SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Joseph James DeAngelo, the suspected Golden State Killer, has been charged with four more counts of first-degree murder, stemming from two incidents in Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara District Attorney Joyce Dudley said Thursday.
The killings in Santa Barbara happened in 1979 and 1981, Dudley said. Each murder charge comes with special circumstances and carries a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death sentence.READ MORE: Gov. Newsom: Feds Approve Medicaid Funding for Expanded Low-Income Student COVID Testing
The former police officer was arrested at his home earlier this month after DNA linked him to crimes attributed to the so-called Golden State Killer and he initially was charged with eight counts of murder and could face dozens more charges, authorities said.
The culprit also known as the East Area Rapist, among other names, is suspected of at least 12 slayings and 50 rapes in 10 counties from Northern to Southern California. The armed and masked prowler sneaked in through windows at night and surprised sleeping victims who ranged in age from 13 to 41.
When encountering a couple, he was known to tie up the man and pile dishes on his back. He threatened to kill both victims if he heard plates crash to the floor while he raped the woman. He then ransacked the house, taking souvenirs, notably coins and jewelry before fleeing on foot or bicycle.
Despite an outpouring of thousands of tips over the years, DeAngelo’s name had not been on the radar of law enforcement before last week, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.
“We knew we were looking for a needle in a haystack, but we also knew that needle was there,” she said. “It was right here in Sacramento.”READ MORE: South Bay BART Extension Funding Dropped From $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Package
A break in the case and the arrest came together in “light speed” during the past six days, Schubert said, though authorities refused to reveal what led to DeAngelo.
Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones said detectives with “dogged determination” were able to get a sample of DNA from something DeAngelo discarded, though he wouldn’t say what the item was. The genetic material was not a match, but there were enough similarities for investigators to return for more and they said they were able to get a conclusive match.
After watching DeAngelo for several days, deputies took him by surprise Tuesday.
“It looked as though he might have been searching his mind to execute a particular plan he may have had,” but never had time to act, Jones said.
DeAngelo was arrested on suspicion of committing double-killings in Sacramento and Ventura counties and later charged with four counts of murder in Orange County, officials said.
Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten said that before prosecutors decide whether to seek the death penalty, there will be a “solemn and formal death review process that typically takes many months before a decision is made.”MORE NEWS: San Mateo Deputies Investigating Fatal Unincorporated Redwood City Shooting
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