MYSTERY WIRE (SACRAMENTO, Calif. – AP & KTXL) —
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A former California police officer dubbed the Golden State Killer told victims Friday hew was “truly sorry” before he was sentenced to multiple life prison sentences for a decade-long string of rapes and murders that terrorized a wide swath of the state.
Joseph James DeAngelo, 74, pleaded guilty in June to 13 murders and 13 rape-related charges under a plea deal that avoided a possible death sentence.
The punishment imposed by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman means DeAngelo will die in prison for the crimes committed between 1975 and 1986.
Before sentencing, DeAngelo rose from a wheelchair, took off his mask and said to the court: “I listened to all your statements, each one of them, and I’m truly sorry for everyone I’ve hurt.”
DeAngelo also publicly admitted dozens more sexual assaults for which the statute of limitations had expired. Prosecutors called the scale of the violence “simply staggering,” encompassing 87 victims at 53 crime scenes spanning 11 California counties.
So many were his victims that Bowman sentenced DeAngelo in a university ballroom large enough to hold the survivors and their families, after an extraordinary three days of hearings in which they told in often heart-rending detail how he had upended their lives.
DeAngelo sat silently through those hearings, expressionless in a wheelchair that prosecutors contended is a prop to hide his still vigorous health.
He eluded capture for four decades until investigators used a new form of DNA tracking to unmask and arrest him in 2018.
Prosecutors initially sought the death penalty, but settled for a life term given California’s moratorium on executions, the coronavirus pandemic, and the advancing age of DeAngelo, his victims, and witnesses they needed to make their case.
Bowman sentenced DeAngelo under a plea deal that called for him to be sentenced to 11 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole, plus 15 life terms with the possibility of parole and eight years for other enhancements.
It took nearly 40 years before Debbi Domingo McMullan got the chance to stand in front of her mother’s killer and speak her mind.
“I am speaking here today, not directly to DeAngelo or or for his benefit,” she said. “I am here today to have on the record the repercussions his actions have had on my life.”
Domingo McMullan was among the many family members left behind, giving their account on how Joseph DeAngelo’s brutal crimes impacted their lives.
DeAngelo, known as the Golden State Killer and East Area Rapist, appeared out of it, closing his eyes for many parts of the three days of victims’ statements.
“I tend to believe that he is listening intently. I believe that this demeanor that he puts out is very intentional. I believe he takes in every detail,” Domingo McMullan said.
Domingo McMullan was 15 when her mother, Cheri Domingo, and her mother’s boyfriend, Greg Sanchez, were murdered by DeAngelo.
“I miss her so much and I know that she knows that I loved her,” Domingo McMullan said. “Mom and Greg were two remarkable, young, vibrant people who were denied the opportunity to even be breathing today.”
Domingo McMullan described years of hardship before getting on a straight path leading a prosperous life. She said a key motivating factor to her achieving wellness was her pursuit of justice.
“To have the pursuit of justice for her mom as a motivating, driving factor in how I lived my life, that’s all just been this culmination,” she said. “Today is a pretty great day.”