SACRAMENTO, California — A former police officer has been arrested for a notorious spree of murders, rapes, and burglaries in the 1970s and 80s.
Suspect Joseph James DeAngelo, 72 is arrested, said Sacramento police.
The suspect has been living in the Sacramento area and was identified after new efforts to solve the case, investigators say.
The suspect, so-called Golden State Killer, is blamed for 12 murders, 51 rapes, and more than 120 burglaries.
Mr. DeAngelo is being held on suspicion of four counts of murder – the 1978 deaths of Brian and Katie Maggiore in Sacramento and the 1980 killings of Charlene and Lyman Smith in Ventura County.
Prosecutors say additional charges are likely to follow.
Police About the Case
Police had been monitoring the suspect and used “discarded DNA” to match him to the crimes, according to Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones.
Announcing the arrest, Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said: “The answer has always been in Sacramento.”
“The magnitude of this case demanded that it be solved,” she added.
Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten said that prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty.
Two years ago, the FBI offered a $50,000 (£36,000) reward to anyone who could help crack the case.
What Should We Know About the “Golden State Killer”?
According to local news, he had been living with his daughter and granddaughter in the city’s Citrus Heights neighborhood.
After he was charged with shoplifting, he was fired from the Auburn Police Department in 1979, according to the Auburn Journal.
Police say it was “very likely” that he was committing these crimes while employed as a police officer.
He had also worked as an officer in Exeter, California from 1973 to 1976, during a time when several crimes were committed there, police say.
What were the crimes?
The Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist, Original Night Stalker, and the Diamond Knot Killer is believed to have carried out rapes and murders between 1976 and 1986, killing girls and women aged between 12 and 41.
Prosecutors say the “reign of terror” began in Sacramento and spread to San Francisco and then on to central and southern California. Links between the cases were established by DNA evidence, police say.
The attacker broke into homes at night and then tied up and raped his female victims.
Before fleeing he stole items such as cash, jewelry, and identification.
The last case to be linked to the Golden State Killer was the rape and murder of an 18-year-old woman in Irvine, Orange County, in May 1986.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said the suspect had been called many names but added: “Today, it’s our pleasure to call him ‘, defendant’.”