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Golden State Killer DeAngelo gets surprise visit in court

Carson-Sandler described the difficulty she had trying to recover from her trauma, how she turned to alcohol at one point, then found religion, earned a nursing degree and spent 30 years in the air force, retiring as a colonel.

“You didn’t destroy my life in your cowardly, cruel and sick behaviour,” she said, adding that as a christian, one-quarter of her wanted mercy for his soul.

“But then there’s three-quarters of me that wants to say to you, ‘buddy, just rot in hell’.”

And then she said she had brought a friend along, Bonnie, the woman whose name DeAngelo cried out during one of his assaults.

Bonnie stood up in the front row, smiling and staring at the man she left decades before.

He never acknowledged the presence of either, staring silently ahead at a courtroom wall as he had for much of Tuesday’s hearing.

Wednesday marked a second straight day to allow survivors of his rapes to confront him face to face, one of the final steps before he is sent off to prison for the rest of his life, and was devoted to hearing from survivors of DeAngelo’s rapes in Yolo, San Joaquin, Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties.

One San Joaquin County couple, Robert and Gay Hardwick, recalled the night in 1978 that DeAngelo broke into their home and the lasting pain it caused.

In this undated photo released by the FBI shows artist renderings of a serial killer and rapist, also known as the "East Area Rapist" and "Golden State Killer" from 1976 to 1986.

In this undated photo released by the FBI shows artist renderings of a serial killer and rapist, also known as the “East Area Rapist” and “Golden State Killer” from 1976 to 1986. Credit:AP

“What a gut punch it was that I had been brutally raped by a full-time police officer,” Gay Hardwick said. “To learn that DeAngelo, who was sworn to serve and protect, used his skill set to terrorise and rape. Yes, that was staggering.”

She called him a “seeming puny coward before us today,” and said she could not understand what would drive someone to such depths of depravity.

“I’ve heard that he may have been abused as a child, that he experienced sad things in his life, that he had to move around a lot, that his fiancee jilted him,” she said. “But a lot of people go through bad times, and they don’t become serial rapists and murderers.”

Her husband described his “fantasy sentence” for DeAngelo, one that would send him “to the toughest prison in the state”, where three or four nights-a-week masked inmates carrying flashlights and shanks would have access to him.

“I would not want him to die,” Hardwick said. “I would want him to suffer the rest of his life like the victims, the rape victims have suffered for the past 42 years.”

Some victims had their statements read by prosecutors, including one whose statement said coming to court “would be a waste of my time”.

Others complained that they had not been kept apprised of developments or court dates, that they learned of the arrest on the news.

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And some took pity on DeAngelo’s ex-wife, his daughters and granddaughter.

“They don’t deserve to live a life full of shame due to your despicable actions,” Carson-Sandler said.

Wednesday’s hearing follows an anguishing and emotional four-hour session Tuesday during which victims of his Sacramento-area rape spree – the one that earned him the nickname as the East Area Rapist, an attacker who terrorized the region in the 1970s – denounced, belittled and ridiculed him as he sat silently, refusing to make eye contact or even look in their direction.

So far, he has been cursed at, called a “monster,” “pathetic,” “subhuman” and “evil” by the women he raped and family members whose loved ones say their lives were torn apart by him.

DeAngelo is scheduled to return to court Thursday (US time) for what is expected to be a particularly painful day, as family members of the 13 people he murdered will be given their chance to describe the impact he has had on their lives, a series of killings that began during the Visalia Ransacker crimes in the 1970s and ended in Southern California in 1986, after which he became known as the Golden State Killer.

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DeAngelo pleaded guilty in June to 13 murders, 13 counts of kidnap for robbery related to his rapes and admitted responsibility for 53 attacks involving 87 different victims in 11 counties.

His plea deal allowed him to escape the death penalty, and he is set to be formally sentenced to life without possibility of parole in a hearing Friday that will be moved to a meeting room at Sacramento State to accommodate survivors, media and prosecutors.

The Sacramento Bee

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