The Process of Sending the Golden State Killer to Prison

He’s managed to dodge death row. Here’s what will happen instead.


“I did all those things,” Ho said DeAngelo muttered. “I’ve destroyed all their lives, so now I’ve got to pay the price.”

This is how we’ve typically seen him. Credit: AP News

Joseph DeAngelo has pled guilty to 13 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of kidnapping. He also admitted guilt in 62 other crimes, including rapes, robbery, and more. These crimes weren’t charged because the statute of limitations protected him from prosecution.¹ Before his plea, special circumstances were attached, which meant the death penalty if guilty.²

I’m on the record as being opposed to the death penalty. As you might think, my opposition has little relevance to what was going to happen. The charges were filed, and the death penalty was in play. Had we stayed on our pre-Coronavirus path, he was on pace for trial and would have been convicted and incarcerated on death row at San Quentin.

Death row versus LWOP (Life Without Parole)

Our Death Row had nearly 750 inmates. We have the “largest death row in the United States.” Death row housing has been shifting as San Quentin experienced a tremendous Covid outbreak this spring. Setting aside the irony that death row inmates might die from Covid, it’s resulted in many getting mixed into the general population in other state-run prisons. You can see the list of California death row tenants; some of these men have been on the row for more than 30 years.

But DeAngelo took a plea.

The “party line” is he took it to avoid the death penalty, but that’s bogus logic. Many survivors think he pled because there are secrets he doesn’t want revealed. My hypothesis is he is protecting his girls. We’ll likely never understand his motivation. His plea entitles him to life without parole, or LWOP as the prosecutors’ quip as they explained this next park.

The next acronym they used is “PC,” protective custody.

PC is a group of inmates segregated from the general prison population for their safety. Prisoners who feel physically threatened by other inmates can request protective…



Jennifer Carole Visit

Trauma & Leadership Coach. Writer. Crafter. A Master's in strategic comm has served me in Silicon Valley as a marketer; my current passion is cybersecurity!