The former California police officer known as the Golden State Killer was sentenced Friday to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Joseph James DeAngelo, now 74, admitted to committing more than a dozen murders in the 1970s and ’80s after investigators identified him as a suspect using public genealogy websites to trace his DNA.
DeAngelo pleaded guilty in June to 13 murders and 13 rape-related charges. He also admitted to dozens more murders and rapes that were beyond the statute of limitations, The Associated Press reports.
On Friday, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman handed down multiple consecutive life prison sentences under the plea deal.
Before he was sentenced, DeAngelo rose from a wheelchair, took off his mask and spoke to the court.
“I listened to all your statements, each one of them, and I’m truly sorry for everyone I’ve hurt,” he said.
Prosecutors called his more-than-decade-long spate of crimes “simply staggering,” encompassing 87 victims at 53 separate crime scenes spanning 11 California counties.
In the days leading up to his sentencing, dozens of victims or people whose loved ones suffered at the hands of DeAngelo provided witness statements to the court.
Even DeAngelo’s ex-wife, Sacramento attorney Sharon Huddle, said in a court filing Thursday that she was fooled, though many victims have questioned how she could not have known of her then-husband’s double life.
Although DeAngelo’s ex-fiancee, Bonnie Ueltzen, was not permitted to personally deliver her own statement, according to the Los Angeles Times, victim Jane Carson-Sandler shared some words on Ueltzen’s behalf on Wednesday.
“If Bonnie were able to speak, Joe, she would want you to know that as just a teenager 50 years ago, she broke her engagement to you when she realized you had become manipulative and abusive,” Carson-Sandler said, as Ueltzen stood nearby and stared at DeAngelo. “When you thought you could kidnap her and force her to marry you, even a gun pointed at her face could not make her choose you.”
Carson-Sandler was the fifth person to have been raped by DeAngelo, who was at the time known as the East Area Rapist, the LA Times reported.