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Golden State Killer Faked ‘Feeble Incoherence’ When Investigators Confronted Him with His Crimes: Prosecutor


Those following the Golden State Killer case would recognize defendant Joseph James DeAngelo, 74, just by posture alone. The elderly murderer would be pushed into court in a wheelchair while staring off at no spot in particular. Or, is it just an act from beginning to end? At his sentencing hearing on Monday, Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Thien Ho said DeAngelo “feigned feeble incoherence” when confronted by authorities with his crimes in an interview after his arrest on April 24, 2018. But the prosecutor said that just hours before that interview, detectives saw DeAngelo “vigorously” working on his yard, jumping in and out of his truck, and lifting heavy objects. Weeks before, he raced his motorcycle on a freeway, weaving in and out of traffic, and “performing sophisticated counter surveillance maneuvers.”

You can watch the statement in the player above at 28:15.

DeAngelo certainly seemed physically fragile at his sentencing hearing on Monday.  There, he pleaded guilty to 13 counts of murder and confessed to being the so-called “Golden State Killer.” Prosecutors from multiple jurisdictions appeared in a teleconferenced hearing before Sacramento County Judge Michael G. Bowman.

But Ho said on Monday that DeAngelo had a pattern of faking feebleness. In 1979, the defendant was caught shoplifting dog repellent and a hammer. When caught, he faked a heart attack before fighting. Anyway, the incident got DeAngelo fired as a police officer.

Authorities went over the stipulated facts of each charge, and the defendant pleaded guilty accordingly. They stopped after count 8 for a morning break but picked up soon after.

Ho said that the murders occurred between 1975 and 1986.

Fellow Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday said in the beginning of the plea hearing Monday that in exchange for the guilty plea, DeAngelo will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

DeAngelo was charged as the person who terrorized Californians through at least 13 murders, 50 rapes, and 100 burglaries between 1976 and 1986. Holliday attributed the disposition of the case to several factors. Foremost, it had been so many years since the crimes took place. Many people involved have died, and witnesses and law enforcement members are in their 80s or 90s or wouldn’t be at a trial. On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down courts and created a high risk for people in the courtroom. The assault survivors have waited years for justice.

“The time for justice stands in front of us now,” Holliday said.

The victims were oftentimes couples, but sometimes were families.

Under the agreement, DeAngelo admitted to crimes including the 1979 rape and murder of Debra Alexandria Manning, 35, and murder of her boyfriend Robert Offerman, 44.  He also admitted guilt in the 1986 rape and murder of Cheri Domingo, 35, and murder of her boyfriend Gregory Sanchez, 27.

[Image of DeAngelo in April 27 2018, three days after his arrest via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

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