After forty years of eluding law enforcement, Joseph DeAngelo pleaded guilty in court on Monday to being the Golden State Killer. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, DeAngelo, a former police officer, accepted a plea deal that will allow him to avoid the death sentence. In return, the 74-year-old has confessed his guilt to not only the crimes he’s been charged with but also to sexual assaults whose statute of limitations had run out by the time he was apprehended. He’ll be sentenced to life without parole.
DeAngelo was charged with 13 counts of murder, with additional special circumstances, as well as 13 counts of kidnapping for robbery in six counties, including Contra Costa County in the Bay Area. Investigators believe he was responsible for more than 60 rapes, including some in Santa Clara and Alameda counties as well, but the statute of limitations expired on those crimes.
DeAngelo’s court appearance arrived the day after HBO aired the first episode of its new docu-series, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. The series focuses on the book of the same name by the late crime writer Michelle McNamara, who passed away during her investigation into the Golden State Killer. Her widowed husband, comedian Patton Oswalt, worked with McNamara’s co-investigators to complete the book and, in a bittersweet ending, two months after it was published the police captured DeAngelo.
In his reaction to the guilty plea, Oswalt joined I’ll Be Gone in the Dark director Liz Garbus in emphasizing that the focus should remain on the survivors of DeAngelo’s heinous crime spree. “All present, all staring directly at that zilch of a human being, and he can’t return their gaze,” Oswalt tweeted. “That’s what I’m focusing on.”
You can see his full reaction below:
The most important people at the #GoldenStateKiller hearing today are the survivors. All present, all staring directly at that zilch of a human being, and he can’t return their gaze. That’s what I’m focusing on. https://t.co/1lqZSIyt14
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) June 29, 2020
Oswalt’s focus on the victims echoes the thoughts he recently shared in an interview with UPROXX shortly before I’ll Be Gone in the Dark‘s premiere. When asked about his on-screen participation, the comedian said he didn’t want to be heavily featured because the focus should be on the survivors along with his late wife and her team of investigators that cracked the case.
(Via Patton Oswalt on Twitter)