Archive for the ‘District Attorney’ Category

Contra Costa DA files charges in Antioch 2015 homicide cold case, three more in Concord

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Result of years-long Operation by FBI Safe Streets Task Force

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County District Attorney

Martinez, Calif. – Today, Tuesday, September 15, 2020 the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is announcing three homicide cold cases, involving multiple defendants who are gang members affiliated with the Sureños, were filed recently. The gang violence was focused in South Concord and near Monument Boulevard. This successful effort was due to the years-long investigation and operation led by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force and local partners, including Concord Police, FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office of Northern California, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms along with our Office. Two cases were filed last week, and one was filed yesterday, totaling four homicides involving 11 defendants. (See related article)

One of the homicides occurred in Antioch, and the victim was from Pittsburg, (See related article). The other three of the homicides occurred in Concord.

Operation Boulevard Blues culminated in a major law enforcement operation last Thursday that resulted in the arrest of 31 individuals and involved 31 different law enforcement agencies. Thirty-four search warrants were executed in multiple locations across Contra Costa County and 42 firearms were recovered. The details of the operation were announced earlier this morning with our federal partners.

“Our local efforts working collaboratively with our law enforcement partners, especially Concord Police, will keep our community safer and take violent gang members off the streets of Concord,” said District Attorney Diana Becton. “This successful operation started with a wiretap and led to multiple gang members involved in senseless murders and violence being arrested. While these cases were not solved right away, Concord Police and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force did not give up and fortunately we can bring some closure to the victims’ families.”

Overall, the DA’s Office filed three separate homicide complaints involving the following gang members of the Sureños – all of the alleged four homicides were done for the benefit of the gang:

  • People v. Michael Valdez, Andrew Cervantes, Daniel Rodriguez, Docket Number 01-194377-8

o   Victim is Marcos Villazon of Pittsburg, Date of Alleged Murder is November 21, 2015 in Antioch

o   Victim is Luis Estrada, Date of Alleged Murder is November 30, 2015 in Concord

  • People v. Rafael Lopez & Juan Barocio Jr., Docket Number 01-194379-4

o   Victim is Victor Gutierrez, Date of Alleged Murder is April 17, 2014 in Concord

  • People v. Jose Cisneros, Marcos Ochoa, Luis Cruz, Aurelia Mendez, Antonio Mendez, Jose Ochoa, Docket Number 01-194418-0

o   Victim is Erick Cruz, Date of Alleged Murder is September 12, 2015 in Concord

The criminal investigations because of this operation are still active and ongoing. All of the defendants charged by the DA’s Office remain in custody.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Kelly-Moore Paint agrees to $1.43 million settlement with 10 DA’s for illegal dumping of hazardous waste

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Violated state environmental protection laws

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County District Attorney

Martinez, Calif. – Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton announced Monday, a $1.43 million settlement against Kelly-Moore Paint Company (Kelly-Moore) to resolve allegations that the company violated California state laws governing hazardous waste by routinely and illegally disposing of paint colorants, paint, electronic devices, aerosol products, and other hazardous wastes into company waste bins destined for municipal landfills not authorized to accept hazardous waste. The lawsuit also resolves allegations that Kelly-Moore failed to shred customer records containing confidential information before disposal.

“My office will always strive to protect the environment and public health by holding companies accountable for violating our environmental laws. This settlement not only acts as a deterrent against other potential violators but more importantly contains injunctive provisions to ensure Kelly Moore will maintain environmental compliance into the foreseeable future.,” stated Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton.

Kelly-Moore is a retail paint company in North America. In California the company owns or operates approximately 106 retail stores, including nine stores in Contra Costa County as part of this settlement.

The investigation of Kelly-Moore was initiated by the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC). From March 2016 through December 2018, inspectors from the DTSC, and investigators from other district attorney offices statewide, conducted a series of undercover inspections of waste bins originating at 29 separate Kelly-Moore locations. These inspections found numerous instances of unlawful disposal of hazardous waste paint colorants, paint, electronic devices, aerosol products, and other hazardous wastes. Kelly-Moore also violated laws meant to protect vulnerable confidential consumer information by unlawfully disposing of customer records without having rendered personal information unreadable.

