Golden State Killer Suspect Wants to Plead Guilty

But he wants the death penalty taken off the table, lawyers say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2020 2:14 AM CST
Golden State Killer Suspect Wants to Plead Guilty
In this May 29, 2018 photo, former police officer Joseph DeAngelo, accused of being the Golden State Killer, stands in a Sacramento, Calif., jail court as a judge weighs how much information to release about his arrest.   (Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP, Pool, File)

After allegedly murdering at least 13 people, former police officer Joseph DeAngelo is now trying to save his own life. Lawyers for the alleged Golden State Killer say he has offered to plead guilty to the 26 charges against him as long as he receives a life sentence instead of the death penalty, the New York Times reports. In a court motion filed in Sacramento County Superior Court this week, public defenders Joseph Cress and Alice Michel said they were entering not guilty pleas "against defendant's desires." DeAngelo "is 74 years old," they wrote. “He has offered to plead to the charges with a lifetime sentence."

DeAngelo is also believed to have committed at least 50 rapes, along with kidnapping and weapons offenses, in the 1970s and 1980s. He was arrested in 2018 after police compared DNA from crime scenes to information submitted to genealogy websites. He is accused of committing crimes in six counties—Sacramento, Contra Costa, Orange, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura—and his defense lawyers argue that it would be fairest to have a separate trial in each one, KCRA reports. In this week's motion, they said they would prefer to "reach a resolution of the case that avoids a trial, satisfies all parties, and provides a more immediate resolution of the case." Prosecutors say "nothing has changed" since they announced last year that they were seeking the death penalty. (Read more Golden State Killer stories.)

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