‘He truly is an evil monster with no soul’: Victims and families face Golden State Killer ahead of sentencing

‘He spent hours raining his terror through threats and unspeakable abuse’

Louise Hall
Wednesday 19 August 2020 21:02 BST
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Victims and surviving family members gave emotional testimony against the Golden State Killer ahead of his sentencing, calling him a “sick monster” and a “horrible man” who should ”go straight to hell”.

A number of victims and family members appeared in a courtroom in California on Tuesday to confront serial killer Joseph DeAngelo, who pleaded guilty in June to 13 murders and more than 50 rapes between 1973 and 1986.

The testimony marks the first of four days of hearings in Sacramento County Superior Court before he is formally sentenced to life in prison on Friday.

“He and his knife had complete control over me for the next two hours,” Patricia Murphy said in a statement read aloud by her daughter Patti Cosper. “He truly is an evil monster with no soul.”

In her own statement, Ms Murphy’s daughter said DeAngelo “can go straight to hell,” CBS News reported.

DeAngelo, a former police officer, eluded capture for four decades before he was identified and arrested in 2018 by using a new form of DNA tracing.

Kris Pedretti told the judge she was a “normal 15-year-old kid” before she was attacked by DeAngelo. “I loved going to school, having sleepovers and going to church,” she said. “My world was small, predictable and safe.”

Ms Pedretti described the trauma of her attack at the hands of DeAngelo, saying: “I sang ‘Jesus Loves Me’ in my head as I waited — waited to die.”

She added: “the knowledge that DeAngelo will spend the rest of his life in prison for his heinous acts has ended my dark journey so that I may begin a new one.”

Amidst the rousing testimonies of abuse, DeAngelo sat silently and emotionless in an orange jumpsuit, staring straight ahead and wearing a mask as protection against the coronavirus.

Dolly Kreis, the mother of victim Debbie Strauss, said DeAngelo “spent hours raining his terror through threats and unspeakable abuse.”

“He would leave his victims shaking in fright while he went to the kitchen to eat, only to return and then the abuse and vileness started all over again,” she said.

The killer previously signed a plea agreement to spare him the death sentence on the basis he admitted to dozens of uncharged crimes while in custody.

In total, DeAngelo admitted harming 87 victims at 53 separate crime scenes spanning 11 California counties, prosecutors said.

Cheryl Temple, Ventura County chief assistant district attorney, said that the decision to let the victims tell their stories was made in order to highlight the long-lasting damage his crimes have had.

“The statements from all victims are designed to enlighten all parties and the public to the swath of damage that violent predators leave in their wake,” Ms Temple told The Ventura County Star.

“They can be cathartic for victims to write and deliver, and they truly shift the focus from the defendant to the societal impact of crime.”

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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