Law enforcement in Sacramento called a news conference Wednesday to announce the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo of Citrus Heights. But police say he was more widely known as the "East Area Rapist" or "Golden State Killer."
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"There were upwards of 50 rapes, 12 murders, crimes that spanned ten years across ten different counties," said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.
Police say DeAngelo was responsible for dozens of rapes and two murders in around Sacramento before moving on to Contra Costa, Santa Clara, and Alameda Counties.
The crimes deeply affected Alameda County D.A. Nancy O'Malley - who actually helped some of the early Bay Area victims while working at a rape crisis center in college. "I went to the hospital with victims who had been sexually assaulted and not knowing who the person has terrorized Contra Costa County at the time," she said.
The suspect, DeAngelo, is a former police officer who was fired from the Auburn police department for allegedly shoplifting. He also worked as a police officer in Exeter, near Visalia.
Authorities admit that may have helped him dodge capture for 40 years. His downfall, DNA matches and renewed cooperation among multiple departments.
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Bruce Harrington whose brother and sister in law were victims of the Golden State killer in 1980 had a message for the sexual assault victims. "Sleep better tonight. He isn't coming through the window."
"Today we take at least a first step toward closure for the victims of horrendous crimes," said Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones.
The crimes spanned the years from 1974 to 1986 but the biggest break in the case came within the last six days. Law enforcement says more charges could follow as the investigation continues.
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