Plea deal possible for Joseph DeAngelo, who has been charged in four Goleta murders
Alleged Golden State Killer Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, will appear for a court hearing this afternoon at the Sacramento State University Union Ballroom.
Those involved in the case expect Mr. DeAngelo will plead guilty to multiple murders and rapes from the 1970s and 1980s, including four murder charges for double slayings in Goleta in 1979 and 1981.
While the terms of the deal are not yet public, Jennifer Carole, the daughter of Golden State Killer victim Lyman Smith, said Mr. DeAngelo may admit to up to 80 criminal counts, including counts related to the 1975 death of Claud Snelling and 1978 deaths of Brian and Katie Maggiore.
“Those are, to me, incredible victories because there were not ballistics that could tie them to DeAngelo, so if he’s going to own those murders that’s huge,” Ms. Carole said on a June 15 episode of her Golden State Killer podcast “The Lawyer’s Daughter.”
On March 13, 1980, Santa Paula attorney Lyman Smith and his wife Charlene Smith were found dead in their Ventura home. Investigators determined Mrs. Smith had been raped. Both had been beaten with a club-type weapon.
Ms. Carole said newly discovered Golden State Killer rape victims are still coming forward.
She said prosecutors told her Mr. DeAngelo will admit to the charges today in Sacramento County Superior Court. Victims and their family members will have an opportunity to make statements to the court Aug. 14.
“In a context where we’re talking about a world with no justice, no peace, I hear that all the time, that goes through my head a lot. It’s a big one for me because I feel like I grew up with this sense of what justice was. I knew it wasn’t black and white. I knew it wasn’t always fair. I knew that it’s capricious and it’s influenced by politics and it’s based on human beings and it has all kinds of flavors and shapes and yet I guess I still thought it was an ideal. I think I idealized it a little bit,” Ms. Carole said.
She said she didn’t know what justice should look like for Mr. DeAngelo, but was frustrated that he would not face his crimes at trial.
“I know it’s good for all the victims for whom he was not going to plead guilty. They will now get to hear that. That’s so important. I can’t get past how important it is, but it doesn’t feel like we’ve had justice. When I think about this God-awful man and him kind of getting it to go his way again, I mean honestly, I guess that’s how it feels for me. It just broke his way again,” Ms. Carole said.
“He got to live a life. I guess that’s just it, he got to live his life a really… horrible, evil, unforgiving, relentless life of hurting people. That was what his whole life was dedicated to,” Ms. Carole said.
The Golden State Killer, also known as the Original Night Stalker and East Area Rapist, terrorized communities throughout California during his active period.
Dr. Robert Offerman, 44, and Alexandria Manning, 35, were killed in a Goleta condominium on Dec. 30, 1979.
Less than two years later on July 26, 1981, Cheri Domingo, 35, and Gregory Sanchez, 27, were killed while house-sitting a residence in the 400 block of Toltec Way in Goleta.
The Golden State Killer was also suspected of an attempted double homicide on Queen Ann Lane in 1979. Mr. DeAngelo was never charged in that case.
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley will appear at Mr. DeAngelo’s hearing today along with district attorneys from Sacramento, Contra Costa, Orange, Tulare and Ventura counties.
Sacramento County Superior Court will stream the hearing at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNMbqmTbdctFGFe_7GJDYQQ/. The hearing is set to begin at 3 p.m. The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office will stream a post-hearing press conference at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZaYXTtmizg&feature=youtu.be.