When Kelly-Moore officials were notified by the prosecutors of the unlawful disposals, they immediately agreed to cooperate with the People and promptly implemented measures and dedicated additional resources towards environmental compliance at its stores. Stores are required to properly manage hazardous waste and to retain their waste in segregated, labeled containers to minimize the risk of exposure to employees and customers and to ensure that incompatible wastes do not combine to cause dangerous chemical reactions. Hazardous waste produced by Kelly-Moore stores through damage, spills, and returns is being collected by state-registered haulers, taken to proper disposal facilities, and properly documented and accounted for.

The settlement requires a monetary payment of $1.43 million. This consists of $825,000 for civil penalties, $178,750 for supplemental environmental projects, and $425,000 for reimbursement of investigative and enforcement costs. Kelly-Moore gets a credit of $125,000 against the penalties if it undertakes at least $250,000 in environmental enhancement work not required by law. In addition, the settlement includes provisions requiring Kelly-Moore to employ a California-based compliance employee to oversee Kelly-Moore’s hazardous waste compliance program and to undergo a trash receptacle audit to ensure hazardous wastes and confidential consumer information is properly disposed of at all stores. The results of the audit must be shared with the public. The company must also comply with 28 injunctive requirements pertaining to environmental and confidential consumer information protection laws.

Joining District Attorney Becton in this lawsuit are the District Attorneys of Alameda, Monterey, Placer, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma and Yolo Counties.

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DA issues policy requiring prosecutors consider reason for looting during state of emergency before charging with crime

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

Policy issued by Contra Costa DA Diana Becton to Deputy DA’s. Courtesy of CCCDA.

Antioch Mayor Wright “disturbed” by and doesn’t “agree with this approach”; 3 arrested for theft of $20,000 of alcohol in San Pablo not charged as looting; more cases affected by policy

By Allen Payton

Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton issued a policy in June, that recently went public, requiring her Deputy DA’s assess the reason someone was looting during a state of emergency before filing charges against them. However, the policy doesn’t prevent police officers from arresting the looter, according to DA’s office spokesman, Scott Alonso. CCDA Looting Guidelines

In the document obtained by Red State News, and shared with the Herald today, reads:

Theft Offenses Committed During State of Emergency (PC 463)

In order to promote consistent and equitable filing practices the following analysis is to be applied when giving consideration to filing of PC 463 (Looting):

1. Was this theft offense substantially motivated by the state of emergency, or simply a theft offense which occurred contemporaneous to the declared state of emergency?

a. Factors to consider in making this determination:

i. Was the target business open or closed to the public during the state of emergency?
ii. What was the manner and means by which the suspect gained entry to the business?

iii. What was the nature/quantity/value of the goods targeted?

iv. Was the theft committed for financial gain or personal need?

v. Is there an articulable reason why another statute wouldn’t adequately address the particular incident?”

“I am not sure how they obtained the policy. But it is our policy,” Alonso confirmed. The policy is true but the article in Red State is highly misleading and frankly wrong.”

He then shared a link to an analysis of the policy and articles about it by Red State and other publications on the Snopes website devoted to fact checking, which has some of it’s own controversial history in getting things wrong, at times.

Alonso then clarified matters by writing, “Nothing in the guidelines prohibits the police from arresting someone for a crime. It is really important to underscore these guidelines are because of the COVID-19 shelter in place given Governor Newsom’s statewide order to declare a state of emergency. We look at if the theft is because there is a state of emergency – or is this simply an offense contemporaneous to the state of emergency. We wanted to ensure consistency across the Office in considering any criminal charges for alleged violations of PC 463. Historically, prior to COVID-19 – we could find no recent evidence that our Office had filed looting charges during a state of emergency.”

“As you know, when evaluating any criminal case our prosecutors look at the circumstances surrounding the incident,” he continued. “These guidelines are consistent with how we evaluate criminal cases. The policy does not say we won’t file these types of cases. The Red State article is incredibly misleading and frankly written from a slanted point of view. The author of the piece did not reach out to us prior to publication. I appreciate you reaching out in advance of publishing anything.”

Section 463 of the California Penal Code states that a person convicted of second-degree burglary or grand theft during a state of emergency is guilty of the crime of looting, which can be punishable by imprisonment in county jail for one year. However, alternative sentencing for someone on probation can be issued for 180 days in jail and 240 hours of community service. The crime of petty theft during a state of emergency is increased to a misdemeanor punishable by six months in county jail or 90 days in jail and 80 hours of community service.

