Viewpoints

Golden State Killer deserves death, but Newsom’s moratorium may save him

Here are the headlines behind the horror of East Area Rapist, 1977-2018

FBI agents and detectives took into custody Joseph James DeAngelo, who is suspected of being the East Area Rapist. The rapist also was known as the Golden State Killer, linked to 45 rapes and a dozen murders.
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FBI agents and detectives took into custody Joseph James DeAngelo, who is suspected of being the East Area Rapist. The rapist also was known as the Golden State Killer, linked to 45 rapes and a dozen murders.

Shortly after Lyman and Charlene Smith drifted off to sleep, they were awakened by a bright beam of light shining in their eyes. A strange voice ordered them to get out of bed.

Blinded, shaken, frightened – they complied. The intruder demanded Charlene tie Lyman’s hands. He then dragged Charlene into another room and raped her. The attacker bludgeoned his victims. Lyman’s 12-year-old son found the bloody bodies bound with drapery cords.

Neighbors in Ventura County were shocked. Lyman, a well-respected attorney, had just been notified that Gov. Jerry Brown was about to appoint him as Superior Court judge.

The brutal rape and murders were not the killer’s first crimes.

In Rancho Cordova, a young, newlywed couple was shot and killed while walking their dog. Nearly four decades later, DNA evidence identified Joseph DeAngelo of Citrus Heights as the killer of both couples.

Opinion

Dubbed the Golden State Killer, the East Area Rapist and the Night Stalker for his calculated and vicious rapes and murders, DeAngelo’s campaign of terror spread across California. Between 1976 and 1986, DeAngelo, a former police officer, is responsible for at least 12 killings, 45 rapes and 120 burglaries.

Prosecutors in Sacramento, Orange and Ventura Counties have brought murder charges against DeAngelo. Stunned victims and surviving families breathed a sigh of relief. The serial murderer was in custody and facing charges that could result in the death penalty.

The death penalty is used in the cruelest and most gruesome acts one human can inflict upon another. Voters have repeatedly supported the death penalty as a legal and appropriate punishment for those like DeAngelo.

Soon, citizens in Sacramento County will be pulled from their jobs to serve on a jury. They will serve for weeks – or perhaps months. They will hear witness testimonies and review evidence to determine whether DeAngelo is guilty as charged. They will not be allowed to read the news. Use of the internet may be restricted. Should they find him guilty and sentence him to death, DeAngelo will be unmoved. Gov. Newsom has already granted him a reprieve.

On March 13, 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom took justice into his own hands by granting a blanket reprieve to all 737 convicted murderers on death row. His in-your-face rejection of the death penalty and dismantling of the execution chamber is without criteria and offers no exceptions. Mass murderers, cop killers and psychopaths who tortured their victims all received reprieves.

The governor now wants to prohibit all death penalty trials. Whether voters like it or not, Gov. Newsom has brushed aside victims and their families. Those who have suffered at the hands of arguably the most vicious serial killer of our time have been victimized again.

Their murdered sons, daughters, mothers, fathers and friends won’t come back. The rape victims’ sense of safety will never return. With DeAngelo captured, justice and peace of mind was finally within their grasp. Now – even before trial – Gov. Newsom wants to ensure that Joseph DeAngelo will escape the death penalty he so richly deserves.

Senator Jim Nielsen served on the Board of Prison Terms, the largest parole authority in the nation, from 1990 to 2007. He represents the 4th Senate District. He can be reached at 916-651-4004 or senator.nielsen@senate.ca.gov.
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