It is a rainy day on the East Coast. It set the perfect mood to write the introduction to this post. Because today, the man who ruined so many lives, the man who has dominated his many victims’ lives, will finally slip into the abyss of oblivion.
Hence forth, Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. is a convicted felon who will never see the light of day again. Figuratively, of course. He will be transported like an ordinary criminal to a correctional center where he will remain until he has taken his final breath. It will be up to California State Correctional officials to make the final housing decision.
From this day forward, DeAngelo no longer deserves anyone’s full attention as that is what made him tick. From this day forward, nobody should have this man in their thoughts and allow those thoughts to dominate the course of their lives. It isn’t easy as he has been living in so many people’s minds for so long, but we must try.
hundreds of victims
53 crime scenes
11 California counties
hundreds of burglaries
These are the numbers that we know off now.
While the victim statements were read over the course of several days, journalists said DeAngelo was mostly stoic. That is true but there were a few breakout moments. He clearly did not expect to see his former fiancee in court. And, he didn’t expect to be so forcefully confronted by Victor Hayes. What made him squint is how Victor detailed encounters, details about his car, and details about the crime preparations. You can read about that here.
Hayes is right. There is a lot that we still need to investigate. And he is right, we are not covering everything. That’s because we started fresh but at the end of the line. With forensic genealogy you start trying to figure out who did this. I am glad we now know and that he’s no longer a threat to the community. But now, as Hayes said, we must still do the traditional legwork. Exactly which crimes, how many (including stalking) are unknown, how was he able to do this while working, etc.
One of the biggest issues will be this, how did he transgress from committing small, non-violent crimes into this horrendous serial rapist-killer? What are the catalysts, what are the triggers to select a certain victim, etc. He will be of interest to criminologists for years to come. But that should be all.
From this day forward, this man should be a paper study, a textbook subject, and eventually, a statistic. He may no longer live inside people’s minds and hearts. Banish him to the abyss that he created for himself.
DeAngelo did speak before sentencing. He got up from his wheelchair and said “I have listened to all of your statements, each of them. And I am truly sorry to everyone I have hurt.”
Two more things need mentioning.
First, I do feel horrible for his children and his grandchildren. I do not think that this man feels any shame concerning what he has done. However, I hope that he feels some shame knowing that his grandchildren will eventually read in sordid details what their grandfather did. I hope his children and grandchildren have professional help and are met with compassion and empathy as there is no indication at all that they were involved.
Last, to all the victims’ family members: all the victims are in my heart and thoughts. I am in awe with you. I have watched you confront this man and call him out for everything that he has done to you. You did so with grace and style. You never forgot to thank the judge, the court, the prosecution, and the many police officers and technicians who were involved in this case. You kept your composure, referred to him with polite words, while delivering blows to his ego.
With every statement you reduced his stature. With every statement, he became less. And with this verdict, he is no more.