According to the Los Angeles Times, the Golden State Killer suspect, Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., is now facing 13 additional charges of kidnapping to commit robbery, in addition to the 13 counts of murder he was previously charged with when he was arrested in April.
Prosecutors announced DeAngelo’s latest charges during a news conference in Santa Ana on Tuesday, noting that he is expected to be tried in Sacramento County and is scheduled to be arraigned in the county’s Superior Court on Thursday.
According to prosecutors, nine of the kidnappings took place in Sacramento Country in between the fall of 1976 and 1977, while the other four occurred in Contra Costa County in October 1978 and June 1979.
Commenting on the overall case, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said, “We were looking for a needle in a haystack, and we found him. It is very fitting that this journey for justice that’s been sought for over 40 years ends in Sacramento.”
While Schubert claims that DeAngelo’s kidnappings were all sexually motivated, the statute of limitations for those rapes has long expired, leaving prosecutors unable to file rape charges. However, prosecutors can still present evidence pertaining to sexual assault throughout the trial. “Our theory will be that it was a motivation…to rob as well as sexually assault. Obviously, criminals can have multiple motives,” she said.
After avoiding legal consequences for over 40 years, DeAngelo, a former cop and veteran, was finally arrested at his Sacramento home in April when detectives uploaded the killer’s DNA to a genealogy website, which identified DeAngelo as their suspect.
“For decades, he evaded justice and devastated communities across California,” Diane Becton, the district attorney for Contra Costa County, said of DeAngelo. “Due to the severity of his crimes, his victims often faced tremendous trauma after so much time has passed. Thankfully we can now hold someone accountable for these crimes and seek justice for our victims.”
While prosecutors have not yet decided to seek out capital punishment, the 72-year-old suspect is eligible for the death penalty if he is convicted. “That process is quite a ways down the road,” Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten said.
After claiming that the 13 kidnapping charges from six different California counties “[reflect] the sheer criminal breadth, the geographic scope and the generational impact of this very significant case,” Totten went on to tell reporters, “We are unified, and we are committed to delivering justice to the victims of the Golden State Killer and their loved ones, who for far too long have had justice elude them.”