This is a summary of my March 5, 2020 podcast, DeAngelo Wants to Plea. You can listen to the podcast here or search Lawyer’s Daughter on Spotify, TuneIn, Apple Pods, Google Play Music and PodBean. As always, I appreciate your ratings, reviews and sharing with your family and friends.
On Tuesday, March 4, when I was preparing to do my first talk in Santa Cruz around four o’clock, I saw a notification come through on my phone from Reddit that said JJD is going to plea. And I stopped breathing. I held my breath as I just stared at it. Folks ask, how did it feel? Well, it felt like all the feelings.
I think physiologically, my body flooded with adrenaline. I felt cold and hot. I felt completely confused. It was almost like I got punched. I was really mad that it happened at that moment because I was already working up confidence to do my live talk for the first time; I was putting a lot of energy into preparing. As soon I calmed myself I bit, I immediately started investigating.
Hidden in a footnote, DeAngelo is willing to plea.
I started looking and found out it was something that Paige St. John had found in a footnote on a motion that was filed by the defense. Buried in the Motion to Dismiss, the defense slipped it into a footnote. This motion is looking to six-furcate (my word because bifurcate isn’t applicable here), the cases by jurisdiction. When the prosecution decided to prosecute everything in Sacramento, I started calling it the big gulp.
The prosecution did this in April of 2019 if I have my facts right. There are a couple of reasons why this big gulp strategy is important. First, it makes the prosecution big. As you can imagine, we’re going into a trial that’s got all this stuff happening from all these jurisdictions. So that’s a big deal. And second, it makes it expensive. Prosecutors from the different jurisdictions must come to Sacramento. It could be argued it reduces costs by requiring only one jury, one judge, etc. I’m not a bean counter – either way, we are spending money. This request from the defense would basically disassemble the approach.
Meanwhile, the defense has also asked for money from the different jurisdictions. Now, take a minute and realize what we’ve done here. In America, we believe in law and order. We believe in justice. And our tax dollars are used to support that legal system. And ironically enough, our tax dollars are paying for D’Angelo’s defense. That is how we fund the public defender’s office. It comes from the Sacramento County budget.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to ask for money and or other resources from the different jurisdictions, because that really should be a shared financial responsibility when it comes to defending D’Angelo. That shouldn’t that burden shouldn’t fall wholly on Sacramento County.
The question I have is why did they wait till now? The prosecution made this clear that this is how we were proceeding months ago. It seems odd. I feel like this defense team just woke up since the January hearing. The judge said, no, we’re not getting a continuance until January 2021. No, we’re not going to sit around and wait for you to go through all that discovery you’ve had forever. Let’s get it together here. Let’s prioritize. (Okay, he didn’t say those last two things – I’m just saying that on his behalf.)
The idea is we’ve got to move forward. That’s the point. And I wish I could have been in court the cheering when he said that – I was home sick with Norovirus. He set the date for May 12th, and that’s just about eight weeks out. And just like that, things finally started to happen.
Anxiety is increasing among those who’ll have to testify.
They knew it conceptually, but this made it very real. This is especially true among the people who are being asked to testify, relative to the kidnapping charges. Those are the rape charges and not the murder charges. In the rape charges, where a person was moved or there was some sort of act that was considered kidnapping, those became charges that could still be applied and weren’t affected by the statute of limitations. And they also helped with special circumstances, which are required for the death penalty request.
As you can imagine, those folks who are scheduled to testify are starting to get anxious. And that’s hard. I guess we’re unique because as victims, we became a squad.
Not everybody has joined us. Some folks have remained anonymous and I’m sorry, they haven’t. They’re really missing one of the most healing parts of this whole thing. For those of us who do get together, we’re working hard to support one another.
We’ve discovered, now there are two groups of victims.
First there are those that have cases that cannot be tried. All of the rapes hit the statute of limitations. With the exception of the cases with new kidnapping charges, the rapes victims are not part of the active group. The second groups are the victims who have charges that can be applied. This is suddenly an odd shift to the murders from Southern California.
If you think about it, at least I grew up thinking the murder first was a murder in a small town. When I heard about the other murders in Southern California, I considered myself part of that group. Absolutely. As those as we were all connected through DNA. When our murders suddenly connected to the rapes in Sacramento (and beyond), I instantly identified with the people in Sacramento.
