Golden State Killer: How was the Golden State Killer caught?

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I’ll Be Gone in the Dark airs every Sunday evening on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic in the UK.  The six part series follows the work of the late Michelle McNamara, who drew attention to the Golden State Killer on her true crime blog, True Crime Diaries. After decades of hunting for The Golden State Killer, on Monday, June 29, the Golden State Killer pleaded guilty to 13 murders in a Sacramento court room but how was he caught? has everything you need to know.

How was the Golden State Killer caught?

The Golden State Killer, real name Joseph DeAngelo, has finally admitted to comitting 13 murders.

He also admitted to numerous other rapes, burgalries and other crimes, according to a BBC report.

The Golden State Killer made the confession in a plea deal with US prosecutors to avoid the death penalty. 

DeAngelo is believed to have committed approximately 13 murders, more than 50 rapes and at least 100 burglaries in California between 1974 and 1986.

Due to California’s statute of limiations on pre-2017 limiations, DeAngelo could not be charged with the rapes he may have comitted in the 1970s.

Nevertheless, he was charged with 13 releted kidnapping and abduction attempts and committing 13 murders.

The Guardian reported as part of the plea deal, he admitted to crimes he had not been formally charged with, including rape.

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  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: Who is the Golden State Killer?

He was known under the various orther nicknames such as the East Area Rapist, Visalia Ransacker, East Bay Rapist, Diamond Knot Killer and Original Night Stalker.

In 2001, DNA testing confirmed the East Area Rapist, who committed the crimes in the Sacramento area and the Original Night Stalker who operated in and around southern California were the same people.

True crime author Michelle McNamara interest in the golden state killer began in 2006 when she set up her own website

She began by focusing on the unsolved murder of Kathleen Lombardo, who lived two blocks away from McNamara when she was younger.


She coined the nickname Golden State Killer in 2013 and has been credited with drawing public attention to the case.

The documentary also uses archival footage and police files as well as exclusive new interviews with detectives, survivors and family members of the killer.

DeAngelo, a Navy vereran and former police officer as arrested by police in 2018, after his DNA was found as a match on a genealogy website. 

The investgators had created a family tree which reached back to the 1800s and through forenic genetic genealogy, he was eventually indentified as a suspect. 

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They then collected a piece of rubbish DeAngelo had thrown away and tested the sample for his DNA.

In the end, DeAngelo’s DNA was found on items recovered from several crime scenes.

Speaking at a press conference following the arrest of DeAngelo, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert  said: “We all knew as part of this team that we were looking for a needle in a haystack, but we also all knew that the needle was there.

We found the needle in the haystack and it was here in Sacramento.”

She added: “This was a true convergence of emerging technology and dogged determination by detectives.

In this case justice was delayed. It wasn’t swift but it will be sure.”

Since his arrest, he has been kept in isolation in a Sacramento jail.

He will be sentenced in August a second hearing where victim impact statements will be heard.


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DeAngelo is expected to be sentenced in prison. will update this article when more information is available.

Sadly, in 2016 McNamara died of an accidental overdose while writing her book, I’ll Be Gone In the Dark based on her investigation into the Golden State Killer. She was 46-years-old.

Her book was finished by researcher Paul Haynes, journalist Billy Jensen, and McNamara’s husband, comedian Patton Oswalt.

The documentary, I’ll Be Gone In The Dark on HBO and Skyis told mainly from McNamara’s perspective, through exclusive original recordings and excerpts from her book read by actor Amy Ryan.

The documentary also uses archival footage and police files as well as exclusive new interviews with detectives, survivors and family members of the killer.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark airs Sundays on HBO and Sky Atlantic

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