Saturday, August 22, 2020

Golden State Killer Sentenced to 26 Life Terms

At LAT, "Golden State Killer given life in prison for rapes, murders that terrorized a generation":

The crimes began as window peeping in DeAngelo’s hometown of Rancho Cordova. They progressed to bedroom burglaries and panty thefts in Visalia, and then the murder of Claude Snelling, a college instructor who caught the intruder attempting to abduct his 16-year-old daughter from her bedroom in 1975.

The rapes that ensued became more violent as DeAngelo began to attack couples together and, later, to kill them.

While DeAngelo typically dragged women out of bed and away from their husbands to rape them in other rooms, crime scene evidence shows the couples he murdered died in bed beside each other.

“It wasn’t enough for him to rape or beat or shoot his victims,” said Santa Barbara County Dist. Atty. Joyce Dudley. “He wanted to take inflicting human pain to the highest level possible. Therefore, he often ensured that their loved ones saw or heard their loved ones being killed. That’s who Joe DeAngelo is.”

The investigations were often botched by law enforcement agencies refusing to cooperate, but the crimes also instigated major advances in criminal justice laws and tools. They were cited by women’s rights advocates to successfully increase the penalties for rape. A political crusade launched and funded by the family of murder victim Keith Harrington fueled a California law requiring felons to add their DNA to a databank used to hunt criminals.

Harrington’s older brother, Ron, used his victim statement in court this week to make the case for overriding privacy concerns and preserving police access to consumer genealogy sites, like the one detectives used to identify DeAngelo.

As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, DeAngelo admitted to carrying out 53 attacks on 87 victims in 11 counties, starting in 1975 and ending with the rape and murder of a teenage girl in Orange County in 1986. Authorities believe he is also responsible for two more sexual assaults and a shooting for which he was not charged.

In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to spare him the death penalty. He was sentenced to 11 life terms without the possibility of parole, to be served consecutively, plus 15 life terms and eight years...