SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A judge is set to consider Monday whether to make public search and arrest warrants for a man who authorities call one of California’s most elusive serial killers.
Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, is due back in court for a routine hearing, while lawyers battle over unsealing records preceding the arrest of the former police officer.
Authorities allege he is the serial rapist and so-called Golden State Killer responsible for 12 slayings and nearly 50 rapes in the 1970s and ’80s.
The Associated Press and several other news organizations are asking Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet to unseal the warrants.
A man who prosecutors say was one of California’s most elusive serial killers was charged Thursday with four additional counts of murder, leaving him now facing a dozen murder charges across the state. Joseph James DeAngelo, a 72-year-old former police officer, was charged in connection with four slayings in 1979 and 1981 in Santa Barbara County, District Attorney Joyce Dudley said at a news conference Thursday. He already has been charged with eight other murder counts in Sacramento, Ventura and Orange counties.
DeAngelo’s attorney, Diane Howard, argues that making the documents public could taint witnesses and jurors and result in an unfair trial. But she wants Sweet to delay a decision until defense attorneys can review more documents, including what was seized when investigators searched her client’s properties.
Prosecutors don’t object to unsealing the records but say a different judge who issued the warrants, Superior Court Judge Steve White, should make the decision.
Prosecutors said they used DNA and a genealogical website to identify DeAngelo, who was arrested last month and remains jailed in Sacramento County.
Attorneys for the news media say the warrants could provide more details about the techniques used to identify him, but Howard said the warrants do not provide much new information on the use of genealogical websites.
District attorneys from Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Orange and Ventura counties met last week to discuss where DeAngelo may be tried and who will prosecute. But they made no decision and plan to meet again in late June.
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