SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It was a day survivors waited decades for. Many looked Joseph DeAngelo in the eye as he answered for his crimes.
The admitted Golden State Killer said the same two things over and over in court Monday: “guilty” and “I admit.”
Justice came word-by-word. Prosecuting attorneys left out no facts or details, no matter how graphic. They revealed the terrible things DeAngelo said to his victims before he killed them and raped them, including: “I’ll kill you if you don’t do what I say.”
The similarities between murder and rape cases were sickening to survivors.
“Cookie cutter from case to case. And it was like how could one person get away with this for so long?” said Gay Hardwick, who was raped at her home in Stockton in 1978.
Survivors first brought together by tragedy now rise up together to confront their attacker.
“He’s having to live with the fact that we’re hearing every single thing that he said and what he did to us and he’s owning it,” said Kris Pedretti, who was raped by DeAngelo at just 15 years old.
Survivors stood so they could look directly in the eyes of a man who was faceless for so long, hear him say he was guilty and admit to their rapes.
“It’s empowering. We are not Jane Does. We want people to know who we are. We want people to know we are survivors who want people to know there’s hope,” Pedretti said.
Beth Bassett is the CEO of WEAVE, a rape crisis center in Sacramento. She spoke with survivors ten years ago, long before police ever had a suspect.
“I honestly never thought they would find him and certainly never thought they would find him alive,” Hassett said.
Hassett said each survivor will process the guilty hearing differently and find peace differently. Trauma has no timeline.
“There’s going to be a lot of unpacking for everyone of happy, scared, retraumatized. All of these things,” she said.
DeAngelo could never be charged for the rapes due to the statute of limitations, a controversial rule on when victims can report rape. It was eliminated in California three years ago. For the women who have yet to see justice for their trauma, survivors have a message.
“They have a future. They should never give up their hopes and dreams,” Hardwick said.