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Golden State Killer sentenced to life in prison

The Golden State Killer was ordered to spend the rest of his life behind bars, as a Sacramento Superior Court judge on Friday morning sentenced Joseph DeAngelo to 11 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

More than four decades after DeAngelo, a former police officer, first began a dozen year crime spree that would cement his status as one of the worst serial killers in state history, Friday’s hearing brought the lengthy saga of the Golden State Killer to an end.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman noted that he was giving DeAngelo the maximum sentence possible, saying he “deserves no mercy.”

“I’ve listened the last three days to the people you terrorized,” Bowman told DeAngelo. “I was moved by their courage, their grace, their strength – all qualities you lack.”

“I could not help but wonder, what are you thinking?” the judge added. “Are you capable of understanding the pain and anguish you have caused.”

DeAngelo has admitted to carrying out 13 murders and dozens of rapes in the 1970s and 1980s. During a series of lengthy court hearings, prosecutors have described, in minute detail, how DeAngelo broke into homes in the dead of night, then assaulted, threatened and tied up his victims before sexually assaulting and sometimes killing them or their loved ones.

“I’ve listened to all of your statements, each one of them, and I’m really sorry to everyone I’ve hurt,” DeAngelo said during a brief, halting statement prior to his sentencing.

During the sentencing hearing, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer noted that the Golden State Killer eluded authorities for decades, as his victims suffered.

“As he was destroying lives, he got to be on his boat, blow out birthday candles, hold his granddaughter,” Spitzer said. “But all that time, in the back of his mind, he knew, he knew, we would get him.”

Santa Barbara District Attorney Joyce Dudley during Friday’s said DeAngelo was driven to inflict as much pain as possible.

“It wasn’t enough for him to rape or beat or shoot his victims,” Dudley said. “He wanted to take inflicting human pain to the highest level possible. He often ensured their loved ones saw or heard his victims being tortured or killed.”

Diane Howard, an attorney representing DeAngelo, said that she hoped that DeAngelo admitting to his crimes “provided some peace to the survivors and their loved ones.”

“Nothing we can say can lessen the seriousness of Mr. DeAngelo’s actions,” Howard said. “Nothing we can say can take away the pain of the survivors. Nothing can bring back the murder victims.”

DeAngelo, now 74, earlier this year agreed to a plea deal that spared him the death penalty, but guaranteed him a life behind bars.Prosecutors explained that the deal allowed the victims and their family members, many of whom are now elderly, to see DeAngelo admit to his crimes and to confront him in court.

During a series of hearings this week, dozens of victims and surviving family members described the lasting impact of DeAngelo’s crimes, and the horror that crept through the communities he targeted.

The crimes began with a series of burglaries and rapes in the Sacramento area, but escalated to murders as DeAngelo moved his focus to the Central Valley, the Bay Area and, finally, to Southern California.

It wasn’t until 2001 that authorities realized the same person had carried out all the crimes.

A DNA match from a genealogical website pointed investigators to DeAngelo, who had spent years living in a quiet Sacramento suburb.

Source: Orange County Register

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