SACRAMENTO — A former California police officer who lived a double life as the “Golden State Killer” was sentenced to life in prison on Friday for a string of 1970s and ’80s murders and rapes that were solved through the use of public genealogy websites.
Joseph James DeAngelo, 74, was ordered in a Sacramento courtroom to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole following four days of emotional hearings in which victims or their family members confronted him in open court.
In June, DeAngelo confessed to 13 murders and 13 rape-related charges for crimes carried out between 1975 and 1986 as part of a plea deal with prosecutors sparing him from a potential death sentence.
DeAngelo also publicly admitted to dozens more rape cases for which the statute of limitations had expired. Prosecutors said he invaded 120 homes across 11 counties during his crime spree.
The identity of the Golden State Killer remained a mystery, his crimes unsolved for decades, until DeAngelo’s arrest in Sacramento County on April 24, 2018.
Investigators tied DeAngelo to the crimes using a then-novel technique of tracing him using family DNA from commercial genealogy websites.