SACRAMENTO — Detectives cracked the case of one of Californias most notorious criminals after detectives pulled DNA samples from Joseph James DeAngelos car door in a Hobby Lobby parking lot and from a used tissue found inside the trash can the 72-year-old wheeled to his curb earlier this year, according to court records unsealed Friday, June 1 by a judge.
Joseph James DeAngelo stands in a Sacramento, Calif., jail court on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, as a judge weighed how much information to release about the arrest of the former police officer accused of being the Golden State Killer. He is suspected in at least a dozen killings and roughly 50 rapes in the 1970s and 80s. (Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP, Pool)
This FBI wanted poster obtained April 25, 2018 shows drawings of a suspect known as the “Golden State Killer”. A notorious decades-old mystery over the identity of the “Golden State Killer,” believed to have carried out dozens of rapes and multiple murders in California in the 1970s and 1980s, may finally be solved: a suspect has reportedly been arrested. Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, is being held in the Sacramento County jail on two counts of murder, the Sacramento Bee reported on April 25, 2018.According to local television stations, DeAngelo was once a policeman. The Golden State Killer, also known as the “East Area Rapist” and “Original Nightstalker,” is suspected of carrying out at least 12 murders and 45 rapes in California between 1976 and 1986, according to the FBI. (HANDOUT/AFP/Getty Images)
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Between 1976 and 1986, the violent and elusive individual known as the East Area Rapist and later as the Original Night Stalker and the Golden State Killer, committed 12 homicides, 45 rapes, and more than 120 residential burglaries in multiple California communities. Shown here is evidence at the scene of one of the East Area Rapists attacks. (Photo courtesy FBI)
Between 1976 and 1986, the violent and elusive individual known as the East Area Rapist and later as the Original Night Stalker and the Golden State Killer, committed 12 homicides, 45 rapes, and more than 120 residential burglaries in multiple California communities. He often wore ski masks like the ones shown here in evidence at the Sacramento County Sheriffs Department. (Photo courtesy FBI)
Between 1976 and 1986, the violent and elusive individual known as the East Area Rapist and later as the Original Night Stalker and the Golden State Killer, committed 12 homicides, 45 rapes, and more than 120 residential burglaries in multiple California communities. Among the evidence collected in the cold case are fingerprints lifted from crime scenes, shoe treads, and DNA. Although there were no tests for DNA matching at the time of the crimes, investigators can now use that technology to rule out suspects and to verify the killers identity. (Photo courtesy FBI)
Melanie Barbeau holds a photo of Cheri Domingo and her boyfriend Gregory Sanchez, who were killed in 1981, as she sits in the courtroom during the arraignment of Joseph James DeAngelo, the suspected “Golden State Killer” on April 27, 2018 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Bruce Harrington, whose brother and sister-in-law were allegedly killed in Dana Point, California by the East Area Rapist, speaks during a news conference on April 25, 2018 in Sacramento, California. Sacramento district attorney Anne Marie Schubert was joined by law enforcement officials from across California to announce the arrest of 72 year-old Joseph James DeAngelo who is believed to be the the East Area Rapist, also known as the Golden State Killer. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Joseph James DeAngelo stands with his attorney Joe Cress in a Sacramento, Calif. jail court on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, as a judge weighed how much information to release about the arrest of the former police officer accused of being the Golden State Killer. He is suspected in at least a dozen killings and roughly 50 rapes in the 1970s and 80s. (Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP, Pool)
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Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet unsealed nearly 200 pages of court records Friday afternoon from the file of the man suspected of being the Golden State Killer, providing glimpses into a vast crime rampage investigators believe the grandfather unleashed across California during the 1970s and 80s.
Though heavily redacted, the records tell the story of how police tied hundreds of crimes — often sexually motivated — across the state to the notorious serial killer, rapist, and burglar before ultimately identifying DeAngelo as a suspect through DNA. They include details of crime sprees across California — burglaries in Southern California committed by the “Visalia Ransacker”; a series of sexual assaults in Contra Costa County; and killings in Santa Barbara, Sacramento and Orange counties.
The East Area Rapist, another moniker linked to DeAngelo, is linked to a dozen Bay Area sexual assaults in Contra Costa, Alameda and Santa Clara counties, but the new records
“Excuse me, Im trespassing,” DeAngelo would mutter after breaking into victims homes, according to investigators. Authorities tied some of the crimes through DNA and others through similar behavior in the perpetrator. The documents say that the East Area Rapist would make lewd calls or call and hang up in order to gain intelligence on his victims, writing that the calls were a “unique indicator” that the rapist was targeting a victim.
The search warrant probable cause records list nine pages of “trophies” from victims detectives believe DeAngelo may have kept, including wedding rings, handbags, a poker chip, clothes, silver dollars and other items stolen during the crime sprees.
The highly anticipated unsealing of records came after media companies, including the Bay Area News Group, filed a motion to unseal the records and Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet spent this week going line by line through the records to determine what should be blacked out before releasing the documents.
Sweet read his decision in court on Friday, saying he kept some details of other crimes alleged to have been committed by DeAngelo sealed because “wholesale public dissemination at this time may result in inaccurate or inadmissible information” reaching potential jurors.
“This court recognized a qualified First Amendment right to recognize public records and documents…However, the court also has a duty to protect the right of the accused to a fair trial,” Sweet said.
Sweet said he would keep under seal portions of the warrants that speculate how DeAngelo may have committed certain other crimes that he has not been charged for but investigators believe he may be responsible for. Some prosecutors have already announced some sexual assaults alleged to have been committed by DeAngelo may not be charged due to expired statute of limitations. The judge also ruled that the list of property seized from DeAngelos Citrus Heights home would remain sealed.
DeAngelo was identified through DNA last month as the man who committed at least 13 homicides, more than 50 rapes and hundreds of sexually motivated burglaries, prowling events and hang up/lewd phone calls throughout California in the 1970s and 80s, according to the records. Last month, authorities searched the home for evidence.
The search warrant, written by Sacramento Sheriff Detective Robert Peters, asked to seize trace evidence of blood, skin and other physical evidence of potential victims, firearms, ammunition, bindings such as rope or shoelaces, computers or other electronic devices, stolen items taken from victims of East Area Rapist, locked safes, journals or diaries during the years of the crimes. It also asked to search his underwear for weapons, collect DNA from him and photograph his penis.
Among the crimes linked to DeAngelo was a February 1977 nonfatal shooting of an 18-year-old man, whose name is redacted. The man was shot in the abdomen while attempting to follow a prowler whod been seen in a backyard. The details appear to correlate to an incident on Ripon Court in Sacramento.
DeAngelo is due to appear in court July 12 at 1:35 p.m., again before Sweet.
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