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The Golden State Killer: A Reflection of the Past and Hope for the future

Christina Suarez, Staff Writer

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The man who’s terrorized California for over a decade, and has vanished for 40 years, finally has a face and a name. Deemed the Golden State Killer for his innumerable brutalities, he murdered or more accurately described as “slain” 12 people, raped 45 people, and robbed more than 120 homes in California. The accused suspect is Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 72, a former police officer who was arrested April 24, 2018, on account for two murders in Sacramento county in 1978. After a long, and somewhat controversial process of hunting for DNA matches through crime scene comparison and widely public genealogy databases to narrow down to a handful of possible suspects. It is extremely remarkable and frightening to think this man has been free for such an extended period of time after his crimes were committed. Instances as shocking as the Golden State killer call into question the effectiveness of the Justice System, what methods need to be retired, and what needs to be improved.
DeAngelo was a police officer in two different departments, one in Exeter, California from 1973 to 1976, and in Auburn from 1976 to 1979 where he was then fired. The termination of his career was due to his actions’ when he was arrested for stealing a can of dog repellant and a hammer from a drug store. Who would’ve known that same year on December 30, he would commit his first murder, killing an orthopedic surgeon Robert Manning and psychologist Alexandria Manning. DeAngelo’s victims ranged widely in age all the way from 13 to 41, his target wasn’t specific enough so people could feel safe, everyone felt as if they could be next. The Golden State Killer inflicted the Sunshine state into a constant state of fear, this fostered the belief of an unpredictable world with a lack of control and safety. The case itself is valuable to law enforcement to evolve into using innovative techniques to catch a criminal who’s been out in the world, free, this could build hope in finding other anonymous sequenced killers like the Zodiac. Distinguishing details about DeAngelo’s behavior was his tendency to take expensive jewelry and his obscure placement of dishes throughout the home. In addition, he would break into houses in the middle of the night, and it was usually women who lived alone, however, there were some incidents with couples. Despite the natural instinct of the public to think a killer is a sociopath, it isn’t surprising, DeAngelo was a police officer. When building the case, investigators had stated the man was most likely someone with military experience and someone who understood the law. Neighbors of the accused rapist and killer recall his perfectionist nature just looking at the state of his house and landscape, according to the Los Angeles Times. However, neighbors also report some disturbing facts about his odd outbursts, and inexplicable behavior where he would be in a fit of rage just yelling at the sky.
After nearly 40 years of blood-curdling worry and fear of this man, he has finally been arrested and the court is looking to pursue the death penalty for all 12 of his murders. California is one step closer to reclaiming its name of the Golden State, without the word killer attached. May this case be remembered and exploited to its full advantage in researching innovative technology and maximizing all resources to the benefit of pursuing rightful justice.

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The Golden State Killer: A Reflection of the Past and Hope for the future