SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A guilty plea is expected from Joseph James DeAngelo, the accused Golden State Killer.
DeAngelo is accused of killing 13 people, raping 50 people, and committing more than 100 burglaries. He now sits in the Sacramento County Jail awaiting trial after the first-of-its-kind 2018 arrest based on DNA submitted to a genealogy website.
Also known as the East Area Rapist, DeAngelo is accused of terrorizing his victims across California in the 1970s and 80s, but for Jennifer Carole, the sentencing of the now 74-year-old former police officer is especially personal. She is the daughter of Lyman Smith, who was killed along with this wife Charlene in Ventura County in March 1980.
She is speaking out after she says district attorney offices across California broke the news to her of a potential guilty plea on June 1.
“The plan was to go to a preliminary hearing, I mean everyone was ready for it, we were fired up,” Carole said
But in the middle of a global pandemic, which makes it difficult for elderly witnesses to travel, the victims were running out of time.
“There’s witnesses who are not in the state anymore who would need to travel to be here to testify and they’re old, I mean they’re in their 80s,” Carole said.
A couple of weeks ago Carole was contacted with an unexpected update and learned the plan for the upcoming hearing on June 29 had changed. Instead of a preliminary hearing, she was told the suspect would offer a guilty plea to avoid the death penalty.
“He goes away for life without parole and that is where he will stay,” she said.
In March, Carole told CBS13 it was too early to be talking about a plea deal.”It’s not the time to be talking about a plea. The plea will come later. After we have the prelim. We need the preliminary hearing so that every community, Northern and Southern California, have the satisfaction that we do actually have the right man,” Carole said.
Sacramento attorney Mark Reichel says the plea would save taxpayers millions of dollars.
“You’re probably looking at somewhere in the nature of $50 million and every single penny of it is taxpayer money,” Reichel said.
DeAngelo is expected to make his appearance in some capacity on June 29. A number of victims are expected to be in attendance.