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The Golden State Killer was one of the most notorious serial killers in American history, a murderer and serial rapist whose crimes spanned 11 Californian counties over the course of the 1970s and 1980s, according to The Guardian.

The crime spree began in 1976 with a series of over 40 rapes over the course of three years. The media dubbed the unknown assailant the East Area Rapist (via Biography), and it later emerged that the same killer had also shot and killed a couple walking their dog in Sacramento County in 1977. Then, between 1979 and 1986, south Californians were terrorized by a spate of brutal murders in which 10 people were killed, the majority of whom were heterosexual couples. Per the same source, it was only in 2001 that DNA evidence linked the earlier sexual assaults to these later sexualized serial killings, and the scale of the crimes committed by the elusive figure now known as the Golden State Killer came to light.

After so many years had passed, most who were following the case believed that the chance to apprehend the serial killer was lost. However, in 2018, news outlets shared the news that the Golden State Killer had finally been arrested, and his name was Joseph James DeAngelo, a U.S. Navy veteran in his early 70s who had previously worked as a cop.

In 2020, DeAngelo pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including 13 murders and 13 kidnappings.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN’s National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Source: This post first appeared on

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