Police are blaming the so-called Golden State Killer, James DeAngelo, for 12 murders, 51 rapes, and more than 120 burglaries.

 

James DeAngelo, 71.

Sacramento police say they arrested suspect Joseph James DeAngelo, and he is being held as a suspect for four counts of murder – the 1978 deaths of Brian and Katie Maggiore in Sacramento and the 1980 killings of Charlene and Lyman Smith in Ventura County.

 

Brian and Katie Maggiore i

DNA led to DeAngelo’s arrest. He has been living in the Sacramento area and is a former police officer. He was fired from that job after he stole a hammer and dog pepper spray. Police are blaming the so-called Golden State Killer for 12 murders, 51 rapes, and more than 120 burglaries.

Mr. DeAngelo is being held on suspicion of four counts of murder – including the 1978 deaths of Brian and Katie Maggiore in Sacramento and the 1980 killings of Charlene and Lyman Smith in Ventura County.

Armed with a gun, the masked attacker terrorized communities by breaking into homes while single women or couples were sleeping. He sometimes tied up the man and piled dishes on his back, then raped the woman while threatening to kill them both if the dishes tumbled.

Prosecutors say additional charges are likely to follow.Police had been monitoring the suspect and used “discarded DNA” to match him to the crimes, according to Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones.

OUR FREE OPINION

It obviously is a good thing that this man has finally been arrested. However, it is troublesome that the victim’s family and friends have had to wait so long for some form of closure. DeAngelo has enjoyed the benefit of living a life in a suburb for decades. At least now he will spend the remainder of his days in prison- most likely solidarity confinement.

“Discarded DNA” normally refers to some item the defendant threw away- usually in his garbage receptacle. Police frequently seize items from such areas because a search warrant is not required. Search warrants are not required when evidence is seized from areas where the defendant does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy over. Similarly, a defendant may discard an item such as a paper cup or straw he was drinking from.  Once a defendant has been identified, the police can obtain a pristine sample of his or her DNA from a blood draw or swab. The latter would require a warrant or consent.

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