Mayor Wright Responds

In an email sent from his re-election campaign account on Monday, Antioch Mayor Sean Wright wrote to Antioch residents with the subject line, “Unbelievable what our District Attorney just did.”

“I am disturbed by our Contra Costa County District Attorney’s announcement that our police officers must consider if looters ‘needed’ stolen property before they can charge them with looting,” he wrote. “Our DA is the first and only DA in the nation urging this kind of guidance.”

“Looting that takes place in times of emergency, such as we are going through, is against the law,” Wright continued. “According to our DA, if the looters ‘need’ an item in a retail shop, for example, it is OK for them to take that item without being charged. I don’t agree with this approach – do you? Please feel free to share your thoughts on this by clicking here to send me an email.”

He then provided a link to an article about the matter on The Daily Wire.

3 Arrested for $20,000 Theft of Alcohol Not Charged With Looting

One of the cases already affected by the policy includes three people arrested during the COVID-19 pandemic for stealing $20,000 from a beverage store in San Pablo but not charged with looting. Another case involved a woman attempting to break into an ATM during the pandemic, who was also not charged with looting.

The Contra Costa Deputy Sheriffs Association and police officers’ associations in the county are expected to issue a response to the policy, soon.

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Contra Costa DA issues joint statement on 11 criminal justice reform commitments

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

“…change needed to upend a system rooted in slavery.” – District Attorney Diana Becton

By Allen Payton

Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton. From CCC website.

In a joint commentary published on last week, Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton and four other district attorneys from across the country issued a statement on 11 criminal justice reform commitments. However, the commentary states they want to transform, not reform the system. The commentary was not sent to local media which cover Contra Costa County.

One of the points reiterates what Becton promoted in June, with other prosecutors in California, which is to ban political contributions from police unions to candidates for district attorney. However, questions to her about that issue, including asking if Becton would also support banning contributions from criminal defense attorneys, were never responded to.

The commentary begins with the claim, “Our criminal legal system was constructed to control Black people and people of color. Its injustices are not new but are deeply rooted in our country’s shameful history of slavery and legacy of racial violence. The system is acting exactly as it was intended to, and that is the problem. We should know: We’re Black, we’re female, and we’re prosecutors. We work as the gatekeepers in this flawed system.”

In that commentary, the five elected prosecutors also wrote, “ Each level of the legal system reflects a level of inherent bias, and unless we stop trying to reform the system and instead work to transform it, we will never achieve the kind of change needed to upend a system rooted in slavery. Working from within, we have begun the steps to rectify past wrongs. We are implementing policies that include declining to prosecute minor offenses, overturning wrongful convictions, refusing to take cases from officers with a history of racial bias and expunging marijuana convictions.”

“Now, we are pushing even further. We have decided to make the following 11 commitments, and we urge our fellow prosecutors to join us:

  1. Do not prosecute peaceful protesters. Citizens have a right to protest, and prosecutions can antagonize marginalized communities.
  2. Do not accept any funding from police unions. This will ensure our offices’ independence, and the ability to hold police accountable for injustice and misconduct.
  3. Require the review of all available evidence — including body-worn camera and other video footage — in cases that rest solely on the testimony of an officer. One officer’s perspective cannot guarantee the full truth, and therefore all available evidence must be reviewed for the cases that come across our desks.
  4. Ban “No Knock” warrants and reexamine our policies for issuing warrants. “No Knock” warrants are a violation of individual rights and represent an overreach of police power. They often result in unnecessary and tragic fatalities, as we saw in the case of Breonna Taylor.
  5. Hold police accountable by pursuing criminal charges against officers unlawfully using excessive force and other forms of state-sanctioned violence.Each member of law enforcement must do their part to hold officers accountable for unlawful practices and misconduct to ensure the safety of every person who comes in contact with the legal system.
  6. Expand our office policies on declining low-level offenses to cover decisions regarding charging and issuing warrants. By increasing our efforts to decline to prosecute certain low-level offenses, we can work to reverse the disproportionate impact the legal system has on Black people and low-income communities.
  7. Financially support and advocate for increases in funding to community-led and community-defined responses, restorative justice and violence prevention programs. Investing in community-led programs is crucial to addressing the racist origins of our legal system.
  8. Commit to using our office’s power and platform to advance discussions of divestment from the criminal legal system and toward community-led and community-defined responses to harm. Strong community support, restorative justice practices and diversion practices are key to dismantling the current legal system and shifting its focus from punishment toward justice.
  9. Develop grant-based community reinvestment programs to be administered in partnership with community-based partners. Community programs have proved to lessen recidivism and keep people out of contact with the criminal legal system, while keeping communities safer, overall.
  10. Solicit feedback from Black and brown community groups we were elected to serve through public, virtual forums in the next two weeks. Only by listening to the most impacted communities and advocates and bringing them to the table, will we truly understand their greatest needs and biggest challenges. Then, we will work together to rectify them.
  11. Commit to budget transparency.A budget is a moral document, and our constituents have the right to see how we allocate our budget and what we are funding to invest in community supports and safety.”

