SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — There seems to be a stark contrast between the man prosecutors say was capable of serial murder, and the man wheeled into his arraignment to face those charges. The man is suspected of being the East Area Rapist and Golden State Killer.

Joseph DeAngelo’s frail appearance on Friday was different from the fit man deputies arrested earlier in the week and took into custody.

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  • Accused killer and rapist Joseph DeAngelo is described by neighbors as active, but in court appeared to be an invalid.
  • New York crime boss Vinnie Gigante pretended to be insane but finally admitted his guilt in 2003.
  • DeAngelo is back in court on May 14.

“Law enforcement sees this all the time,” retired FBI Agent Jim Wedick said. “You see different degrees of it.”

Wedick says the accused East Area Rapist’s first court appearance is likely a textbook case of a defendant trying to dupe the public into thinking the prosecutors don’t have a strong case.

“The first thing that came to mind, it looked like he was feigning being an invalid,” Wedick said.

DeAngelo was sitting in a wheelchair, with his eyes barely open. He could hardly be heard when answering the judge.

The feeble display is far from how neighbors and sheriff’s deputies describe DeAngelo just a week before his arrest, working in his front yard, fixing his car, and riding his motorcycle.

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Wedick says DeAngelo’s appearance reminds him of the case against New York crime boss Vinnie Gigante.

Full online coverage of the East Area Rapist

“The immediate picture that came to mind was Gigante walking around in his bathrobe and slippers,” Wedick said.

Gigante famously feigned insanity, and incompetence to investigators while running his crime family. He finally admitted his actions and pled guilty in 2003.

Wedick is now watching DeAngelo.

“There’s a level of deception that he needs to score and win big on here because these crimes are so outrageous,” Wedick said.

DeAngelo’s attorney did not return calls seeking a comment. DeAngelo is back in court on May 14.

DeAngleo has been denied bail. He had been housed in the psychiatric area of the jail.

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The East Area Rapist, who’s also known as the Golden State Killer, has been tied to 12 homicides, at least 51 rapes, and dozens of burglaries across the state in the 1970s and 1980s.