A look back at The Golden State Killer’s chilling crimes

HBO’s true crime documentary, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, is now available on NOW TV.

The six-part series follows a woman’s quest to identify one of the most prolific serial rapists in history – the Golden State Killer.

Decades past before the the notorious killer was identified, but in 2018 Joseph James DeAngelo, 74, was arrested after his family had tested their genetic genealogy.

In August 2020 he confessed to 13 murders and 13 rapes across California during the 1970s and 1980s.

He was accused of committing more than 50 rapes, but many of the counts were too old to prosecute.

Before he was identified, DeAngelo went by many nicknames, including the Visalia Ransacker, East Area Rapist and Original Night Stalker.

Here we take a look at some of The Golden State Killer’s most chilling crimes.

DeAngelo, a former police officer and US navy veteran, pleaded guilty to 13 murders and 13 rape-related charges across six counties in the 1970s and 80s.

In 1973 DeAngelo began working for the police force in Exeter.

This is when the crimes of the Visalia Ransacker began.

He was alleged to have burgled at least 100 homes, stealing small items, and often leaving high-value objects.

Sometimes he would take a few bottles of Budweiser, some cash or diamond rings.

By 1976 the East Area Rapist began terrorising the Sacramento area.

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He would often attack single-story homes, inhabited by single women.

He then moved south, where he was known as the prolific murdered the Original Night Stalker.

He would spend days scoping out his targeted house, which was usually in a quiet and peaceful suburb.

Sometimes he would break in beforehand, stalking his victims and memorising their routines.

The killer would also unload any guns he found, and unlock sliding glass doors and windows.

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In the beginning the Golden State Killer would avoid houses with large dogs or husbands.

However, when the media caught on to this he started to target couples.

He would shine a flashlight in their faces, threatening to kill everyone in the house including children, if they didn’t follow his orders.

DeAngelo would often bind and blind them before stacking dishes on top of the man.

Before assaulting the women he warned that if he heard a single dish rattle he would murder them both.

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The attacks in the area appeared to end by 1979, at which time the Visalia Ransacker and East Area Rapist were thought to be separate people.

Then another nickname was given to a seemingly new killer in Southern California in 1979 – the Original Night Stalker.

In Contra Costa County in 1978, he told a woman he would cut her baby boy’s ear off if she didn’t perform oral sex after he raped her.

After the prosecutor read the description of the crime, he said: “I admit”.

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