Neighbors were shocked that the accused killer lived in their midst for decades.
The accused Golden State serial killer was a monster hiding in plain sight, police say.
Stunned neighbors in the quiet Sacramento neighborhood expressed shock that Joseph James DeAngelo lived in their midst until his arrest Wednesday.
"He could have hopped my fence any time and something could have happened to my family," neighbor Beth Walsh told Inside Edition.
"It just completely shocked me," neighbor Kate Alexander added. "It took my breath away."
One resident claimed DeAngelo once threatened a neighbor with "a load of death" in a dispute over a barking dog.
DeAngelo worked as a mechanic for 27 years at the Save Mart supermarket distribution center outside Sacramento.
A company spokesperson said "none of his actions in the workplace would have lead them to suspect any connection with the horrific crimes he is accused of committing."
DeAngelo, who was known at the facility as "Joe," retired last year.
On the surface, DeAngelo seemed like a respected member of his community.
There was a 1973 wedding announcement in his local newspaper when he married his wife, Sharon. She's a family law attorney. They had three children and divorced in 1991.
But there were some troubling signs.
In 1979, he lost his job as a cop after he was caught shoplifting a can of dog repellent and a hammer.
The evil acts attributed to the Golden State Killer defy imagination with 12 murders, 45 rapes and 120 burglaries between 1976 and 1986.
Cops say he sometimes stayed for hours at the homes he hit, and even cooked meals.
He bound his victims and put plates on their bodies, telling them that if they moved and he heard the plate fall, he would kill them.
Sometimes he called victims he left alive on the phone to torment them, disguising his voice with clenched teeth saying, “I’m gonna kill you."
He took his victims' wedding rings and bikini photos as souvenir of his crimes.
Why the Golden State Killer's attacks apparently stopped in 1986 remains a mystery.
"Before you say that the man has changed his behavior and turned the faucet off on these violent acts, let’s make sure we know where he has been, what he has done," forensic psychologist Keith Ablow told Inside Edition. "Has he ever traveled abroad? And where has the violence gone?"
Now, thanks to sophisticated new DNA tests, police say one the most prolific serial killers in history has been captured.
DeAngelo is due in court on Friday.