Crime - Sacto 911

New details in East Area Rapist case may come Friday as lawyers debate what can go public

Watch East Area Rapist suspect listen to lawyers argue over document release

East Area Rapist suspect Joseph James DeAngelo appeared in court on Tuesday, May 29, for a hearing on whether he can receive a fair trial if arrest and search warrant information is released to the public.
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East Area Rapist suspect Joseph James DeAngelo appeared in court on Tuesday, May 29, for a hearing on whether he can receive a fair trial if arrest and search warrant information is released to the public.

Lawyers in the East Area Rapist case Thursday continued to hash out what information should be redacted from arrest and search warrants that a judge in Sacramento plans to release as early as Friday.

The defense and prosecutors spent hours in a closed session in the chambers of Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet debating what must be removed from the warrants before they are released to the public.

"We have been working diligently, paragraph by paragraph ..." Sweet said. "We are near done but we are not done."

Sweet said he would allow the defense, prosecutors and an attorney for the media seeking release of the documents to make a final argument at a 1:30 pm hearing Friday before he issues his order on what may be released.

Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, faces 12 murder charges in Sacramento, Orange, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and is suspected of more than 50 rapes and more than 100 burglaries in a crime spree that authorities believe stretched from 1974 through 1986. His alleged crimes have been attributed to a series of suspects known variously as the "Visalia Ransacker," "East Area Rapist," "Original Night Stalker" and "Golden State Killer."

DeAngelo was not present at Thursday's hearing.

Authorities in Tulare County also are considering whether to file a 13th murder count in the September 1975 slaying of journalism professor Claude Snelling, who was shot to death as he saved his 16-year-old daughter from being abducted from their home by a masked gunman.

DeAngelo served as a police officer in that area in the town of Exeter at the time and later was an officer in Auburn before being fired for a shoplifting incident.

He since has lived quietly in Citrus Heights, where he raised a family and worked as a mechanic in Roseville for a Save Mart distribution center.

Since his April 24 arrest, DeAngelo has been held without bail at the Sacramento County Main Jail while authorities work out where and when he may face trial.

District attorneys from counties that have filed murder charges against him are scheduled to meet in Southern California in late June to discuss the logistics of holding his trial in one location, and Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert has said the case may move south because 10 of the 12 murders he is charged in occurred in that part of the state.

Schubert, whose creation of an East Area Rapist task force is credited with leading to DeAngelo's arrest, has said she might agree to such a move as long as all counties participate jointly in a prosecution.

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