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DNA identifies James DeAngelo, former cop as Golden State serial killer

April 26, 2018  |  Posted by: Michael Falzarano
DNA identifies James DeAngelo, former cop as Golden State serial killer

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James DeAngelo, a former cop identified as Golden State serial killer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A man once sworn to protect the public from crime was accused Wednesday of living a double life terrorizing suburban neighborhoods at night, becoming one of California’s most feared serial killers and rapists in the 1970s and ’80s before leaving a cold trail that baffled investigators.

Former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested at his home Tuesday after DNA linked him to crimes attributed to the so-called Golden State Killer and he initially was charged with eight counts of murder and could face dozens more charges, authorities said.

The culprit also known as the East Area Rapist, among other names, is suspected of at least 12 slayings and 50 rapes in 10 counties from Northern to Southern California. The armed and masked prowler sneaked in through windows at night and surprised sleeping victims who ranged in age from 13 to 41.

When encountering a couple, he was known to tie up the man and pile dishes on his back. He threatened to kill both victims if he heard plates crash to the floor while he raped the woman. He then ransacked the house, taking souvenirs, notably coins and jewelry before fleeing on foot or bicycle.

A DNA match ties a former police officer to some of the crimes committed by a California serial killer behind at least 12 homicides and 45 rapes throughout the state in the 1970s and ’80s, police officials announced Wednesday. (April 25)

Despite an outpouring of thousands of tips over the years, DeAngelo’s name had not been on the radar of law enforcement before last week, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.

“We knew we were looking for a needle in a haystack, but we also knew that needle was there,” she said. “It was right here in Sacramento.”

A break in the case and the arrest came together in “light speed” during the past six days, Schubert said, though authorities refused to reveal what led to DeAngelo.

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