HBO’s new crime documentary, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, has got viewers hooked.
Based on Michelle McNamara’s crime novel of the same title, the six-part series looks at the crimes committed by The Golden State Killer from 1974 to 1986.
The Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist and the Visalia Ransacker, was responsible for a shocking amount of crimes throughout the state of California. He is thought to have committed at least 13 murders and over 50 rapes.
So who exactly is he?
Who is The Golden State Killer?
The Golden State Killer actually went by three names – first, the Visalia Ransacker when his crime spree was limited to burglaries, the East Area Rapist, or the Original Night Stalker when he moved to Scaramento, and finally, The Golden State Killer.
During the 70s and 80s, the GSK spent his days scoping out his targeted house, always focusing on the quiet and peaceful suburbs. Initially, when he began raping his victims he avoided houses with large dogs or husbands, however, this changed after media reports tried to summarise his behaviour resulting in him deciding to then target couples.
He was known for binding and blinding his couples, before stacking dishes on the man and threatening that he’d murder both if he heard any dishes rattle as he proceeded to rape the helpless women.
Was the Golden State Killer ever found?
Thanks to the police and McNamara’s hard work, he was eventually found in 2018.
Roughly two months after the release of McNamara’s book, a man named Joseph James DeAngelo was arrested.
A U.S. navy veteran and former police officer, DeAngelo’s life and moves throughout California almost perfectly match the Golden State Killer’s crime spree.
During the decades-long investigation, several suspects were cleared through DNA evidence, alibi, or other investigative methods.
In 2001, however, DNA testing indicated that the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker were the same person. The case was a factor in the establishment of California’s DNA database, which collects DNA from all accused and convicted felons in California and has been called second only to Virginia’s in effectiveness in solving cold cases.
The FBI and local law-enforcement agencies held a news conference on June 15th 2016, to announce a renewed nationwide effort, offering a $50,000 (£40,000) reward for his capture.
On April 24, 2018, DeAngelo was charged with eight counts of first-degree murder based on DNA evidence as well as 13 kidnapping counts.
The police were able to find him due to the recent surge of DNA ancestry testing, something that McNamara long suspected would eventually bring him down.
Where is The Golden State Killer now?
Since his charge, DeAngelo has been kept in isolation in a Sacramento jail.
On Monday 29th June 2020, a hearing took place at the Sacramento State University auditorium.
Prosecutors noted his alleged crimes had all taken place between 34 and 45 years ago and called the geographical scope “simply staggering”.
DeAngelo, 74, is expected to be sentenced to life in prison in August at a second court hearing, where people hurt by his crimes will be allowed to read victim impact statements.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is now available to watch on HBO. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide. If you want to read I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, head over to Amazon now.