'Golden State Killer' suspect charged with four more murders

A retired police officer who investigators believe is the "Golden State Killer," who terrorized California during the 1970s and the 1980s, was charged Thursday with four more counts of murder, bringing the number of slayings he is charged with to 12.

"Violent cold cases never grow cold for their victims or loved ones," Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley said at a news conference to announce the charges of first-degree murder against Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, who was a police officer in the California towns of Exeter and Auburn during the 1970s.

DeAngelo was arrested April 24 at his home in the Citrus Heights suburb of Sacramento. He has also been charged with four killings in Orange County, two in Ventura County and two in Sacramento County, and he is scheduled to appear in court in Sacramento on Monday.

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Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, who authorities said was identified by DNA evidence as the serial predator dubbed the Golden State Killer, appears at his arraignment in California Superior court in Sacramento, California, U.S., April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
An investigator puts evidence bags in a sheriff's vehicle after removing them from the home of Joseph James Deangelo, who was arrested for the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker/Golden State Killer case in Citrus Heights, California, U.S., April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
Melanie Barbeaux holds a photo of victims of the Golden State Killer in the courtroom as Joseph James DeAngelo, who authorities said was identified by DNA evidence as the serial predator dubbed the Golden State Killer, appears at his arraignment in California Superior court in Sacramento, California, U.S., April 27, 2018. Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench/Pool via REUTERS
A combination image shows FBI sketches of an unknown individual known as the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer (EAR/GSK) described as a White male, currently thought to be between the ages of 60 and 75 years old, shown in sketches released on June 15, 2016. Between 1976 and 1986, this individual was responsible for approximately 45 rapes, 12 homicides, and multiple residential burglaries throughout the State of California. FBI/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
An unknown individual known as the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer described as a White male, currently thought to be between the ages of 60 and 75 years old, is shown in this FBI sketch released on June 15, 2016. Between 1976 and 1986, this individual was responsible for approximately 45 rapes, 12 homicides, and multiple residential burglaries throughout the State of California. FBI/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
An investigator removes items in evidence bags from the home of Joseph James Deangelo, who was arrested for the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker/Golden State Killer case in Citrus Heights, California, U.S., April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
Sheriff's crime scene tape surrounds the house belonging to Joseph James Deangelo, who was arrested for the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker/Golden State Killer case in Citrus Heights, California, U.S., April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
An unknown individual known as the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer described as a White male, currently thought to be between the ages of 60 and 75 years old, is shown in this FBI sketch released on June 15, 2016. Between 1976 and 1986, this individual was responsible for approximately 45 rapes, 12 homicides, and multiple residential burglaries throughout the State of California. FBI/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
A police officer removes items in evidence bags from the home of Joseph James Deangelo, who was arrested for the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker/Golden State Killer case in Citrus Heights, California, U.S., April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
Sheriff's crime scene tape surrounds the house belonging to Joseph James Deangelo, who was arrested for the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker/Golden State Killer case in Citrus Heights, California, U.S., April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones talks about the arrest of a suspect in the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker/Golden State Killer case in Sacramento, California, U.S., April 25, 2018. Jones along with Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, law enforcement leaders, the FBI and other elected District Attorneys from several other California counties participated in the news conference announcing the arrest of Joseph James Deangelo. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
An FBI evidence response team member walks into the garage of Joseph James Deangelo where other investigators were looking for evidence after Deangelo was arrested for the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker/Golden State Killer case in Citrus Heights, California, U.S., April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
An unknown individual known as the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer described as a White male, currently thought to be between the ages of 60 and 75 years old, is shown in this FBI sketch released on June 15, 2016. Between 1976 and 1986, this individual was responsible for approximately 45 rapes, 12 homicides, and multiple residential burglaries throughout the State of California. FBI/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
SACRAMENTO, CA - APRIL 27: Joseph James DeAngelo, the suspected 'Golden State Killer', appears in court for his arraignment on April 27, 2018 in Sacramento, California. DeAngelo, a 72-year-old former police officer, is believed to be the East Area Rapist who killed at least 12 people, raped over 45 women and burglarized hundreds of homes throughout California in the 1970s and 1980s. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Joseph James DeAngelo is taken on a wheel chair into the courtroom to be arraigned on two counts of murder April 27, 2018, in Sacramento, California. I - Investigators have accused him of of being the 'Golden State Killer,' who is suspected of committing more than 50 rapes and 12 murders. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage / AFP) (Photo credit should read ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - APRIL 27: Joseph James DeAngelo, (L) the suspected 'Golden State Killer', appears in court for his arraignment before Judge Michael Sweet (R), on April 27, 2018 in Sacramento, California. DeAngelo, a 72-year-old former police officer, is believed to be the East Area Rapist who killed at least 12 people, raped over 45 women and burglarized hundreds of homes throughout California in the 1970s and 1980s. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Until Thursday, however, he hadn't been charged in Santa Barbara County, where authorities believe he killed Robert Offerman and Alexandria Manning in December 1979 and Cheri Domingo and Gregory Sanchez in July 1981, Dudley said. Each of the four new counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances carries a possible sentence of death or life in prison without parole.

Dudley said all of the 12 charges were coordinated with her colleagues in the other counties, a process she called "unprecedented." She offered no further details.

From Sacramento south to the Los Angeles suburbs, the masked gunman raped women who were home alone and women who were with their children, and he killed women and men together, police have said.

Investigators have said they zeroed in on DeAngelo after scouring dozens of family trees on genealogy websites for possible DNA and profile matches. Critics of the investigative approach contend that it could jeopardize privacy rights.

Paul Holes, a retired investigator with the Contra Costa County district attorney's office who was closely linked to the case, said last month that investigators believed that DeAngelo, if he is the killer, was driven by the breakup of his engagement to a woman during the 1960s.

Holes — who retired less than a month before DeAngelo was arrested — said that when investigators began looking into his background, they found a newspaper article from the 1960s about DeAngelo's engagement to a woman whom he ended up not marrying.

"We assumed that there had been some breakup in their relationship and that possibly caused him some angst," said Holes, who described the Golden State Killer as "an anger retaliatory offender."

The killings stopped during the 1980s, but in 2016, the FBI offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the killer's arrest.

The search took on renewed urgency in February with the publication of "I'll Be Gone in the Dark," a book about the case written by Michelle McNamara, the late wife of the comedian and actor Patton Oswalt. Oswalt helped to finish the manuscript after McNamara died in 2016.

Over the objection of several news organizations, lawyers for DeAngelo have asked a judge to seal arrest and search warrant records in the case, arguing that intense public interest could jeopardize his right to a fair trial.

Dudley stressed that DeAngelo is presumed innocent pending trial, but she added: "Justice delayed is justice denied. This has been a very long process for the victims."

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