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'Mumbling' Golden State Killer Suspect Arraigned

The man suspected of being one of California's most elusive serial killers is on suicide watch and talking to himself.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP/KNX1070) - The man accused of being the Golden State Killer did not enter a plea during his first court appearance.

Joseph James DeAngelo was arraigned Friday in Sacramento County Superior Court on two counts of murder.

He was handcuffed in a wheelchair and five police officers surrounded him as he listened to the judge with his eyes barely open.

A court official read the details of the charges that DeAngelo is facing and a judge asked if he had a lawyer.

In a frail voice, DeAngelo responded, "I have a lawyer." An attorney from the public defender's office was with him in court.

DeAngelo appeared in a wheelchair and was wearing an orange jumpsuit.

DeAngelo has been denied bail.

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones has said DeAngelo was in a psychiatric ward of the county jail and has said little. Jones says there's been "quiet reflection" and mumbling.

Will Jurisdiction Battle Ensue for Golden State Killer? 

The alleged Golden State Killer is now in custody, but since his 12-year crime spree happened in numerous California counties could that set up a jurisdiction battle, over who tries the case ? Or, does it mean numerous trials spread out across the state? 

KNX put that question to former L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley:

Cooley says the methods used to gather DNA in this case, appears to be much the same as that used in the Grim-Sleeper case and led to the conviction of serial killer Lonnie Franklin Junior 2-years ago. 

'Golden State Killer' Captured after 40-Year Manhunt

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP/CNS) - Authorities in California announced Wednesday the arrest of the Golden State Killer they say committed at least 14 homicides, 45 rapes and dozens of burglaries across the state in the 1970s and 1980s.

Investigators say Joseph DeAngelo was linked through DNA and other evidence to more than 175 crimes in all, between 1976 and 1986. 

A woman who was sexually assaulted in California in 1976 by a man believed to be the East Area Rapist and who now lives in South Carolina told The Island Packet newspaper Wednesday that she has been contacted by detectives about an arrest.

"I'm overwhelmed with joy. I've been crying, sobbing," the woman said.

DeAngelo, 72, a former police officer, was arrested Tuesday in the Citrus Heights area of Northern California. 

FBI and California officials in 2016 renewed their search for the suspect dubbed the East Area Rapist and announced a $50,000 reward for his arrest and conviction. 

"We found the needle in they haystack, and it was right here in Sacramento," Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.

As he committed crimes across the state, authorities called him by different names. He was dubbed the East Area Rapist after his start in Northern California, the Original Night Stalker after a series of Southern California slayings, and the Diamond Knot Killer for using the elaborate tie used to bind two of his victims.

DeAngelo was also charged Wednesday with capital murder for the March 1980 killings in Ventura County of Lyman and Charlene Smith. Lyman Smith was a lawyer, and his wife was a court clerk. The pair were bludgeoned to death in their home.

"This 1980 murder has long been a source of fear and angst," Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten said.

Most recently called the Golden State Killer, the suspect has been linked through DNA and other evidence to scores of crimes.

Authorities decided to again publicize the case in 2016 in advance of the 40th anniversary of his first known assault in Sacramento County.

Armed with a gun, the masked rapist would break into homes while single women or couples were sleeping. He would tie up the man and pile dishes on his back, then rape the woman while threatening to kill them both if the dishes tumbled.

He often took souvenirs, notably coins and jewelry, from his victims, who ranged in age from 13 to 41.

The investigation into the case gained renewed interest with the recent publication of the book "I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer" by writer Michelle McNamara, the late wife of actor/comedian Patton Oswalt. McNamara died in 2016 while working on the book, but Oswalt helped finish the work, which was released earlier this year.

"She would be beyond excited about this," Oswalt wrote on his Twitter page when news of the arrest broke. "I think this is the definition of `bittersweet."'

McNamara's book includes a passage envisioning the scene when the killer is ultimately arrested, saying he would hear a car pulling up outside and "footsteps coming up your front walk."

"The doorbell rings. No side gates are left open. You're long past leaping over a fence. Take one of your hyper, gulping breaths. Clench your teeth. Inch timidly toward the insistent bell. This is how it ends for you. `You'll be silent forever, and I'll be gone in the dark,' you threatened a victim once. Open the door. Show us your face. Walk into the light."