Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole

After 13 years of elusive crime, Joseph DeAngelo—widely known as the Golden State Killer among other monikers—has learned his fate after pleading guilty to 13 counts of murder.

By Samantha Schnurr Aug 21, 2020 5:51 PMTags
Watch: Patton Oswalt Speaks Out on Golden State Killer

The Golden State Killer's fate has been unmasked. 

On Friday, Aug. 21, Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., the 74-year-old former police officer widely known as the Golden State Killer among other monikers, was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole by Judge Michael Bowman inside the Sacramento State University Ballroom. His sentence includes 11 life terms without the possibility of parole, to be served consecutively, plus 15 life terms and eight years. DeAngelo must also register as a sex offender, pay fines and is barred from owning a firearm. 

The convicted killer, who often disguised himself with a face mask while committing his crimes, was once again masked, this time amid the coronavirus pandemic. Seated in a wheelchair, DeAngelo's facial expression was camouflaged underneath. 

"Mr. DeAngelo will spend the rest of his natural life and ultimately meet his death confined behind the walls of the state penitentiary," Judge Bowman said. 

DeAngelo did briefly address the room before learning his future. "I've listened to all of your statements, each one of them, and I am really sorry to everyone I've hurt," he said while standing. "Thank you, your honor." 

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Before Judge Bowman handed down his sentence, several district attorneys also spoke, including Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer

"Yesterday marked 40 years to the date that a stranger walked into Patty and Keith Harrington's Dana Point home and robbed those 3-month newlyweds of their lives," Spitzer said. "They never made it to their first wedding anniversary." 


"For the last three days," Spitzer later said, "we heard about the 13 lives that were cut short in murder. We heard of the memories that were never made. We heard of the dozens and dozens of sexual assault victims who had to go through that depraved act while some of their husbands watched, which is beyond comprehension...As he was destroying your lives, he got to be on his boat, blow out birthday candles, hold his granddaughter, but all the time in the back of his mind, he knew, he knew—we would get him."

In June, DeAngelo, who was identified and arrested 32 years after he murdered his last victim in 2018, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of first-degree murder and 13 additional felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery dating back to the 1970s and 1980s in California. As part of a plea agreement to not inflict the death penalty, DeAngelo also admitted to uncharged crimes, including attempted murder, kidnapping to commit robbery, rape, robbery, first-degree burglary and false imprisonment.  

During the sentencing, Judge Bowman also recognized Michelle McNamara, author of I'll Be Gone in the Dark, as one of the "many heroes" who have "brought this day here." Up until her death in 2016, McNamara spent the final years of her life investigating the unsolved case and coined the name "Golden State Killer."

Patton Oswalt, who she was married to until her untimely passing, tweeted in response to DeAngelo's sentencing, "The insect gets none of my headspace today. I'm thinking of the victims, and the survivors, and the witnesses and crusaders and investigators."

"And of course," he added, "Michelle. Go forward in peace, all of you."

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