To read the entire commentary on Politico, click here.

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Contra Costa Supervisors seek applicants for two seats on Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council

Friday, August 7th, 2020

Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton (center) with the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council. Photo by CCC.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors is seeking applicants who may be interested in serving on its 19-member Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council (JJCC).

The JJCC is a multi-agency advisory body charged with creating and maintaining the County’s comprehensive Juvenile Probation Consolidated Annual Plan and coordinating county-based juvenile delinquency prevention initiatives. The state-mandated Juvenile Probation Consolidated Annual Plan is designed to improve services for Contra Costa County’s juvenile justice population by assessing existing practices and resources, identifying system needs and gaps, and prioritizing and recommending solutions.

The Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council is composed of the following 19 members:

Nine (9) ex-officio voting members:
1. Chief Probation Officer, as Chair
2. District Attorney’s Office representative
3. Public Defender’s Office representative
4. Sheriff’s Office representative
5. Board of Supervisors’ representative
6. Employment and Human Services Department representative
7. Alcohol and Other Drugs Division representative
8. Behavioral Health Division representative
9. Public Health Division representative

Ten (10) additional voting members selected and appointed by the Board of Supervisors:
10. City Police Department representative
11. County Office of Education representative
12–15. Four (4) At-Large Members, residing or working within Contra Costa County;
16–17. Two (2) Community-Based Organization representatives;
18–19. Two (2) At-Large Youth, age 14 to 21 years old, residing or working in Contra Costa County

The Board is now seeking applications for two (2) of the seats identified above:

–Two (2) Community-Based Organization representatives

This recruitment effort is for mid-term appointments to JJCC seats #16 and #17. The Board of Supervisors is looking to appoint individuals to these seats to complete the remainder of their two-year term that is set to expire on June 30, 2021.

The JJCC is expected to meet on a regular basis, at intervals to be established by the JJCC. Members will serve without compensation, stipends, or reimbursement of expenses. The community-based organization representatives should reflect the geographic, ethnic, and racial diversity of the County and should include those providing restorative justice, faith-based, or mentoring services, to justice-involved, homeless, or foster-care involved youth.

Applicants will be interviewed by the Board of Supervisors’ Public Protection Committee: Supervisors Candace Andersen, District II, and Federal Glover, District V. The nominations for the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council will then be forwarded to the full Board of Supervisors for action.

Below is a timeline of the recruitment process for the two vacancies:

  • September 18, 2020: Final Day of the Application Period, due by 5:00 p.m.
  • September 28, 2020: Public Protection Committee Meeting Interviews
  • October 6, 2020: Board of Supervisors’ Consideration of Nominees

Application forms can be obtained from the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors by calling (925) 335-1900 or by visiting the County’s webpage at Completed applications should be emailed to Applications can also be mailed to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, Room 106, County Administration Building, 651 Pine Street, Martinez, CA 94553.


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DA Becton supports closing Contra Costa Juvenile Hall, establishes Reimagine Youth Justice Task Force

Friday, August 7th, 2020

Supervisors Glover, Gioia support her efforts

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Office of the District Attorney, Contra Costa County 

Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton. From CCC website.

On Tuesday, Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton issued the following statement regarding the status of Contra Costa County’s Juvenile Hall and the Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility.

