Former Police Officer, 72, Thought To Be ‘The Golden State Killer’, Arrested

Image Source: Sacramento Sheriff Office

Joseph James DeAngelo Jr, 72, was arrested late Tuesday night. He has been identified as the Golden State Killer.

New advancements in DNA testing have linked the man to some of the rapes and murders the serial killer committed back in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department took DeAngelo Jr into custody for two murder charges—he allegedly killed Brian Maggiore and his wife Katie in the late 1970’s. They are considered the serial killer’s first murder victims.

Later, he was charged with additional murders—those of Lyman and Charlene Smith. Their 12-year-old son found them dead in their Ventura home.

A DNA match has linked DeAngelo Jr to both of the crime scenes.

According to Anne Marie Schubert, the district attorney for Sacramento County, law enforcement relied on a sample of DNA that was discarded. Specifics were not provided.

Law enforcement is now at work linking DeAngelo Jr to the other crimes profilers believe were committed by the Golden State Killer. It is not known at this time how many of the crime scenes actually produced DNA evidence.

According to reports, police waited outside the home of DeAngelo Jr, waiting for him to exit. As soon as he exited his front door, police jumped on the man.

Image Source: AP
Image Source: AP

Police released a mugshot of the DeAngelo Jr; his face appears to be bloodied.

Charges against DeAngelo Jr include capital murder for the brutal murders of Lyman and Charlene Smith, which occurred in 1980. They occurred on March 13th of that year. Charlene was apparently raped prior to her murder.

According to law enforcement, DeAngelo Jr has three daughters, all of whom are adults. In 1973, he married a woman named Sharon Marie Huddle. The two are now divorced.

Image Source: Bryan Patrick for

DeAngelo Jr worked as a police officer in the city of Auburn, which is in California. He was fired in 1979 for shoplifting from a drug store in Sacramento. At the time, Auburn City Manager Jack Sausser stated that DeAngelo did not respond to the city’s investigations; as a result, there were justifiable reasons to remove the man from the public sector.

From roughly 1973 to 1976, according to records, he was a police officer in the city of Exeter, California.


Prior to that—at least according to an old newspaper article—DeAngelo Jr was in the Navy. He left the Navy in 1967.

Image Source: U.S Navy photo

Law enforcement believes he committed at least some of his crimes while he was serving as a police officer.

According to jail records, DeAngelo Jr is currently at the Sacramento County Main jail; he is ineligible for bail.

Schubert said law enforcement knew it was looking for a needle in a haystack; however, she said, it also knew the needle was there. Law enforcement found the needle in the haystack, and it just happened to be in Sacramento.

She added that the answer was always going to be in DNA.

Tony Rackauckas, the district attorney for Orange County, said that law enforcement is going to make sure that DeAngelo Jr never gets out of jail. During a recent press conference, he pointed out that the killer has managed to live in a nice suburb of Sacramento.

Bruce Harrington’s brother Keith Harrington and sister-in-law Patrice were purportedly killed by the Golden State Killer back in 1980; Bruce showed up at the news briefing to offer thoughts to the victims.

He said that the 51 women who were brutally raped should sleep better, as the Golden State Killer is not coming through the window. The man is jail and is now history.

The FBI states that the Golden State Killer created terror in southern California between the years of 1976 and 1986. The killer’s crimes began in the summer of ’76; it all began with burglaries and rapes in the city of Rancho Cordova as well as Carmichael.

The killer would access homes by prying open a door or window while the intended victims were sleeping. He would shine a light in the face of his victims before tying up female victims. If a male was present, the killer would also tie him up before he raped the female victim and ransacked the home.

According to detectives, the Golden State Killer would take items from the homes—such as coins or jewelry; some victims claimed that the killer would call them after the crime was committed.


Written by Kevin Barrett

Kevin Barrett is an award-winning reporter currently residing in one of the many suburbs of Philadelphia. In addition to working in journalism, he was worked in higher education and logistics. He is single, but does have a distracting little dog who keeps him from achieving maximum productivity.

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