Golden State Killer will die behind bars for murdering 13 and raping dozens more

The Golden State Killer has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for a decade-long spree of rape and murder which terrorized much of California in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Joseph James DeAngelo, 74, pleaded guilty in June to 13 murders and 13 rape-related charges under a plea deal that avoided a possible death sentence.

The former cop also publicly admitted dozens more sexual assaults for which the statute of limitations had expired. Prosecutors called the scale of the violence ‘simply staggering’, encompassing 87 victims at 53 crime scenes spanning 11 counties.

There were so many victims that the sentencing hearing had to be moved to a university ballroom so that relatives and survivors could attend and tell the judge how their lives had been ruined by the predator.

DeAngelo sat silently through three days of heart-rending hearings, expressionless in a wheelchair that prosecutors contended is a prop to hide his still vigorous health.

But the aging serial killer briefly rose from the chair before he was sentenced to tell the court he was ‘truly sorry’.

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

He eluded capture for four decades until investigators used a new form of DNA tracking to unmask and arrest him in 2018.

Prosecutors initially sought the death penalty, but settled for a life term given California’s moratorium on executions, the coronavirus pandemic, and the advancing age of DeAngelo, his victims, and witnesses they needed to make their case.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman sentenced DeAngelo under a plea deal that called for him to be sentenced to 11 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole, plus 15 life terms with the possibility of parole and eight years for other enhancements.

The sentence means the killer will die behind bars.

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