“These are historic times and we have an opportunity and a responsibility to re-imagine our justice system so that our youth have a greater chance to lead successful and enriching lives.

I am forming a Reimagine Youth Justice Task Force, which will include county departmental and community representatives, that will study and make recommendations on the most effective ways to invest in our justice involved youth through restorative, community-based solutions, with an initial focus on developing an effective process for closing Juvenile Hall.

Youth crime has been on a steady decline over the last twenty years, reinforcing the conclusion that moving away from youth incarceration is in the best interest of rehabilitation, public safety, and fiscal responsibility. Research has shown that youth can be better treated and rehabilitated in community contexts where they can retain ties to family, school, and their community. Programming and services which are based in the home or in the community are more successful at holding youth accountable and positively changing behavior than institutional settings.

Despite the steep decline in youth crime and consequent reduction in numbers of incarcerated youth, the money invested into the operation of youth prisons has not been reduced accordingly. Data shows that the average cost per incarcerated child in Contra Costa Juvenile Hall skyrocketing to over $473,000 per year.

The Reimagine Youth Justice Task Force will make explicit recommendations for financial investments in community-based services for youth instead of investing in youth prisons which have proven to result in worse outcomes for our children and families. Such an approach will allow for critical re-investments in basic needs such as housing, mental health services, and workforce development as well as support the creation of alternatives to incarcerating children in locked facilities.

In the meantime, we should pause and not take any actions to close the Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility until the Task Force has made its recommendations to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

This transition is urgent. The Task Force should finish its efforts by the end of this year and make evidence-based recommendations for the process to close Juvenile Hall to the Board of Supervisors in January 2021. The Task Force will present a proposed timeline and transition process for closing Juvenile Hall and will identify alternative investments for our public dollars into community-based services and programming for youth. Implementing these recommendations will create a safer community and help youth get on the right track in their lives.”

“I support District Attorney Becton’s efforts to reimagine youth justice in our County,” said District 1 Supervisor John Gioia. “We need to move away from institutionalization of young people and instead invest in community based restorative justice solutions which make us safer and are more fiscally responsible.”

“I applaud District Attorney Diana Becton’s effort to examine restorative justice alternatives to simply incarcerating our county’s youth,” District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover said. “The factors that lead young people to run afoul of the law are as varied as the youth themselves. In many cases a service-oriented approach will achieve much more in rehabilitating and helping them to become productive members of our community.”


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Owner of NorCal K9 in Antioch sentenced to two years in state prison for animal cruelty

Monday, July 13th, 2020

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa District Attorney

Garry Reynolds.

On July 10, the Honorable Patricia Scanlon sentenced the owner of NorCal K 9 Garry Reynolds (39-years-old) to two years in state prison. Earlier this year, a jury found Reynolds guilty of four felonies – all counts of animal cruelty for each dog under the care and supervision of NorCal K9, a dog training business. The jury found Reynolds was criminally negligent in the care of four animals under his company’s care in Antioch. (See related article)

Reynolds was remanded into custody immediately after he was sentenced. Judge Scanlon also denied a motion by Reynolds’ attorney to reduce the charges to misdemeanors and the motion for a new trial. Deputy District Attorney Arsh Singh prosecuted the case on behalf of the People. DDA Singh is assigned to the Felony Trial Team.

“I am satisfied the defendant will serve time in state prison due to his extreme negligence and disregard for the animals under his company’s care,” DDA Singh stated. “This case should serve as a wakeup call for any dog training company in our community. Animals deserve to be protected and treated well. Our Office will not tolerate the abuse of any animal.”

The City of Antioch started an investigation into the house where the dogs were located at 5200 Lone Tree Way. The investigation started as a code enforcement matter but progressed to a criminal investigation led by the Antioch Police Department due to a dog’s death. Two dogs were eventually euthanized due to the injuries the dogs suffered.

The investigation also led police to Devon Ashby, an employee of NorCal K9. Ashby was charged by the DA’s Office for his involvement in this case and he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty.

The following dogs were associated with the jury’s earlier guilty verdict:

  • Gunner, Doberman
  • Favor, Cane Corso
  • Zeus, German Shepherd
  • Rambo (Bo), Labro-Poodle

Case information: People v. Garry Reynolds, Docket Number 05-191200-5

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Golden State Killer Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. pleads guilty to 13 murders, 13 kidnappings, dozens more uncharged crimes

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

Joseph James DeAngelo, Jr. pleads guilty during his hearing on Monday, June 29, 2020. Screenshot of YouTube video. Arrest photo by Sacramento County Sheriff.

