Where is Joseph DeAngelo now?

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Joseph DeAngelo

What did Joseph DeAngelo do? 

Joseph DeAngelo is an American serial killer who committed at least 13 murders in California between 1974 and 1986. He would break into his victims’ houses, rape them, steal from them and then murder them. He was known by three different names due to his different crime sprees, which were all eventually linked together. 

He was originally known as the Visalia Ransacker during his crimes in the San Joaquin Valley, and when he moved to the Sacramento area, he was known as the East Area Rapist. His crimes escalated to murder in the Santa Barbara, Ventura and Orange counties, which led to him being known as the Original Night Stalker. 


How was Joseph DeAngelo caught? 

This was one of the biggest unsolved cases in America for many years before time eventually caught up with Joseph DeAngelo and he was brought to justice. 

The police were no closer to catching him as the decades went by, until crime writer Michelle McNamara started looking into the case, providing the police with many different leads and helping to bring exposure to the case with her excellent true-crime book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. She coined a new phrase for the vicious killer that would stick: The Golden State Killer. Sadly, Michelle died before her book was finished and the killer was caught. But her efforts were instrumental in finally bringing him to justice.

On the 15th June, 2016, the FBI and local law enforcement agencies offered a $50,000 reward for any information leading to the capture of the Golden State Killer. It raised awareness of the cold case but didn’t lead to any arrests. 

DeAngelo was eventually caught through the use of genetic genealogy when investigators uploaded the killer’s DNA profile from a rape kit on family tree website GED Match. The investigators, led by Paul Holes, managed to identify distant relatives of the killer and built over 25 different family trees to narrow down the search. 

Paul Holes and his team eventually narrowed down the search to 72-year-old Joseph DeAngelo. On the 18th April, 2018, they collected a DNA sample from the door handle of DeAngelo’s car, and also from a tissue in his garbage can, and both were matched to samples linked with the Golden State Killer’s crimes. 


Where is Joseph DeAngelo now? 

On the 24th April, 2018, DeAngelo was charged with eight counts of first-degree murder. And on the 29th July, 2020, he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of murder. He was spared the death penalty in a plea bargain in which he admitted to numerous other crimes. On the 21st August, 2020, DeAngelo was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He is 77 years old and is serving his sentence at Corcoran State Prison in Kings County, California. 


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