Golden State Killer, Joseph DeAngelo, sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole

Saturday, August 22, 2020
Golden State Killer sentenced to life in prison without parole
Joseph James DeAngelo,who became known as the Golden State Killer, told victims Friday he was "truly sorry" before he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A case that spanned the state and affected countless lives came to a dramatic conclusion in Sacramento on Friday.

Convicted serial murderer and rapist Joseph James DeAngelo, also known as the Golden State Killer, is finally facing the consequences for his many violent acts, decades after they first started.

At his sentencing hearing Friday, prosecutors say the 74-year-old will spend the rest of his days in a high security state prison.

"After today's sentencing, Mr. DeAngelo will never threaten our victims again," said Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton. "He will never harm another soul."

During the hearing, Joseph DeAngelo's defense attorneys made a shocking announcement: Their client, one of the most infamous serial killers in modern history, would like to say something to his victims.

"I've listened (to) all your statements," DeAngelo said. "Each one of them. And I'm truly sorry to everyone I've hurt. Thank you, your honor."

A Sacramento County judge then read DeAngelo his punishment - eleven consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

RELATED: Golden State Killer victims describe pain, perseverance ahead of Friday sentencing

In late June, DeAngelo pleaded guilty to thirteen counts of kidnapping to commit rape, and thirteen murders, including the killing of Claude Snelling in Visalia almost 45 years ago.

"Though these despicable horrors began in Tulare County, we will not be defined by evil," Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said. "Instead, our entire community stands silently alongside the Snelling, the Hupp, the McGowen families and all families here today and families across this state."

Genetic Genealogy eventually cracked the case.

"As science and technology evolve, the space for evil like this to operate in gets smaller and smaller," Ward added. "Simply put, the DNA will never forget."

DeAngelo was arrested at his Sacramento-area home in the spring of 2018, and charged with thirteen murders and thirteen counts of kidnapping to commit robbery.

"As he was destroying your lives, he got to be on his boat, blow out birthday candles, hold his granddaughter," Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said. "But all the time in the back of his mind, he knew. He knew we would get him."

"These rapes and these murders in the words of our victims have cut across families, friends, generations and entire communities," said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.

In 1975, DeAngelo was an Exeter Police officer by day and the Visalia Ransacker by night.

That fall, he tried to kidnap a then 16-year-old Elizabeth Hupp and shot and killed her father, College of the Sequoias Journalism Professor Claude Snelling.

"He saved my life and I know he would have done that no matter what was out there," Hupp said. "I'll be forever grateful. He was a wonderful dad."

RELATED: Daughter of Golden State Killer's first murder victim shares heartbreaking story

Elizabeth Hupp was just 16 years old when her life changed forever and her father's life was taken away by Joseph DeAngelo.

Hupp says she was grateful for the chance to honor her father in court on Thursday.

"It's been weighing on me so heavy," Hupp said. "To know it's finally done, he's sentenced, he'll spend the rest of his life in prison, will never get out and hurt another person, means so much to me."

Contrary to what he portrays in the courtroom, prosecutors say DeAngelo is not a feeble old man.

After Friday's hearing, they released jail cell video, showing him moving around with ease, even exercising.

"Until the day you leave this earth, this incredible team - a team that has worked for decades to find you, to arrest you, prosecute you, to convict you, will not just promise you, but will ensure that you will never succeed at deceiving or manipulating the department of corrections and rehabilitation into believing that you are some feeble, inept old man who somehow deserves better housing, treatment, or privilege," Schubert told DeAngelo.

Prosecutors say they're unsure when DeAngelo will be transferred from the Sacramento County Jail to a state prison, as the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has suspended inmate intake from county jails due to COVID-19.