SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Survivors lashed out at the man responsible for a terrorizing series of rapes and murders across California on Tuesday, days before he will be formally sentenced this week to life in prison without parole in Sacramento.
"I was hit several times on the head before being tied up, gagged and blindfolded," said a survivor who identified only as Peggy.
Patricia Cosper, who was 7 when her mother was raped by Joseph DeAngelo, said, "He admitted that he caused all this suffering and misery to so many victims over the past 40-plus years. He truly is an evil monster, with no soul."
She sang a song, saying, "Bye bye, Joe, bye bye. Bye bye Joe, don't cry," and flipped him off.
DeAngelo listened impassively during the victim impact statements, which will also be given Wednesday and Thursday in Sacramento County Superior Court.
Then, on Friday, Judge Michael Bowman is set to sentence DeAngelo to numerous life terms. That hearing will be held in a ballroom at Sacramento State University - which DeAngelo once attended – to accommodate everyone who wants to attend, in accordance with social-distancing guidelines because of the pandemic.
The crimes he committed from 1975 to 1986 were attributed to a calculating criminal who was given various nicknames, including the Visalia Ransacker, the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker and the Golden State Killer.
In the Bay Area, he raped and confronted victims in Fremont, Concord, Danville, San Ramon, Walnut Creek and San Jose.
His modus operandi was calculating as it was terrifying – he would break into victims’ homes as they slept, confront them in a raspy voice while wearing a mask and attacking women after forcing them to tie up their husbands, if they were married. He’d steal things from their homes to keep as mementos.
“Each time he escaped, slipping away silently into the night, leaving communities terrified for years,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo. “For over 40 years, the biggest question remained unanswered: who was the serial killer and rapist?”
The elusive predator was arrested in 2018, thanks to a novel procedure known as genetic genealogy, in which investigators identify culprits with DNA and a painstaking recreation of their family tree. The match was confirmed by a secret pickup of his trash with an empty garbage truck that pulled up to his home in Rancho Cordova (Sacramento County).
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At a hearing at the Sacramento State ballroom in June, DeAngelo, 74, pleaded guilty to 13 murders and 13 kidnappings in Tulare, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Orange counties. He also admitted to dozens of rapes, which were too old to be prosecuted. As part of deal with prosecutors across the state, the former police officer in Exeter and Auburn was spared the death penalty.
In court, DeAngelo has appeared frail, his mouth agape, speaking haltingly when asked to address the court. That’s all an act, according to Sacramento County prosecutors, citing video from his jail cell that they said “indicate an individual who is healthy and physically active.”
Authorities have previously that during their surveillance of him, DeAngelo was moving heavy objects at his home and rode at high speed on his motorcycle on the freeway.
This story was reported from Oakland, Calif.