A retired cop on Monday pleaded guilty to the first of more than a dozen charges in the notorious “Golden State Killer” case — a series of murders, rapes and break-ins that terrorized Californians in the 1970s and 80s.
Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, appeared before a judge Monday morning in a makeshift courtroom set up in a Sacramento State University ballroom to allow for social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of a plea deal reached between DeAngelo and prosecutors from six counties, he will be spared from the death penalty — instead likely receiving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 13 murders and 13 charges of kidnapping.
The FBI has said DeAngelo — who was an officer in two small-town police departments during the 1970s — was behind 45 rapes and more than 120 burglaries in and around Sacramento, the eastern San Francisco Bay area and Southern California.
He was known for creeping into couples’ homes, tying them up and raping the woman, and in some cases, killing them both.
But for more than four decades, the serial predator eluded authorities as he crisscrossed the state.
He was first known by monikers such as the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker and the Diamond Knot Killer.
He was later dubbed the Golden State Killer by the late writer Michelle McNamara, who brought renewed interest to the case in the best-selling book, “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.”
It took the help of new DNA technology for detectives to finally secure the arrest of DeAngelo in 2018.
DeAngelo, who is currently detained at the Sacramento County Jail, is expected to face sentencing in August that could last days as dozens of victims are expected to speak.
With Post wires
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