any means.)


Courtesy of the Sacramento District Attorney's Office


In August of this year, DeAngelo was sentenced to no possibility of parole while serving multiple life sentences in prison. There were also three days worth of impact statements from victims. 


“One quarter of me, being a Christian, I want to say to you, ‘May God have mercy on your soul,’” said 74-year-old Jane Carson-Sandler, the fifth rapist victim of DeAngelo. “Then there is another three-quarters of me that wants to say to you, ‘Buddy, just rot in hell.’”


Carson-Sandler does mention she has turned her “mess into a message” and “pain into power.”


After hearing all the impact statements, DeAngelo took the stand. 


“I listened to all your statements, each of them,” DeAngelo said, “and I’m truly sorry for everyone I’ve hurt.”


His actions say otherwise.


In the docuseries I’ll Be Gone In the Dark–based off Michelle McNamara’s book with the same title–it’s noted that simply getting away with the crimes for decades wasn’t enough for DeAngelo. He’d often track down his survivors and prank call them, probably saying how he is still alive and well.

…the survivors have spoken: clearly the defendant deserves no mercy.

— Sacramento Superior Court Judge Micheal Bowman

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Micheal Bowman told CNN the following about DeAngelo’s sentence: “And while the court has no power to make a determination where the defendant is imprisoned, the survivors have spoken: clearly the defendant deserves no mercy.”


Stay tuned for next week’s article about the confession of Japan’s Twitter Killer!

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About the Writer
Erin Brody is a Writing and Publishing senior from West Homestead and is the Editor-in-Chief/Director of Operations of The SIREN Media Group. She particularly enjoys investigative journalism and crime... writing and researching it, of course.

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