Suspected Golden State Killer enters no plea at court appearance

Joseph James DeAngelo, who police believe is the Golden State Killer, appeared in a California court Friday, but did ...

Posted: Apr 28, 2018 2:19 PM
Updated: Apr 28, 2018 2:19 PM

Joseph James DeAngelo, who police believe is the Golden State Killer, appeared in a California court Friday, but did not enter a plea to the murder charges he faces in the 1978 deaths of Katie and Brian Maggiore.

The 72-year-old defendant was brought into the Sacramento County courtroom in a wheelchair and represented by a public defender.

DeAngelo is "depressed and right now, fragile," attorney Diane Howard told CNN. DeAngelo spoke only a few words at the hearing, telling the judge very slowly in a feeble voice that he would accept a court-appointed attorney.

Howard told reporters that she feels her client has received "unfair press."

"I feel like he's been tried here in the press already," she said.

DeAngelo's next hearing is scheduled for May 14 at 8:30 a.m.

On Thursday, FBI agents and police searched DeAngelo's home in Citrus Heights, a town about 16 miles northeast of the California capital.

Three days after DeAngelo's arrest, more details are emerging about what led authorities to believe he was behind the 12 murders and more than 50 rapes in the 1970s and 1980s.

Genealogy website helped crack the case

Authorities tracked down a suspect by comparing genetic profiles from genealogy websites to crime scene DNA, according to the Sacramento District Attorney's Office.

Police matched DNA from a crime scene to genetic material from a relative who was registered on genealogy sites, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi said.

Grippi told the Sacramento Bee, which first reported the news, that investigators spent a long time exploring online family trees before focusing the investigation on a suspect.

Paul Holes, a recently retired investigator with California's Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office, told CNN that investigators used GEDmatch, a free-to-use, publicly accessible genealogy database.

Suspect was a reclusive neighbor

DeAngelo is a former police officer, a Vietnam veteran and a mechanic.

He served aboard the USS Canberra, a guided missile cruiser, during the Vietnam War, according to Navy Public Affairs.

In the early 1970s, DeAngelo worked as a police officer in Exeter and Auburn, California. Authorities have said some of the alleged crimes of the Golden State Killer overlapped with DeAngelo's time as a police officer.

"Very possibly he was committing these crimes during the time he was employed as a peace officer, and obviously we'll be looking into whether it was actually on the job," Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said.

DeAngelo was fired from his law enforcement job in 1979 for shoplifting a can of dog repellent and a hammer from a drugstore.

He went on to live what appears to be a quiet life. He worked as a mechanic at the distribution center of a Modesto-based supermarket chain for 27 years until he retired last year, a spokeswoman for the company said.

DeAngelo had at least three daughters, according Kevin Tapia, who has lived near the suspect for 20 years.

Neighbors have said DeAngelo mostly kept to himself and sometimes yelled at people who got too close to his fence, but they said he had become a recluse in recent years.

DNA's role in the investigation

Bruce Harrington constantly pushed California officials to use DNA testing, hoping it would help catch the man who killed his brother and sister-in-law nearly 40 years ago.

Many state elected officials and rights groups fiercely opposed any attempts by Harrington and the state to expand California's criminal offender DNA database.

Critics cited the privacy rights of people in police custody and questioned the constitutionality of allowing the state to gather DNA samples without evidence of guilt.

Harrington spent years in front of public safety committees until California voters passed Proposition 69, known as the "DNA Fingerprint, Unsolved Crime and Innocence Protection Act," in 2004.

The proposition gave the state broader powers to collect DNA. Now, it could get samples from anyone not just convicted of a felony, but even arrested for one.

In some cases, authorities could also collect DNA from misdemeanor arrests.

The use of DNA technology in DeAngelo's arrest highlights the progress that law enforcement agencies in California have made in their use of forensic science.

"I began my quest in the mid-'90s. It was 15 years until we heard that there was a DNA sample taken from our scene," Harrington said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501652

Reported Deaths: 10024
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34353540
DeSoto32162408
Hinds31977631
Jackson24508383
Rankin22015390
Lee15596235
Madison14597280
Jones13867243
Forrest13461252
Lauderdale11998317
Lowndes11065188
Lamar10522136
Pearl River9547237
Lafayette8557140
Hancock7740127
Washington7443160
Oktibbeha7147133
Monroe6787178
Warren6706176
Pontotoc6677104
Neshoba6642206
Panola6542131
Marshall6476135
Bolivar6323150
Union605794
Pike5824152
Alcorn5676102
Lincoln5439135
George497479
Scott473098
Tippah470381
Prentiss469182
Leflore4663144
Itawamba4640105
Adams4592119
Tate4592111
Copiah448792
Simpson4448116
Yazoo444887
Wayne440072
Covington429094
Sunflower4240105
Marion4232108
Coahoma4168107
Leake408688
Newton381779
Grenada3711108
Stone360664
Tishomingo360092
Attala331789
Jasper330165
Winston314691
Clay308977
Chickasaw301067
Clarke292594
Calhoun279447
Holmes267987
Smith264150
Yalobusha234547
Tallahatchie228251
Greene219449
Walthall218764
Lawrence213140
Perry205956
Amite205256
Webster203046
Noxubee186840
Montgomery179657
Jefferson Davis172243
Carroll169338
Tunica160039
Benton149239
Kemper141941
Choctaw133326
Claiborne132837
Humphreys129638
Franklin120328
Quitman106528
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94734
Sharkey64220
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 820312

Reported Deaths: 15407
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1148731924
Mobile726221339
Madison52362697
Shelby37640350
Baldwin37266552
Tuscaloosa35120612
Montgomery34123740
Lee23540246
Calhoun22236488
Morgan20958378
Etowah19838500
Marshall18381304
Houston17394412
St. Clair16078339
Cullman15468293
Limestone15354199
Elmore15271286
Lauderdale14323295
Talladega13851283
DeKalb12664261
Walker11221370
Blount10207176
Autauga10048148
Jackson9877184
Coffee9211191
Dale8904185
Colbert8877201
Tallapoosa7093198
Escambia6778134
Covington6715183
Chilton6648162
Russell637559
Franklin5969105
Chambers5612142
Marion5010127
Dallas4979200
Pike4796106
Clarke475884
Geneva4575127
Winston4522103
Lawrence4327117
Bibb425386
Barbour357876
Marengo338390
Monroe331664
Randolph329864
Butler326796
Pickens316584
Henry312866
Hale311688
Cherokee302960
Fayette294180
Washington251651
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245375
Clay243368
Macon234863
Lamar224847
Conecuh186353
Coosa180340
Lowndes175464
Wilcox168939
Bullock151744
Perry138940
Sumter133238
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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