CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13) — Neighbors of the alleged East Area Rapist said his demeanor was completely unexpected in court.

“To see him on TV, it’s surreal, because that’s Joe, that’s my neighbor Joe,” said Natalia Bedes-Correnti who lives a few doors down.

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Joe DeAngelo, accused of multiple murders and rapes across California, was wheeled into the courtroom and barely uttered just a few words.

“He certainly did not need to be in a wheelchair,” Bedes-Correnti said.

That’s because the “Joe” they know or thought they knew isn’t what they saw.

“Always mowing the lawn, he would get down on his hands and knees and hand cut around each decorative rock in his lawn to make sure everything looked just right,” she said.

“It was definitely not what I expected,” said his next-door neighbor Nathan Harvey.

It’s especially hard because he says DeAngelo was a good neighbor.

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“He was a hard-working guy that was always willing to lend a hand to help if you needed it,” Harvey added.

People who knew him said he had active plans.

“He just retired and was talking about how excited he was to take his boat out fishing more. He was totally physically able to do that,” Bedes-Correnti said.

There’s certainly no fishing trips planned for DeAngelo’s near future.

Residents said they’re trying to keep an open mind, but the news is hard to comprehend.

“Being in the alleged position that he’s in, how would I react?” Harvey added.

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The crime tape is down, but nobody has seen anyone, even family, enter or leave DeAngelo’s home.