These are my people. I’ve spent so much time, so much of my life has been spent in Sacramento – gramma lived here, I went to UC Davis and Sac State. It’s always felt like a second home to me. When we came together, we were all one. But now there’s a slightly different dynamic going on.
And I don’t think it’s particularly playing out in terms of our relationships.
But some of us, including me, feel like we are representing those that don’t get to have a voice in this right now; those that don’t have active charges. These are the things nobody talks about. But it really is interesting how the legal system has an impact even on relationships, even on your ability to be a victim and how that works. And that’s absolutely in play.
Let’s go back to DeAngelo being willing to plea.
Why was that put in writing? Because the minute you write down that someone is willing to plea you taint the prospective jury pool because you’ve essentially said your client’s willing to plead guilty. We don’t have any information on what he’s willing to plead guilty to, but I sense the defense isn’t focused on the what. How do we possibly move forward at this point? I mean, this is really screwed up if you think about it.
I wonder about legal malpractice. I cannot think of a case, and I’d love folks to let me know if they have any examples of where that kind of information was leaked publicly. I’m really pissed about how this is being handled.
This is classic D’Angelo: controlling the narrative.
I am so tired of this man who lived his full 72 years out in the wild doing all these awful things, but also having his nice little middle age, and early senior years, living undetected without any constraints, without any rules – living in Citrus Heights, doing his thing, fishing, riding his motorcycle, being a jerk.
He’s been out there and now he gets to control the narrative when it comes to how we’re going to find him guilty. I’m hot about this. I don’t want any part of this. At a minimum, I feel like a plea is too soon. At a minimum, we should have this prelim that’s coming up in May. And here’s why: there are still people who aren’t sure he’s the guy.
Innocent until proven guilty.
This is truly how it’s supposed to work. It’s the responsibility of the prosecution to prove that this man is guilty. Maybe we have the wrong guy. I don’t think that’s possible because SCIENCE (DNA), but I’m going to give nonbelievers the benefit of the doubt. Then let’s go ahead and move into the prelim. Another very big reason why a prelim is important: DeAngelo didn’t just hurt humans and families, but he terrorized whole communities. I feel it’s his civic responsibility to sit in a courtroom for at least eight to 12 weeks before copping a plea.
He needs to face his accusers and listen to all the evidence that supports holding him over to trial. That is the point of the prelim: to show there is enough evidence to bind him over to trial. And after we all hear that; after we hear the evidence – I know I know there’s evidence beyond DNA – then he can make a plea. And that can work through the plea process.
But let’s go ahead and move with this prelim. I think it’s owed to far more than just the victims. It is owed to all of us who lived in fear. I lived in fear for decades. I didn’t even know there was a serial killer that I was afraid of for the first 20 years. I thought there was just a crazy person who hated my dad and Charlene. Around 2000, I find out.
That coincided to exactly to when I had Katie. Suddenly I felt more vulnerable than I’ve ever felt in my life because now there was a bad guy out there and I didn’t have any idea what he might do next. Based on his behavior in Sacramento, I knew he’d revisit the crimes by calling people that he had hurt before.
In our case, he didn’t have my dad and Charlene to call. He only had his kids. I did feel vulnerable and I did feel afraid. I did wacky things like bells on doors and having a bat by my bed. So many of us did things to protect ourselves. That’s why it’s really important to me that he have to sit in court for at least the prelim.
What will he tell us if he does negotiate a plea?
I have had my expectations set that he is not inclined to share information with us. He is not inclined in any way to help us feel better about what’s happened. He’s not inclined in any way to make this any easier on anybody but himself. If we move forward with a plea without him having to ever walk into a real courtroom, he wins.
Once again, he’s controlling the narrative and he’s controlling the outcome. And I’m so over that. So one of the things that. So where we are. So one of the things that’s happened that came out the news in the last two days, I think is that it is true that I believe it’s only the people that have charges pending, got letters from the defense.
When it all comes down to it, the elected District Attorneys are the deciders. So maybe this really is up to you, the constituents. The DA’s represent you. Let them know what you want in this case.