What the Golden State Killer’s Prison Life Is Really Like

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By the time Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. finished confessing to the crimes he was DNA-linked to, he had pleaded guilty to 13 murders and 13 kidnappings. But that wasn’t it: If the statute of limitations hadn’t expired, there would have been 42 more rapes, along with 161 other counts of crimes like theft, burglary and attempted murder, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Although an Orange County prosecutor involved in the case called him “the poster child of the death penalty,” DeAngelo did not get that conviction. In place, BNC News reported that DeAngelo was sentenced to consecutive life sentences without parole, and went on to say that the death penalty was taken off the table in exchange for his confession.

Admitting to the crimes, prosecutors said, was extremely important to survivors and family members. There’s also the question of his age: given that it could take 30 to 35 years to go from trial to execution and that DeAngelo was already 74, it was likely that he would die of old age in the hallway of the death (like most people awaiting the death penalty in California). Instead, the life he had left would be spent behind bars and the families would get some much-needed closure.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, help is available. Visit the National Rape, Abuse and Incest Network website or contact the RAINN National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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