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United front revealed in Golden State Killer case

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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The prosecution of a Sacramento-area man accused of being the notorious Golden State Killer of the 1970s and 1980s will take place in Sacramento.

District attorneys from six counties - Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Contra Costa, Tulare and Orange - gathered at a press conference today in Santa Ana to announce they would form a united front to prosecute 72-year-old  Joseph James DeAngelo of Citrus Heights. DeAngelo worked in the late 1970s as an Auburn Police officer. He was fired in 1979 after being arrested on a shoplifting charge.

The joint prosecution will be moving ahead Thursday with DeAngelo’s arraignment in Sacramento.

The complaint against DeAngelo includes 13 counts of murder, plus more allegations of rape, robbery and kidnapping to commit robbery. The Golden State Killer was also nicknamed the East Area Rapist  and the Visalia Ransacker during a wave of terror that ended in 1986.

Four of the counts involve murders in Orange County between Aug. 21, 1980 and May 5, 1986.

"DeAngelo is a human predator who took a path through all of these counties and committed vicious, violent crimes in our state," Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said. "Wherever he went, he left a wake of terror. Our teams have been working for decades to try to capture this defendant and ultimately DNA caught up with GSK (Golden State Killer)."

In Tulare County, DeAngelo is charged with the 1975 shooting death of Claude Snelling. Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said law-enforcement collaboration has allowed the joint prosecution to go ahead. DeAngelo was arrested April 24.

"We have full faith and confidence in the men and women of the Sacramento district Attorney's Office to see this case through,' Ward said.

In Sacramento  County, DeAngelo is accused of the Feb. 2, 1978 murders of Kate and Brian Maggoire, 20 and 21, as they walked their dog in their Rancho Cordova neighborhood. DeAngelo is also facing nine Sacramento County allegations of kidnapping nine women to commit robbery between September 1976 and october 1977.

"It is very fitting that this journey for justice that has lasted over 40 years should end in Sacramento," Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.

Murder counts were refiled in Sacramento County today to consolidate charges against DeAngelo.