Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman handed down the sentences for DeAngelo, 74, who pleaded guilty in June to 13 counts of first-degree murder and more than 25 other counts across several California counties.
Before he was sentenced Friday, DeAngelo told the court he apologized for the crimes that terrorized California decades ago.
“I’ve listened to all your statements. Each one of them,” DeAngelo said. “And I’m truly sorry to everyone I have hurt. Thank you, your honor.”
DeAngelo was a police officer for part of the time he committed numerous sexual assaults and killings across California during the 1970s and 1980s. Some of the crimes were particularly violent. DeAngelo was identified as the main suspect in 2018 after investigators used DNA evidence collected at the crime scenes and compared it to genealogical data online.
Among those who addressed the court Thursday was DeAngelo’s ex-wife, Sacramento attorney Sharon Huddle. In a written statement read in court, she described how his crimes have had a “devastating and pervasive” effect on her life.
“I will never be the same person,” she wrote. “I now live everyday with the knowledge of how he attacked and severely damaged hundreds of innocent people’s lives and murdered 13 innocent people who were loved and have now been missed for 40 years or more.”
Huddle said she was deceived by DeAngelo about his whereabouts decades ago when he was committing the crimes. She said he often told her he was going to work or hunting or visiting his parents hundreds of miles away.
“When I was not around I trusted he was doing what he told me he was doing,” she wrote.
Also in court this week was Bonnie Ueltzen, DeAngelo’s college girlfriend and onetime fiancee. Though she was not allowed to make an impact statement, one of the survivors agreed to share her sentiments.
“If Bonnie were able to speak, Joe, she would want you to know that as just a teenager 50 years ago, she broke her engagement to you when she realized you had become manipulative and abusive,” Jane Carson-Sandler, who was raped in 1976, said on Wednesday. “When you thought you could kidnap her and force her to marry you, even a gun pointed at her face could not make her choose you.”
DeAngelo’s efforts were foiled by intervention from Ueltzen’s father.
Police say during one of his attacks in 1978, DeAngelo repeatedly told the unrelated victim, “I hate you Bonnie.”
The serial killer and rapist was known by several names during the crimes decades ago, including the “Visalia Ransacker,” the “East Area Rapist,” the “Diamond Knot Killer” and the “Original Night Stalker.”