Thirteen years, nine nicknames, 183 victims of various crimes; this all equals one person. Joseph James DeAngelo Jr, best known as the Golden State Killer.
Born in Bath New York in November 1945, Joseph was the oldest of 4 children, and an Army brat. In 1959, Joseph was back stateside and living in California. It’s been reported that he had committed burglaries and tortured and killed animals during his teenage years.
Eventually, he finished high school and joined the US Navy. After his service, starting in 1968, Joseph earned a degree in police science, and later earned a degree in criminal justice. He then completed a 32 week police internship.
In 1973, Joseph met and married Sharon Marie Huddle. In 1980 they purchased a house in Citrus Heights, and she became an attorney in 1982. Having three daughters before they separated in 1991.
1973 to 1976, Joseph was a police officer in Exeter, CA. After being arrested for shoplifting he was fired from the police force. He had threatened to kill the chief of police and stalked his house. Joseph’s work history from the 1980’s is unknown, and starting in 1990, until his retirement, he worked as a truck mechanic.
- The Crimes:
- As the Visalia Ransacker (1973 – 1976) – It is believed during this time, that Joseph was responsible for 1 murder and around 120 burglaries. After his arrest in 2018, the statute of limitations had expired for the burglaries, but the murder charge had no expiration. He was charged for the first degree murder of Claude Snelling in 1975. Joseph plead guilty to this charge.
- As the East Area Rapist (1976 – 1979) – Having moved to Sacramento in 1976, his crimes moved from burglary to rape. He prowled the neighborhoods looking for single women who lived in one story homes. The women would need to be alone, or with children. Eventually this lead to his his preference of attacking couples.
- Restraining the men, and placing dishes on his back, stating that whoever was in the house would be murdered if he heard the dishes rattle. Joseph then took the woman into the other room where he raped her, repeatedly. During this time, he committed at least 50 rapes. There was a double murder as well, in 1978, Brian and Katie Maggiore, were shot after a confrontation. In June of 2020, Joseph entered a plea of guilty for these murders.
- As the Original Night Stalker (1979 – 1986) – Not to be confused with Richard Ramirez. This time, Joseph moved to southern California and began killing victims. The attacks lasted for several years, and only the first couple survived. There were a total of 7 attacks, with 10 victims.
Like other serial killers, Joseph toyed with investigators and his previous victims. The cases were not connected until 2001 when the Original Night Stalker was linked to the East Area Rapist due to similarities in his modus operandi.
In 2016 The FBI released further information related to the crimes, including new composite sketches. Eventually the use of genetic genealogy and searching on GEDmatch, investigators were able to identify distant relatives of their suspect. The investigators made about 25 family trees, and over a few months, they used clues like age, sex, and place of residence to rule out suspects, until only Joseph DeAngelo remained.
Finally in April of 2018, Joseph DeAngelo was arrested. Since the statute of limitations expired on the rapes and burglaries, he was charged with 13 counts of murder and 13 counts of kidnapping. In August of 2020, a plea agreement was reached where Joseph would plead guilty to all counts and have the death penalty removed from the table. He received multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole.
After his arrest in 2018 Joseph’s wife, Sharon, filed for divorce. Joseph remains incarcerated in protective custody in California State Prison, Corcoran.
Be careful, make good choices, stay safe