Golden State Killer Suspect Arrested 04/26 06:08
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Joseph DeAngelo's six-year career as a cop came
swiftly to an end after being busted for shoplifting a can of dog repellant and
a hammer from a Pay N' Save store in a Sacramento suburb in 1979.
Authorities are now wondering if the items he snatched were intended as
tools for the sinister rash of crimes he's suspected of carrying out.
DeAngelo, 72, was accused Wednesday of being the Golden State Killer who
terrorized suburban neighborhoods in a spate of brutal rapes and slayings in
the 1970s and '80s before leaving a cold trail that baffled investigators for
He was charged with eight counts of murder in three counties after being
linked to the crimes through his DNA. Authorities said he was responsible for a
dozen slayings and some 50 rapes and that other charges could be filed.
Most of the crimes, predominantly sex assaults but also two slayings,
occurred in the three years he was an Auburn police officer in the Sierra
foothills outside Sacramento.
The attacks on sleeping women --- and sometimes their partners --- in middle
and upper-middle-class subdivisions east of the state Capitol shattered an
innocence where people didn't lock their doors and children rode bicycles to
school and played outside until dark.
Sales of locks surged. Lights burned all night. There was even talk of
vigilantes with CB radios patrolling streets to nab the masked, armed man who
became known as the East Area Rapist.
"It all changed," said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie
Schubert, who was 12 at the time of the crimes. "The memories are very vivid.
You can ask anyone who grew up here. Everyone has a story."
Schubert and law enforcement officers refocused their attention on the case
two years ago on the 40th anniversary of the first known attack.
But until a week ago, DeAngelo , who lived in a neatly kept home in the
Citrus Heights suburb where many of the attacks went down and where he was
caught stealing, was not in their sights.
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 pointed
Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones said detectives with "dogged determination"
were able to get a sample of DNA from something DeAngelo discarded, though he
wouldn't say what the item was. The genetic material was not a match, but there
were enough similarities that investigators got a second sample, which proved
"We knew we were looking for a needle in a haystack, but we also knew that
needle was there," Schubert said.
In May 1977, as the frequent attacks gained national attention, the rapist
told a victim he would kill two people if he saw stories about her attack,
according to an Associated Press article at the time.
Some eight months later after another nine assaults, he made good on that
promise, authorities said.
Brian and Katie Maggiore were fatally shot in Rancho Cordova on Feb. 2, 1978
while walking their dog.
The number of attacks recorded by police dropped precipitously after he was
fired from the police department. But they intensified in violence and moved to
Nine killings occurred between October 1979 and August 1981. After a rape
and killing in Orange County five years later, the culprit appeared to have
Although it's unusual for serial killers to stop, Jones said there's no
evidence DeAngelo committed any crimes after 1986.
"We have no indication of any crimes with a similar or at least a close
enough link to his MO and other things that he's done in the past to link him
to anything from '86 on," Jones said. "We just have nothing at this point."
DeAngelo had one other minor brush with the law Jones wouldn't reveal in
addition to the shoplifting incident.
The graduate of nearby Folsom High School and U.S. Navy veteran who served
during the Vietnam War seemed to settle into his own suburban existence in the
modest three-bedroom home on Canyon Oak Drive.
For 27 years, he worked in a cavernous Save Mart Supermarkets distribution
warehouse in Roseville, a Sacramento suburb, before retiring last year, company
spokeswoman Victoria Castro said.
"None of his actions in the workplace would have led us to suspect any
connection to crimes being attributed to him," she said in a statement.
DeAngelo built remote-controlled model airplanes and took meticulous care of
his house and manicured lawn, neighbors said.
Natalia Bedes-Correnti said DeAngelo appeared to be a "nice old grandpa" who
lived with an adult daughter and granddaughter. But he also had penchant for
cussing loudly when he was frustrated.
"He liked the F word a lot," Bedes-Correnti said.
Deputies kept watch on the house and his comings and goings for several days
and took him by surprise Tuesday afternoon as he walked outside.
As he was being arrested, he told officers he had a roast in the oven. They
said they would take care of it.