Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. Pleads Guilty to Golden State Killer Slayings in Bid to Avoid Death Penalty

In return for the guilty plea, prosecutors have agreed not to seek the death penalty.

Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., now known as the Golden State Killer, pleaded guilty Monday to multiple murder and kidnapping charges, and admitted to dozens of rapes that terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s – a moment for which his victims have long awaited.

The former police officer charged with 13 crimes has agreed to plead guilty, avoiding trial. In return for the guilty plea, prosecutors have agreed not to seek the death penalty

The court hearing took place in a ballroom in Sacramento in order to adhere to social distancing regulations to accommodate the vast number of victims and their families attending. Face shields also protected DeAngelo and his lawyers.

“I can see him standing in my bedroom clear as day,” one of his victims, Victor Hayes, told Inside Edition earlier this year. “I will never forget it. I've seen that vision almost every day for 42 years.”

DeAngelo was arrested in 2018, thanks to advances in DNA technology, officials said.

Known by many monikers, including the East Area Rapist, the Visalia Ransacker, the Original Night Stalker and the Diamond Knot Killer, the Golden State Killer is believed to be responsible for at least 12 murders, 51 rapes and 120 home burglaries, many of the charges have expired under the statute of limits. 

Late true crime author Michelle McNamara, who worked extensively to solve the case, coined the name the "Golden State Killer" to fully encapsulated the terror that gripped the entire state of California in the 1970s and ‘80s.

The HBO six-part series, “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” based off the book of the same name by McNamara premiered June 28. In it, McNamara chronicled her years-long journey trying to discover the identity of GSK.