By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Alleged East Area Rapist Joseph DeAngelo will use taxpayer dollars to defend himself in court.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet ruled DeAngelo is indigent and will require public defendants to serve as his attorneys.

The Sacramento County D.A. office is estimating prosecution and defense combined could cost $20 million. Judge Sweet says he has reviewed DeAngelo’s finances and determined he has no money to pay his legal bills.

“The California overall test is whether a private attorney would agree to represent the defendant in his current economic situation,” Sweet said.

RELATED: East Area Rapist Suspect Appears In Court Looking Gaunt, Will Keep Public Defender

Sue Arico is the daughter of an East Area Rapist victim. Her mom fought off the attack and survived in Sacramento back in 1979.

Arico says despite the cost to taxpayers, she does believe it’s a good justice system at work.

“And if we do justice and due process and he’s convicted on these things then everybody will know and it is a great closure for everyone I believe,” Arico said.

So far, the Sacramento County District Attorney has no record of private defense attorney’s willing to take DeAngelo’s case pro bono.

Law firm’s seeking media exposure can add up television airtime, Nielsen ratings, and ad values to try and determine the publicity value of the case.

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But with millions in legal costs projected, DeAngelo’s defense will rely on taxpayer dollars and public defenders who have yet to enter his plea.

The Sacramento Board of Supervisors is planning on requesting financial assistance from the state legislature, and other counties to help pay for the trial.


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