The elderly man who prosecutors say terrorized California as the Golden State Killer is expected to admit he committed over a dozen murders in a bid to avoid a death sentence, according to new reports.
DeAngelo, a former Auburn police officer, was arrested in April 2018 after a decades-long search for a suspect in a grisly series of rapes and murders from 1974 through 1986.
The Times reported on Monday that multiple sources told the newspaper DeAngelo is expected to plead guilty in a Sacramento county courtroom on 29 June to avoid the death penalty.
"Almost 40 years have passed and literally some of the victims have passed away. There are foundational issues from an evidentiary standpoint", he explained. "You've got victims who have now passed away, how are they going to testify?"
DeAngelo will plead guilty to a total of 88 charges - including charges of rape and murder, according to the Sacramento Bee.
The Sacramento County District Attorney's Office declined to comment, but DeAngelo's attorney, Joseph Cress, said the plea deal could provide solace to the families of the victims. That led genealogists to a relative of DeAngelo's who had submitted DNA to the website. Keith Harrington's brother, Ron, said he was "supportive" of the decision to keep the killer behind bars for life. The armed and masked rapist would tie up the man and pile plates on his back, threatening to kill both victims if he heard the plates fall while attacking the woman.
"Victims of a crime are entitled to finality in their criminal cases, as well as the expectation that the person convicted of committing the crime will be punished", the prosecutors said.
Ski masks allegedly used by the killer.
Prosecutors said they "have a moral and ethical responsibility to consider any defense offer, given the massive scope of the case (and) the advanced age of numerous victims and witnesses".
Governor Gavin Newsom has halted executions while he is governor, although the death penalty remains legal in California.
The Golden State Killer is believed to be responsible for at least 50 rapes and 13 murders in six California jurisdictions in all. In numerous rapes, Harrington said, "the statute of limitations has run and he could not be formally charged with them, but it's my understanding he is going to formally acknowledge or plead to them as well".
The sentence can last for several days in mid-August, Harrington said, because each survivor or family member will have the opportunity to confront DeAngelo in person, by video or in writing.
However, Jennifer Carole, whose father and stepmother were killed in their home in March 1980 by the alleged killer, said the plea deal did not provide her with relief.