I Used to Hate Him, But Now I Just Resent Joseph DeAngelo

The El Paso shooting has just happened and I am heartsick. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn I’m anti-gun – particularly when it comes to using them to kill one another – but I even feel like it’s not a fair fight when hunting. I don’t mind hunting, but use some skills darn it. I’ve fired a gun. It’s unforgiving. [Sunday morning: another mass shooting overnight. Hard to get out of bed. But I had a comment about guns for legit protection and I agree. There are horrible moments in life when you need to protect someone or save yourself. Damn.]

As the August 22nd hearing grows near, I’ve realized I’m really starting to resent these quarterly treks to Sacramento just to watch an aging monster, age. This thing is moving at a snail’s pace and honestly, there’s no story here anymore. He’s been caught. He’s been vilified in the media. The survivors have proven their resilience. The investigators can finally sleep. Even his family must have figured out some way to get up every morning knowing the horrific legacy he’s left them.

So yes, I’m way over it.

I resent he hasn’t just died and given us all an out; allowing us to go on living without his god-awful name ever having to be mentioned again.

I resent he’s taking up space.

I resent my taxes are paying for him.

I resent he’s going to cost our state tens of millions of dollars.

I resent politicians – whoops, I’m sorry – district attorneys who will use this as leverage in their next election.

I resent this gives any fuel to the death penalty debate.

I resent watching his female attorney look at him like he’s a small boy who’s lost his way.

I resent that we have to shut our mouths in court because “decency” and “rules” as if this was in any way related to how he behaved.

I resent family members and survivors are living with the dread of having to testify.

I resent every trauma he caused, every person he hurt, every life he stole.

I resent the years we all lived in fear because he could still be out there.

I resent every damn breath he takes.

Yes, I’m going to be there. My expectations are minimal. I’m much more excited about seeing my kid (who lives there now) than being ushered into that tiny jailhouse courtroom in the August heat.

Stay tuned.

Golden State Killer Survivors Exploited for Political Gain

It’s 4am as I start this because I can’t sleep. I’m so angry, it’s beyond my belief. I have to get this off my chest because what happened yesterday was absolute garbage. Regardless of your position on the death penalty, that’s not what this is about. No, it’s possible for everyone to have their own point of view on the death penalty. That’s how it works. What happened yesterday was not about the death penalty: it was about politics and we were used without our consent. (Disclaimer: written while triggered and sleep deprived. There are bound to be typos here.)

Think about that. Victims of the Visalia Ransacker, East Area Rapist and the Original Nightstalker: now collectively known as the Golden State Killer Survivors, were once again victimized, in broad daylight, without any single member of the prosecution considering how we might feel about what went down yesterday.

I call it crashing thoughts. When my front brain can’t keep up with all the crap my back brain is processing.

Our gathering yesterday was weird. I’ll write it up, but I need to jump around a bit to explain what’s going on. I left the afternoon event yesterday feeling strange; like in my body. I felt anxious and sad and a feeling of dread, but I didn’t know what the feelings were attached to, so I called mom and rattled off the headlines. Typically when I make her listen to me (let’s call a spade a spade here, she rarely gets a word in edgewise), I can sort out my thoughts and feelings. Here’s what I shared with her:

The Planned Parenthood event moved me. Hearing stories from women and men about their healthcare journeys reinvigorated my commitment to female equality and the right to healthcare. The speakers discussed several laws being written today that are designed to take away a woman’s right to make decisions about her body. Decisions being made by politicians; not doctors and families. If you have never had a transvaginal ultrasound, you don’t get a vote in this one. I had several during fertility treatments. Nobody buys you a drink afterward. I understand this might sound like noise to some, but watch The Handmaid’s Tale if your imagination stops there.

