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‘The bogeyman gone’: California’s ‘Golden State Killer’ sentenced to life in prison

An aerial view of Pelican Bay State Prison near Crescent City in California

Joseph James DeAngelo is wheeled into the court during the third day of victim impact statements at the Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Courthouse, in Sacramento, Calif., on August 20, 2020.

'I've listened to all your statements.

The sentencing on Friday was delivered by Honorary Judge Michael Bowman in the Sacramento Superior Court in California, where victims' families had gathered to hear the sentence. 'And I'm truly sorry for everyone I've hurt'.

DeAngelo's lawyers attempted to paint a picture of the former police officer, who has three daughters and grandchildren, as a family man, and said they hoped that by confessing to his crimes he "has provided some peace to their survivors and their loved ones".

The identity of the Golden State Killer remained a mystery, his crimes unsolved, for decades until DeAngelo's arrest in Sacramento County on April 24, 2018.

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.

The rapes and killings DeAngelo was convicted of stretched from 1975 to 1986 and spanned such a wide geographical area that authorities initially thought multiple people were responsible. "Thank you, your honor", he said.

DeAngelo, wearing a long-sleeve white shirt over his orange jumpsuit, rose and removed his face mask to briefly speak before being sentenced, saying.

"Over four decades - that's a long time to wait for justice", said Diana Becton, the Contra Costa County District Attorney, where some of DeAngelo's crimes occurred.

DeAngelo's victims were so numerous the sentencing hearing was staged in a Sacramento State University ballroom to accommodate them and offer social distancing to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

"The defendant deserves no mercy", Mr Bowman said.