On Monday, suspected Golden State Killer/East Area Rapist, Joseph James DeAngelo, appeared in court and pleaded guilty to a murder charge related to a string of crimes in California throughout the 1970s and 1980s. After being linked to the case through a DNA sample via GEDmatch in 2018, the 74-year-old faced a variety of charges, 13 of which are for first-degree murder. Now, DeAngelo has entered a guilty plea as a way to circumvent the death penalty, as stated by KPBS.

Monday's hearing was unusual in that was held inside of the California State University–Sacramento ballroom versus the traditional courtroom. This was due to the fact that prosecutors wanted it to take place inside a setting that was large enough to accommodate approximately 150 victims and relatives so that they could watch DeAngelo's appearance while still maintaining social distancing. As stated by the Sacramento Bee, the specific location can hold up to 2,000 people during receptions. 

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Thien Ho, assistant chief deputy district attorney for Sacramento County, discussed the impact of DeAngelo's crimes on the surrounding communities throughout the years during the court appearance, as reported by CNN.

"The scope of Joseph DeAngelos' crime spree is simply staggering, encompassing 13 known murders and almost 50 rapes between 1975 and 1986," the prosecutor said, adding that the alleged killer's monikers, including the "Visalia Ransacker," "East Area Rapist," "the Original Night Stalker" and "Golden State Killer, highlight the "sweeping geographical impact of his crimes."

Leading up to DeAngelo's guilty plea, controversy surrounded the decision to keep the victims anonymous and refer to them all as "Jane Doe," as some wanted their names to be public to erase any stigma that may be attached, reports the Los Angeles Times.

"I don’t want that,” said Kris Pedretti, who became the 10th victim, adding, "I want to be seen as a real person that he did this to and not as some Jane Doe." 

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As stated by CNN, "prosectors are working their way through the extensive list of charges" and will return from a short recess later this afternoon. DeAngelo is expected to plead guilty to all charges, including counts of murder, rape, and kidnapping by the end of Monday's hearing. 

Golden State Killer Joseph James DeAngelo, the suspected "Golden State Killer," appears in court for his arraignment in Sacramento, California, on April 27, 2018. Photo: Getty Images/Justin Sullivan