SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Golden State Killer, a former police officer in California who eluded capture for four decades, was sentenced to 11 terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole Friday on the final day of court hearings.
The judge said that DeAngelo was given the maximum possible sentence according to the law in California. While the judge did say DeAngelo was sentenced to life 26 times, he clarified how the terms will be served. DeAngelo must serve 11 life terms without parole, another life term, plus eight more years. He must also register as a sex offender.
The room broke out into applause after the sentencing was handed out.
Victims and families got to be present for the sentencing of DeAngelo after three days of reading impact statements about how DeAngelo changed their lives. Today the district attorneys got to speak ahead of the sentencing.
Golden State Killer Joseph James DeAngelo sentenced to multiple counts of life in prison
"It's been 16,417 days since Joseph DeAngelo started his reign of terror," said Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. "For those in Sacramento, it's been 44 years, two months and four days since the first rape."
"We knew we could get him," said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. "Today was a sentencing meant for the victims, who can now be set free."
Each district attorney talked about what the victims' stories and statements meant to them and what it meant now that the Golden State Killer was caught and sentenced.
Watch Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert make her statement to the Court:
Spitzer thought life terms were not enough for DeAngelo.
"I believe this person, not even a person, this beast, deserved the ultimate punishment of death," he said.
But all the district attorneys wanted to make sure people knew that this was still about the victims.
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley wanted to make sure families of victims knew that the victims loved them in life.
"Now that this case is finally over, focus on the details of that love," she said. "Allow those memories to make you smile again."
Spitzer said how the 13 victims killed by DeAngelo were watching the sentencing with them.
"For the victims whose voices have been stolen and family members who ran out of time and could not be here today, there are 13 angels watching us today. They are with us right now," he said.
Family members of DeAngelo submitted statements to the court that were read by his defense attorneys. Many talked about how DeAngelo was so kind and they could not imagine him doing any of those crimes.
One niece offered her sympathy to the victims and their families and said that she "did not know the person known as the Golden State Killer," but her uncle that she always loved. His actions did change her view of people.
"I will never be the same trusting person," she said in the statement.
But perhaps the most surprsing thing about the sentencing was that DeAngelo got up to apologize to the families and victims.
"I’ve listened to all your statements, each one of them and I’m really sorry to everyone I’ve hurt," he said.
Watch Golden State Killer Joseph James DeAngelo's apology:
This past June, Joseph James DeAngelo admitted to 13 murders and nearly 50 rapes between 1975 and 1986. All told, he admitted to harming 87 victims in 53 separate crimes scenes spanning 11 California counties in a plea deal that spares him the death penalty.
Tearful family members of people killed by Joseph DeAngelo assailed him Thursday for stealing away their loved ones as he escalated his attacks from burglaries and rapes to horrific murders that terrorized California four decades ago.
Earlier this week, a judge heard testimony from dozens of rape victims who endured sadistic, hours-long assaults by DeAngelo, whose serial crimes as the East Area Rapist began in the Sacramento region.
Since death row isn’t an option for DeAngelo, some of his victims want him sent to the toughest possible prison in California to live in daily terror of other inmates. But they may not have much say over where or how the 74-year-old former police officer is imprisoned after he is sentenced on Friday.
State corrections officials said they must make their own evaluation about where and how the man known as the Golden State Killer can be housed.
A look at the crimes of Joseph DeAngelo, also known as the East Area Rapist and Original Night Stalker, and when the occurred.