Victims Call Golden State Killer ‘Sick Monster,’ ‘Subhuman’

August 18, 2020 Updated: August 18, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Victim after victim lined up on Tuesday to describe Joseph DeAngelo as a “sick monster,” “horrible man,” and “subhuman” who stole their innocence and changed their lives during a more than decade-long reign of rape and murder that earned him the nickname Golden State Killer.

The daughter of one rape victim gave him an obscene hand gesture and cursed him during the first of four days of hearings in Sacramento County Superior Court before he is formally sentenced to life in prison on Friday.

Some read statements on behalf of their loved ones who could not testify in person, while others proudly gave their names now that DeAngelo, 74, is heading to prison.

“He and his knife had complete control over me for the next two hours,” the daughter of rape survivor Patricia Murphy read from her mother’s statement. “He truly is an evil monster with no soul.”

Murphy in her own statement raised her middle finger and said DeAngelo “can go straight to hell.”

DeAngelo is a former police officer in California who eluded capture for four decades. The scope of his crimes “is simply staggering,” prosecutors said in a court summary released Monday—13 known murders and nearly 50 rapes between 1975 and 1986.

Joseph James DeAngelo Jr.
Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. speaks at the Sacramento County courtroom during a hearing on crimes attributed to the Golden State Killer, in Sacramento, Calif., on June 29, 2020. (Fred Greaves/Reuters)

Sixteen of his Sacramento County rape victims began confronting him in a courthouse that is otherwise still sealed from the public because of the coronavirus. A similar number of people planned to tell Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman on Wednesday and Thursday how DeAngelo’s crimes changed their lives.

Pete Schultz recalled how DeAngelo “performed horrific acts against our mother while she was tied and blindfolded.” He himself was tied to a bedpost at age 11, while his 7-year-old sister was locked in her room during the attack on Wini Schultz.

Pete Schultz called DeAngelo a “sick monster” as the killer sat in an orange jail jumpsuit, wearing a mask to slow the spread of the coronavirus, staring straight ahead.

In June, DeAngelo pleaded guilty to 13 murders and 13 rape-related charges. He also publicly admitted dozens more sexual assaults for which the statute of limitations had expired.

Defense attorneys did not respond to requests for comment and did not file a reply to prosecutors’ outline of the case.

All told, he admitted harming 87 victims at 53 separate crime scenes spanning 11 California counties in a plea deal that spares him the death penalty, prosecutors said.

That’s a larger number of victims than prosecutors cited after his admission in June to 161 crimes involving 48 people, but Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten said the higher number includes those who chose not to participate in having DeAngelo publicly admit to crimes in which he could not be formally charged.

His nicknames showed the escalation and geographic sweep of his crimes, prosecutors said: the Visalia Ransacker, thought to be responsible for about 100 burglaries and one slaying in that San Joaquin Valley farm town; the East Area Rapist; the Original Night Stalker. And finally, the Golden State Killer when investigators eventually linked the crimes that stretched across much of the state.