Yesterday, I got to meet Mr. Harrington  for the first time. Just in front of the doors of the courtroom, he was talking to a large press gaggle and I assumed, “of course, it’s the first time he’s shown up here, makes sense.” He told the story of his murder – his brother and wife – and as he described it, I teared-up because the Harrington story is the closest to ours and his description was vivid and incredibly relatable for me. I’ve always identified with the Harrington case because the murders were so similar. I stepped away as I felt the tears coming. When Mr. Harrington emerged from the building, I introduced myself and cried again because I had looked forward to meeting him at some point. Remember, for me it’s been 20 years that this family has been part of my story. HBO was freaking everywhere with their cameras (that’s them in my photo from yesterday’s blog) and they captured our meeting on film. My feelings were authentic and if they use that tape, there will be no mistake it was real. At least for me.

The afternoon gathering was uncomfortable. As mentioned, HBO was there and I guess I didn’t realize ahead of time that they would be filming us. I thought they were there to do more background, but I’m an idiot. They were there to tape what we were talking about. Over the last year, this has been our safe space. We say all kinds of things that reflect the individual differences and the commonalities among us. You know when I talk about these gatherings, I do it broadly and make every effort to keep private information private. Every survivor is on their own journey and they deserve to share as they see fit. At least that’s been my commitment when writing. The worst part of the HBO project is that it will be subjective: meaning it’s entertainment. It’s not news and just like the McNamara book, it’s all about an outsider’s interpretation. So I remain dubious. I was taped and recorded. But I wasn’t at ease.

I met a new survivor couple and they were so warm. Bob and Gay joined us for the first time yesterday (they did not go to court). They were together during the attack and they are still together today – I’m not 100% positive but I think they are the only surviving “couple” to stay together. That alone was pretty incredible. But then I learned Bob is a lawyer. I locked in: for the first time, I could talk to a survivor who might have had the same thoughts my dad did during the attack. It was a powerful connection. I talked to Bob for a long time. I found it soothing. New Bob (my dad’s nickname was Bob, just to add to the kismet factor) is kind, thoughtful in his answers, and freaking in love with his wife, Gay. I won’t turn this into a therapy session, but he got in my head in many good ways.

The hearing yesterday was weird. Beyond weird. I wrote about how different it was last night and the number one thing we all talked about yesterday afternoon was that we felt shoved aside and irrelevant yesterday. Everything that happened in court was both a surprise and confounding. We spent a lot of time speculating yesterday about was really going on. But at that point, we didn’t have all the information.

As usual, mom was great. She listened, asked questions and helped me think more about what I’d experienced. But it wasn’t until I started writing last night, that I started to understand the big picture.

After lying in bed arguing in my damn head, it’s time to talk.

Yesterday was planned, staged and executed as a precursor to last night’s fundraiser and today’s press conference aimed at fighting the Governor of California and furthering the political careers of the District Attorneys. I’m not naïve. I knew this was coming. But I am incredibly angry that I was used yesterday, without my consent, in a political game that has nothing to do with us: the survivors. Let’s break it down.

Yesterday’s hearing wasn’t a hearing. It was a stunt.

We were unwitting victims of a political move and I did not consent. If we just take this one point and consider it: in and of itself, it’s shameful. I don’t care whose side you’re on or what your position is on the death penalty. Those things are not relevant to what happened here. The District Attorneys, mine included from Ventura, put together a “hearing” so they would have a platform for fundraising.

It started with our arrival. We were last into the courtroom. We’ve always been first. Sure lawyers might be there, but before they were incredibly respectful. Yesterday, they were front and center, so they’d be seen on camera, and amazingly, the judge agreed to let a lot of extra cameras in the room. We came in last to an unfamiliar and overwhelming scene of media and no seats set aside for us. We had to fumble and fit where there were seats left scattered about the tiny gallery. And if you don’t believe this was incredibly choreographed, at one point a camera man asked the couple I was sitting next to if they’d move because he couldn’t see them in his shot! They declined.

There were two motions ruled on – I remember the other one now – one was about pretrial publicity (dammit, I hate that now I’m thinking DeAngelo’s attorney might have a point), which the judge denied and the other was a very mysterious order of protection. We don’t know who needs to be protected but I found that intriguing. Then, in a weird move, the judge asked if there was an announcement and that’s when each DA stood and got their moment in the sun as they said they would seek the death penalty.