Four crimes in Contra Costa County; avoids death penalty, to be sentenced to life without possibility of parole

SACRAMENTO, CA – On Monday, Joseph James DeAngelo, Jr., 74, pleaded guilty today to 13 felony counts of first-degree murder and 13 felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery during a 13-year multicounty crime spree that terrorized much of California during the 1970s and 1980s. DeAngelo was identified through Investigative Genetic Genealogy (IGG) in 2018, more than three decades after he raped and murdered his last victim in 1986.  (Watch DeAngelo plead guilty and confess to his crimes).

Known as the Golden State Killer and East Area Rapist, DeAngelo also admitted to 161 uncharged crimes related to 61 uncharged victims, including attempted murder, kidnapping to commit robbery, rape, robbery, first-degree burglary, false imprisonment and criminal threats. The uncharged crimes occurred in Alameda, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, Tulare and Yolo counties.

DeAngelo’s hearing was held in the Sac State ballroom to accommodate the victims and their families, and reporters. YouTube video screenshot.

Monday’s hearing was relocated to the Sacramento State Ballroom to accommodate the large number of victims and their family members in attendance and to ensure social distancing in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

DeAngelo is being jointly prosecuted by the district attorneys of Contra Costa, Orange, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties.

“He committed multiple heinous acts in Contra Costa County. Four of those cases we were able to charge,” Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton stated. “While we were not able to file the other cases, we are very fortunate that today DeAngelo pled to all of the cases, both those that were charged and uncharged.”

The decision by prosecutors to accept DeAngelo’s offer to plead guilty to the 26 charged crimes and admit the uncharged crimes was made in consultation with the victims and their family members. The totality of the circumstances, including the age of the victims, the age of witnesses and the death of other key witnesses, and the age of the defendant, were taken into consideration.

The massive scope of this case, which involved more than 1.3 million pages of discovery, would have unduly burdened the victims with a lengthy prosecution that was anticipated to take as many as ten years.  The plea provided the victims and their families who were terrorized by DeAngelo the opportunity to hear him admit his crimes and they will have an opportunity to provide victim impact statements beginning August 17, 2020.

This six-county joint prosecution resulted in a guilty plea of: (Read the details of the charges).

  • 13 counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances allegations of multiple murders and murder during the commission of rape, robbery, and burglary.
  • 13 felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery with sentencing enhancements for personal use of a firearm and personal use of a knife during the commission of the offenses.
  • DeAngelo admitted murdering:

o Claude Snelling – September 11, 1975 – Tulare County

o Katie and Brian Maggiore – February 2, 1978 – Sacramento County

o Debra Alexandria Manning – December 30, 1979 – Santa Barbara County

o Robert Offerman – December 30, 1979 – Santa Barbara County

o Cheri Domingo – July 27, 1981 – Santa Barbara County

o Greg Sanchez – July 27, 1981 – Santa Barbara County

o Charlene and Lyman Smith – on or about March 13, 1980– Ventura County

o Keith and Patrice Harrington – August 21, 1980 – Orange County

o Manuela Witthuhn – February 6, 1981 – Orange County

o Janelle Cruz – May 5, 1986 – Orange County

DeAngelo also admitted to the uncharged crimes of:

  • Attempted murder, kidnapping to commit robbery, rape, robbery, first-degree burglary, false imprisonment and criminal threats.

DeAngelo’s victims and their families stand during the hearing. YouTube video screenshot.

DeAngelo’s crime spree began in 1975 when he was working as a police officer with the Exeter Police Department. The crimes, which continued long after he was fired from the Auburn Police Department in 1979, escalated from peeping through windows to stalking to rape and serial murder.

His crimes earned him the nicknames of the Visalia Ransacker, the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker, and the Golden State Killer. It was not until April 2018 that Sacramento authorities announced that Investigative Genetic Genealogy had identified DeAngelo as the person responsible.

