East area rapist victims talk about being in the courtroom with the suspect
Joseph James DeAngelo returned to a Sacramento courtroom Thursday afternoon, a little more than a month after a judge unsealed warrants that shed more light on the skein of murders and rapes county prosecutors say were committed by the now-72-year-old Citrus Heights man.
A Sept. 5 court date awaits the accused serial killer and rapist, arrested in April at his longtime Citrus Heights home. Attorneys on Thursday said the September date will give them more time to review voluminous discovery in the decades-long case.
A handcuffed DeAngelo stood in the courtroom cell before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet, a bank of news photographers and, in the courtroom’s gallery, rows of victims, survivors, their family and friends.
They included Debbi Domingo and Jane Carson-Sandler. Domingo’s mother, Cheri Domingo, and Cheri’s boyfriend, Greg Sanchez, were slain in 1981 in Goleta, in Santa Barbara County. Carson-Sandler was raped in October 1976 in one of the dozens of violent attacks tied to the East Area Rapist. The two sat side by side in a front row of the gallery behind prosecutors Thien Ho and Amy Holliday.
Mobbed by reporters as they left Sweet’s courtroom inside Sacramento County Main Jail, Domingo said simply, “The truth is going to prevail and we’ll go with the process.”
Carson-Sandler, who wore a shirt with the words, “Victim. Survivor. Thriver,” printed on the back, spoke to reporters outside the downtown jail of the years of rage she bore. She then unfurled a sign that read: “Now we have the power of control.”
“For years, I have not gotten rid of this backpack of anger and resentment. I hope he dies in jail,” she told reporters, before issuing a direct plea to the man accused in her attack and so many others: “I would love to see you admit your guilt and admit the carnage that you caused. I want you to get on your hands and knees and beg Jesus for forgiveness.”
DeAngelo, a former police officer and retired mechanic, is suspected of killing a dozen people in four counties and raping 51 others during a 12-year stretch from 1974 to 1986. Two of the dead were Brian and Katie Maggiore, a Rancho Cordova couple gunned down the night of Feb. 2, 1978.
He faces 10 more murder counts in Orange, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
Decades of investigation into the crimes culminated with DNA submitted by a relative of DeAngelo’s to a genealogy website, a later swab taken from DeAngelo’s car door in a Roseville parking lot and used tissue lifted from his trash can, court documents revealed.
The genetic information that led to the former police officer’s arrest April 24 form the backbone of prosecutors’ case against the retired father of three.