True crime writer credited for renewing interest in Golden State Killer case

26 April, 2018, 12:42 | Author: Kim Reid
  • The killer is also suspected of committing 120 home burglaries across Sacramento County. Police believe they found ski masks worn by the Golden State Killer in this undated

He is ineligible for bail, jail records show.

DeAngelo served as a police officer in California between 1973 and 1979, police reportedly confirmed, ending his time on the force a few years after the crime spree began.

Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, the alleged Golden State Killer, was arrested Wednesday. It was DNA evidence that led to DeAngelo's arrest. The genetic material was not a match, but there were enough similarities for investigators to return for more and they said they were able to get a conclusive match. He was charged with two counts of murder with three special circumstances, including multiple murders, murder during commission of rape, and murder during commission of a burglary.

In Ventura County, he is accused of murdering Charlene Smith after raping and burglarizing her in March 1980, and murdering and burglarizing Lyman Smith the same months.

"The answer has always been in Sacramento", she said.

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She added that the arrest came after a multi-jurisdiction effort to track the killer down using the latest in forensic technology. "We discovered the needle within the haystack and it was proper right here in Sacramento".

As McNamara noted in her book, the Golden State Killer, who also was known as the East Area Rapist, specialized in breaking into single-family homes in the middle of the night when women or couples inside were asleep - or, in the case of a Walnut Creek teen in June 1979, when she was babysitting for neighbors. The armed and masked prowler sneaked in through windows at night and surprised sleeping victims who ranged in age from 13 to 41.

According to police, DeAngelo is responsible for as many as 12 murders and upwards of 50 rapes during a reign of terror that gripped California in the 70s and 80s. Following the murders of Katie and Brian Maggiore, the East Area Rapist didn't strike within the jurisdiction of the Sacramento Sheriff's Department again.

He is then suspected of committing several rapes and homicides in Northern California, striking fear in residents, many of whom slept with guns at the ready and kept dogs for protection.

Davis said one of the eeriest parts of the her encounter with the East Area Rapist was knowing that he was likely following her and her mother since he knew that she was home alone.

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The rapist would also ransack the homes and take small items, such as jewelry or cash. After a "violent encounter" with the suspect, they tried to flee, ending up in a private yard, where they were fatally shot, the sheriff's department said in February, appealing to the public for leads. Then a discarded DNA sample provided the confirmation they needed. Her life's work mission was to bring to justice the serial rapist and murderer she dubbed the Golden State Killer.

In 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the Golden State Killer's arrest and conviction.

The FBI describes him as a white male, close to 6 feet tall, with blond or light brown hair.

Authorities had long speculated the killer had some military or law enforcement training because of his proficiency with firearms and ability to elude capture for so long. The book was released in February, almost two year after McNamara had died - it was finished posthumously by an investigative journalist and a researcher hired by her husband, the comedian Patton Oswalt.

Oswalt said he ended the event with a thought about the killer: "He's running out of time".

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McNamara's #1 New York Times Best Seller I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer was published posthumously earlier this year, after her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt, enlisted journalist Billy Jensen and researcher Paul Haynes to help complete the book.


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