Joseph DeAngelo will be sentenced to life in state prison without the possibility of parole. The sentence will run consecutive and concurrent to his sentence for the first-degree murders to which he has pled.  His sentencing hearing will commence on August 17, 2020. Victims will be given the opportunity to deliver victim impact statements prior to DeAngelo’s sentencing on August 21, 2020.  The sentencing hearing location will be announced at a later date.

The identification, arrest, and prosecution of DeAngelo is the result of decades of work by law enforcement agencies across California.

“Today’s court proceeding brings us one step closer to ending the horrific saga of Joseph DeAngelo and his decades long crime spree,” said Contra Costa DA Becton. “The crimes he committed in Contra Costa County, and throughout the state of California, have left a lifetime of scars and pain for our victims and their families. In this case justice did not move swiftly, it was a long time coming. However, our victims remained steadfast and brave throughout this entire process. Today is about remembering all of the victims in this case and finally holding DeAngelo responsible for these crimes.”

See video of District Attorneys’ press conference following the hearing. Hear from one of his victims from Contra Costa County in a KTVU FOX2 news report.

“I am an ardent supporter of the death penalty when appropriate. There are crimes that are so heinous and so depraved that death is the only appropriate punishment. This is one of those cases, and that is why all six District Attorneys prosecuting this case decided unanimously to seek the death penalty,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “The ability of victims to confront the person who terrorized them and robbed them of a lifetime of memories with their loved ones is an unequivocal right. I carefully consulted with all of the families of the Orange County victims and had the former district attorney who filed the charges fully briefed on the defendant’s offer to plead guilty. Given the totality of the circumstances including the advanced age of the victims, the advanced age and deaths of key witnesses, and the lengthy capital case process ahead, the decision in Orange County to accept the defendant’s offer was unanimous. Today’s plea will never bring the loved ones back or restore the sense of security that was shattered, but today, after 40 years of uncertainty, dozens of victims and a nation heard the person responsible for this reign of terror finally admit that he – and only he – is responsible.”

“The investigation, identification and prosecution of the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer has been a long journey for justice – a journey marked by passion, persistence and sheer determination,” said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. “Through the revolutionary tool of Investigative Genetic Genealogy, this serial rapist and murderer was not only identified and brought to justice but will spend the rest of his life in prison.  It is my sincere hope that today brings healing to victims, their families and communities harmed by the atrocious crimes committed by Joseph DeAngelo.”

“Today, in the eyes of the victims, and the loved ones of those murdered by this vicious defendant, I saw the exception to the rule: justice delayed is justice denied,” said Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley. “Today I saw justice and it was brought to all of us by the tenacity of Sacramento DA Anne Marie Schubert and her extraordinary team.”

“The crimes committed by the defendant in Tulare County were never eligible for the death penalty based on the law in 1975. It is important to note that he will be sentenced to the maximum for those crimes,” said Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward. “It would be incorrect to describe today’s events as ‘closure.’  The countless victims in this case will still feel the pain of tragic loss – loss of family, loss of innocence, loss of ever feeling safe again – because of the terror inflicted by the defendant. I am proud to stand with these victims, whether they are from Tulare County or elsewhere, to see justice move forward.”

“Today’s hearing marks a tremendous moment in the lives of dozens, if not hundreds, of California citizens who were direct or collateral victims of this defendant’s crimes. This resolution, brought about by the work of six District Attorneys’ offices, demonstrates the work of law enforcement at its finest,” said Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten. “In 1980, Ventura County was rocked by the brutal murders of Lyman and Charlene Smith. Initially, evidence was thin and leads proved fruitless. However, for over forty years, law enforcement never gave up. Using the best technology and legal tools available, teams of investigators linked the Smiths’ murders to other murders and rapes around the state, and we put together a rock-solid case against this defendant. This case, to us, is not just the 26 counts we could charge, but also the myriad other crimes this defendant committed where the statute of limitations had run. We left no lead uninvestigated, and we left no victim forgotten. We wish we could have found him sooner. But we are pleased to be able to say today to our Ventura County community and to Joseph DeAngelo’s victims, you no longer have to wonder who did these horrible crimes. He has not just been arrested and charged; he has now admitted he is guilty. His plea today ensures he will spend the rest of his life in prison, and he will die a convicted rapist and murderer.”

Additional background information about People v. Joseph James DeAngelo, including the factual basis for each plea, can be found at

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