Audio Snippet from Vox's Today, Explained Podcast. In this clip, Aja Romano breaks down the Golden State Killer's origins, and how after nearly 50 years, his campaign of terror finally ended.
Publish Date: Jan 04, 2021
Okay, here we go. Asia Romano has been writing about the Golden State Killer for box in 1974 a man who would go on to terrorize most of California began a Siris of regular break ins where he would essentially go through people's houses and rifle through their things and take small Mementos from their houses. He became known as the Visalia ransack er, yeah, What came next started in 1976. A suspect who would go on to become known as the East Area rapist began assaulting people in their homes. He was incredibly detailed. He would spend weeks and even months scoping out his victims, neighborhoods, even detail ing things like the drainage systems nearby places that he could escape. While he was doing this, he would also call his victims. Sometimes he would just breathe heavily into the phone booth. Sometimes he would tell them exactly what he wanted to do them. Sometimes he would say, I'm going to kill you. Burning Yeah, E 0. 40 eight hours did a documentary on the Golden State Killer, and they talked to Larry Crompton, who was a detective for the County Sheriff Department. He would go in the house when the people weren't there and set that house up and he would leave a window unlocked or a door unlocked so that he could go in, he would come for, even if you weren't home alone. Yes. If you were with a partner, he would bind you both, usually with shoe laces. He would blindfold the victims, and after tying them, he would take a towel and tear it up and use that for a blindfold. And we actually have a lot of detail from survivors who have come forward and talk about this with the FBI blindfolded, gagged, hands tied, legs tied. And then, you know, pulled me up like this because I was on my stomach. I can put me back in bed and said, If you move, I'm gonna kill you. He would cut off your circulation and he would leave your partner there while he assaulted you. During the assault, he would frequently cry. He would often pretend to have met the victim at a previous event, based on photos that he gathered from around the house. So if you left up a photo of yourself attending prom during the middle of his assault. He might say, I met you at the prom and I wanted you then and then he would leave without a trace. And he did this over and over and over and over and over. For almost a decade between 1974 and 1986 the suspect committed 12 murders that we know of at least 50 sexual assaults and at least 100 break ins and robberies. He became known as the Azalea ransack er, the East Area rapist, the original night soccer and the diamond not killer, among other nicknames. It wasn't until 2011, when DNA evidence taken from an original Nightstalker crime scene and an East Area rapist crime scene we're positively matched, and police were able to confirm that the killer and the rapists were one in the same. And it wasn't until 2013 that all of these different names and all of these different crimes in all of these different parts of California became unified Under one new name, the Golden State Killer Law enforcement, spearheaded by the Sacramento District Attorney's Office, began Thio use ancestry websites that have compiled public DNA profiles based on people who have submitted their own DNA samples to the websites, began looking at one website in particular called G D Match, to see if they could pair the East Area rapist and a DNA sample that they had from one of the original Nightstalker cases to an existing DNA profile on one of these websites on And they looked and they looked and they looked on. Then, on Thursday, April 19th, 2018, they thought they found a guy. His name is Joseph James DeAngelo, and he had been living in Citrus Heights A, which is one of the areas where multiple attacks of the East Area rapist took place in the seventies. He'd been living there the entire time. Police immediately put him under surveillance, and by Friday they had obtained a discarded DNA sample. Joseph James DeAngelo had probably thrown something out in the trash. Could have been straw drink, cotton swab anything and law enforcement surveilling. The house collected it, and they had a match. Joseph James DeAngelo had lived in Sacramento for most of his life. He had gone to school in the area between 1973 and 1979 when the most active period of his crimes took place. Joseph James DeAngelo worked as a police officer in 1979. He was, in fact, fired from his police officer position because he was caught shoplifting, dog repellent and a hammer. You might ask, Why would anyone want to shoplift something like a hammer? A dog repellent? Well, if you're going to use it for something very specific, you don't want that receipt to be in your record. When he was arrested for shoplifting in 1979 he face trial but immediately pled no contest. You might say that he was eager to let that incident die quickly before authorities could look further. Joseph James DeAngelo also served in the Navy in Vietnam, which added fuel to the longstanding belief that he had had some sort of military training and that he had had some sort of marine training to tie the intricate knots that he tied. Recently, one of his daughters moved into the house along with a granddaughter. Authorities have said that family members are cooperating with police and that family members had no idea their father and grandfather was the Golden State killer. DNA evidence isn't 1000% accurate, but in this case, we have very specific reasons for believing that all of these cases are connected. We have DNA matches in several of the original Nightstalker cases on. We also have DNA evidence. In multiple instances of the East Area rapist cases, those DNA samples have been matched together, and because they have multiple DNA samples obtained from multiple cases, it's very, very, very unlikely that police have targeted the wrong person. Yeah.