'I took the calls:' Alameda Co. DA was a rape crisis volunteer during Golden State Killer era

Sometimes the crime becomes personal.

For Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley, the pursuit and the capture of the alleged Golden State Killer this week struck a chord deep within.

"I was a person who took the calls," O'Malley recalled to when she was studying  at California State University Hayward and volunteering for the Central Contra Costa Rape Crisis Center. "I took some of the calls from some of these victims." 

So O'Malley was more than thrilled when prosecutors from across California announced that after 40 years Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, of Citrus Heights was charged with four deaths during a serial killing and raping spree that terrorized the state from 1976 to 1984. He is believed to be linked to a total of 12 homicides and 50 rapes during that time. DeAngelo, who has not spoken publicly since his arrest, is expected to be arraigned on 1978 murder charges in Sacramento County on Friday. 

Speaking on KTVU's Mornings on 2, O'Malley said she expected more charges to be forthcoming. "I expect charges to be forthcoming in Orange County, Santa Barbara County and quite possibly, Tulare County," she said.

O'Malley added that prosecutors in earnest began reviving the case two years ago, when the Sacramento County District Attorney gathered up all the stakeholders together. But the came really came together in the last six days with a positive DNA match, which hasn't fully been explained.

For O'Malley, whose district includes one related attack in Fremont, her work as a rape crisis volunteer is what propelled her to become a prosecutor devoted to helping victims of sexual attacks.

Interactive map: Follow the Golden State Killer's route

It's also why she is a a strong backer of SB 1449, a bill that would mandate sexual assault, or SART kits be processed faster Currently, state guidelines urge police agencies, with the victim’s consent, to submit the kits for crime-lab analysis within 20 days of collection, and process information like suspect DNA profiles to law-enforcement databases within 120 days. Her county has a significant backlog in untested rape kits.

A companion bill, AB 3118, authored by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, would compel a statewide audit by 2019 of police agencies, hospitals, crime labs and any other facility that handles or stores SART kits to get a definitive count of the backlog of untested kits in California, a number that currently only exists in estimates. 

Coincidentally on Wednesday -- the day DeAngelo was identified - was National DNA Day.

And for O'Malley, the timing couldn't be more perfect.

"If this case  does not prove that we should test ever rape kit," O'Malley said, "there is no other case that drives that home."

KTVU's Dave Clark and Gasia Mikaelean contributed to this report.