Golden State Killer suspect Joseph DeAngelo—who’s accused of terrorizing communities across California throughout the 1970s and 1980s—was charged with first-degree murder Monday in connection with what police believe was his very first killing, according to CBS News.
The Golden State Killer is suspected of committing at least 12 other murders and 45 rapes in 10 different California counties, earning him a series of names, including the Visalia Ransacker, the East Area Rapist, the Diamond Knot Killer, and the Original Night Stalker.
“This community was terrorized by these rampant crimes,” said Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward during a press conference Monday. “In their tenacity, in their violent nature, and in the frequency with which they were occurring.”
DeAngelo, 72, now faces charges related to the murder of Claude Snelling, a journalism professor at College of the Sequoias. Authorities said the murder took place during September 1975, in Visalia, California—a small farming town where they claim DeAngelo progressed from being a “sadistic burglar” to a “notorious serial killer.”
In filing these charges, Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar said authorities are confirming what they have long believed: that the Visalia Ransacker, the East Area Rapist, and the Golden State Killer are one and the same.