An ex-policeman in California charged with murder and kidnapping attributed to a serial predator dubbed the ‘Golden State Killer’ is expected to plead guilty in a deal that will spare him the death penalty, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday.
The office of Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, one of six prosecutors involved in the case against Joseph James DeAngelo, declined to confirm the report when reached by Reuters on Monday.
“We have a moral and ethical responsibility to consider any offer from the defense, given the massive scope of the case, the advanced age of many of the victims and witnesses, and our inherent obligations to the victims,” her office said in a statement.
DeAngelo was arrested in 2018, capping more than 40 years of investigation in a case that authorities said was finally solved by comparing crime scene DNA to information on genealogy websites.
DeAngelo was charged with 13 counts each of murder and kidnapping. Twelve murder counts accompany “special circumstance allegations” — such as rape of the victim — that make him eligible for capital punishment, prosecutors said.
The Times reported on Monday that multiple sources told the newspaper DeAngelo is expected to plead guilty in a Sacramento County courtroom on June 29 and that the plea will spare his life.
“It’s a step forward … but it’s not what I was hoping for,” Kris Pedretti, one of the rape victims, told the newspaper.
Authorities said DeAngelo, who was an officer in two small-town California police departments during the 1970s, was suspected of dozens of rapes and more than 120 burglaries in and around Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay area and Southern California.
In 2019, four of the district attorneys agreed to seek the death penalty if they won a conviction, putting them at odds with a statewide moratorium on capital punishment.