Golden State Killer starts life sentences

·1-min read

A former police officer who eluded authorities for years as the Golden State Killer has begun serving multiple life sentences for rapes and murders that terrorised California in the 1970s and 1980s.

Joseph James DeAngelo, 74, arrived on Tuesday at North Kern State Prison, a reception centre in the Central Valley about 225 km north of Los Angeles.

Officials there will decide his permanent prison destination based on his security, medical, psychiatric and program needs, said California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Terry Thornton.

DeAngelo pleaded guilty in June to 13 murders and 13 rape-related charges that spanned much of California between 1975 and 1986.

The plea deal spared him the death penalty.

He admitted victimising at least 87 people at 53 separate crime scenes spanning 11 California counties, though some of the crimes were too old to be formally charged.

DeAngelo's rapes and eventual murders followed the same pattern.

He would tie up couples he surprised while they slept, then assault the woman as the man lay helpless. He would place dishes on the man's back, warning he would kill them both if the dishes rattled.

He was sentenced in August after a four-day hearing with emotional testimony from many of his victims or their survivors.

DeAngelo eluded capture for four decades before he was unmasked in 2018 with pioneering use of DNA tracing.