SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The man accused of a brutal rape and murder spree dating back four decades will stand trial in Sacramento, prosecutors announced on Tuesday.
Former cop Joseph DeAngelo hasn’t yet entered a plea. But prosecutors say the 72-year-old’s trial will be where he allegedly started his crime spree 40 years ago and where he has lived since the late 1970s.
“Sacramento really has the weight of the victims,” said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas at a press conference with Sacramento County D.A. Anne Marie Schubert.
“It is very fitting that this journey for justice sought for over forty years ends in Sacramento,” Schubert added.
But finding 12 unbiased jurors is a process legal experts say will be especially difficult.
“I’d imagine it’d be very difficult to find a group of individuals who haven’t already formed an opinion,” said UC Davis professor Irene Joe.
Joe teaches a course on jury selection. She says the defense can still appeal for a change of venue, but they may also see a benefit to holding the trial here.
“If their theory of the case is such that it might rely on jurors knowledgeable about things happen in Sacramento, sort of how Sacramento moves,” she said.
Back in May, DeAngelo’s public defender asked a judge to seal the suspect’s arrest and search warrants, claiming the documents would taint a potential jury pool.
But the judge decided to make them public, revealing how investigators used DNA to track down the suspected East Area Rapist and Golden State Killer.
Some now wonder whether the biggest challenge for the case might be just what broke it: DNA and whether it will be admissible as evidence in court.
“Everything about the DNA will be an issue at the trial of course,” said Rackauckas.
For now, the suspect will be back in court on Thursday.