Golden State Killer/East Area Rapist suspect in court as his lawyers call for long delay

A gaunt Joseph DeAngelo returned to a Sacramento courtroom Thursday, accused in the slew of rapes and murders that terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Golden State Killer/East Area Rapist suspect appeared at a status hearing during which his legal team called for a long delay as they dig into the mountainous evidence amassed so far.

“There are volumes of discovery we’ve received,” Supervising Sacramento County Public Defender Diane Howard told reporters outside court at Sacramento County Main Jail as they prepared to meet with DeAngelo.

Arrested in April 2018, DeAngelo faces 13 murder counts and 13 counts tied to sexual assaults in six counties: Sacramento, Contra Costa, Orange, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura. Prosecutors from those counties are working together to try the former police officer and Citrus Heights man in Sacramento.

He faces two murder counts in Sacramento, one in Tulare County, four in Orange County, four in Santa Barbara County and two in Ventura County.

DeAngelo also faces 13 kidnap for robbery charges — nine in Sacramento and four in Contra Costa County — stemming from sexual assaults.

Prosecutors in Sacramento, Orange, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties said in April this year that despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s moratorium on capital punishment, they would pursue the death penalty if he is convicted in any of the 12 slayings that occurred there.

DeAngelo’s next appearance in Sacramento Superior Court was scheduled for Jan. 22.

Howard would not comment on DeAngelo’s physical appearance. Lumbering and heavyset in his earliest court appearances, DeAngelo has shed considerable weight since.

As throughout the year of hearings, the rows of Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman’s courtroom were filled to capacity; media photographers lined the wall near Bowman’s bench.

One of the throng in the rear of the gallery muttered a bitter farewell as bailiffs escorted DeAngelo out of the courtroom’s holding cell: “Bastard,” she said. “Rot in hell.”

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Darrell Smith covers courts and California news for The Sacramento Bee. He joined The Bee in 2006 and previously worked at newspapers in Palm Springs, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Marysville. A Sacramento Valley native, Smith was born and raised at Beale Air Force Base, near Marysville.