Santiago Mejia / AFP via Getty Images
The former police officer known as the Golden State Killer was sent today to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Joseph James DeAngelo, now 74, admitted to committing more than a dozen murders in the 1970s and ’80s after investigators identified him as a suspect using public genealogy websites to trace his DNA.
DeAngelo pleaded guilty in June to 13 murders and 13 rape-related charges. He also admitted to dozens more murders and rapes that were beyond the statute of limitations, The Associated Press reports.
The string of long-unsolved murders made headlines in 2018 after law enforcement officers announced they identified DeAngelo as the suspect using DNA from a no-frills genealogy website to crack the case.
Investigators used the DNA evidence from one of the murder scenes to create a profile of the killer, which they then uploaded to the genealogy website. That site linked the killer’s profile to a distant relative of DeAngelo. Law enforcement confirmed the link by collecting DeAngelo’s DNA from his car door and a discarded tissue.
A plea deal that DeAngelo’s attorneys struck with prosecutors meant that DeAngelo was able to avoid the death penalty.