SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — “It’s like reliving it. It’s like reliving the whole thing,” said Kenneth Smith following the court appearance of the accused East Area Rapist.
For less than five minutes on Friday afternoon, 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo answered questions before a judge.
“I have a lawyer,” said DeAngelo answering a question posed by the judge.
Sitting inside the small courtroom were victims of the East Area Rapist and their family members.
“The thoughts were with my sister and brother-in-law, not with him at all,” said Smith.
He says the hardest part, was hearing his sister’s name.
“Murder of Katie Maggiore, a human being,” recited the judge while reading the charges against DeAngelo.
“That’s the difficult part because it all becomes reality again. It all becomes real,” said Smith.
Police say DeAngelo killed Katie Maggiore and her husband Brian in Sacramento in the 1970s.
The 72-year-old said few words on Friday and could barely keep his eyes open.
“I feel like justice is starting,” said one spectator leaving the courtroom.
Outside the courtroom, people reacted to seeing the man believed to have carried out a dozen murders and nearly 50 sexual assaults.
Miles Strucker drove from North Carolina to witness the hearing.
“Really got into the case and by the time we got into California we were kind of obsessed with it,” said Strucker.
“It’s scary knowing he was in the backyard my entire life growing up,” said DeAngelo’s longtime neighbor, Grant Gorman.
Gorman says seeing him in custody brings back difficult memories of family warnings growing up.
“Our family told us to stay away from him,” said Gorman, “they didn’t think he was a safe person to be around.”
While DeAngelo’s court-appointed attorney fights for a fair trial.
“He’s presumed innocent until proven guilty,” said Diane Howard, the public defender. “That’s what this country stands for.”
People severally impacted by the accused East Area Rapist sense a turning tide.
“It’s not his show. It’s our show. It’s our turn. It’s our time,” said Smith.
DeAngelo’s case was continued to May 14th. His attorney says there are hundreds of thousands of pages of discovery that she must go through before the case can proceed.