A 74-year-old former police officer who is suspected of being the East Area Rapist has filed a motion through his attorneys that aims to avoid a lengthy criminal trial.
In exchange for pleading guilty to certain offenses, Joseph DeAngelo — who is also suspected of being the Golden State Killer — has agreed to answer for his alleged crimes if the threat of the death penalty is taken off the table.
In exchange for his guilty plea, DeAngelo acknowledges he would likely be incarcerated for the rest of his life.
“The lawyer is saying if the death penalty were off the table, the case could resolve,” Mark Reichel told CBS13’s George Warren in an interview on Wednesday, noting that thanks to a moratorium on executions in California imposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last year, the outcome between the plea deal and a sentence following a trial would likely be the same, assuming DeAngelo were convicted.
“The chances that this individual will be executed are very slim, in my opinion,” Mark said. “The chances of the likelihood that he would die in custody far exceed the chances that the state would execute him.”
The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office declined to local media outlets about DeAngelo’s offer. Last April, officials with the DA’s office affirmed they would seek the death penalty in DeAngelo’s case if he were convicted at trial.
DeAngelo is charged with 13 counts of murder and five dozen counts of rape stemming from incidents that occurred between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s. Authorities arrested him after they said the suspect’s DNA matched that submitted through a genealogy website.
DeAngelo also stands accused of more than a dozen kidnapping and abduction attempts.
While some may be opposed to a plea deal, Mark said it could be in everyone’s best interest to avoid a lengthy trial — not just because of the financial cost associated with court cases like this, but also because the emotional and mental toll could be insurmountable.
“The cost, not just in money but in time and happiness that will be drained out, that never comes back,” Mark told FOX40 News.