One by one.

Then the hearing was dismissed. The media was excused, and my Ventura-based legal team shook my hand and reassured me they were working hard.

We left the courtroom and without our knowledge, walked into a political media circus.

I was almost last out because I was talking with my Ventura folks. As I walked through the door, I saw an older man, in a suit, with a file folder, talking with the press. I was surprised it was such a big crowd but then I deduced it must be Mr. Harrington and he had never been to court before and I thought that was why the crush was on.

Golden State Killer Survivors Exploited by Politics in Staged Hearing
I managed to get around the gaggle and looked back to see if it was who I thought it was. I was pretty confident it was a Harrington. If only he had wanted to me us.

After I figured out it was him, I sat down with the others on the bench you can see behind him. Those are the survivors, sitting there, trying to figure out what was going on. I have no idea why they were sitting there but someone mentioned they were asked to when they came out. They became unwitting props in a production that didn’t bother to ask us if we wanted to participate. But again, we didn’t know any of this at the time.

Golden State Killer Survivors Exploited by Politics in Staged Hearing
See the women behind Mr. Harrington? Some of those women are survivors. They were placed there without understanding why.

When Mr. Harrington finally came outside, that’s when I introduced myself. I had left to talk with other media folks, so I don’t really know how long things went on inside and what was being discussed. I saw him, connected and then someone said to me, we’d like to have to join us at our big press conference tomorrow. A man with dark hair was pushing it and suggesting I come. He had no details other than today at 10am. I now know it’s the Death Penalty Moratorium Press Conference that will happen today at 10am in Sacramento. Again, this isn’t about the death penalty. It’s about politics and positioning District Attorneys – who are elected and therefore are politicians – as being tough on crime. Alas, I find it funny that the death penalty is where they want to hang their hats.

Let’s face it: the death penalty is the last phase in a conviction. It’s rare, expensive and only affects a handful of cases. Here’s some more factual information so you can see what crimes fall under the provision (this site appears to be neutral reporting of data). It’s always been weird to me that DAs want to hang their hat on the white elephant rather than the day to day stuff. But that’s me. I digress.

Why does my stomach ache and my head hurt.

As I drove home, and clearly mentioned on Twitter and on my blog last night, I felt sick. How was it that none of the survivors knew what was going down yesterday but one? How did the rich white man from Orange County, Mr. Harrington, who has never talked with us, just take over the narrative? How did the women and men, who’ve been coming to court for a year, sharing their stories, finding their courage, how did we become victim props for the DAs’ agenda?

Well, it turns out, yesterday in court was just part one of an integrated fundraising campaign being run by Crime Victims United. Just take a moment and delight in the cleverness of the name. United. As in, not you Golden State Killer guys, but us guys from places like Orange County. The GUYS united around a political platform that supports Devin Nunes and Dana Rohrabacher. And again, I will set this aside because I’m capable of living in a world with different opinions.

Golden State Killer Survivors Exploited by Politics in Staged Hearing
The fundraiser was last night. While I was struggling in my hotel room to figure out what happened, these folks are out using the case for fundraising. Would have been nice to know up front.

My District Attorney from Ventura was one of the speakers last night. They were specifically using the Golden State Killer case to raise money. I would have appreciated Mr. Totten telling me yesterday what was really happening and allowing me to then decide how I might want to participate – or not. Either way, this wasn’t about the victims. If it was, they would have been honest. They told none of us. Mr. Harrington was the only person (man) read in and they steamrolled the rest of us in pursuit of their personal agenda (as opposed to the collective agenda we survivors thought we were using).

Golden State Killer Survivors Exploited by Politics in Staged Hearing

Let’s take a step back and look at the big picture for a minute.

Our Ventura crime is on track. Clean, clear and DNA with a clean chain of custody. But many of the crimes DeAngelo committed are not being charged. This has been devastating for many of the survivors. Half of the time, we are merely supporting one another through the grief of not being part of the case while vicariously living through the charges that will stick. Remember Bob, the husband that was new yesterday? Their case can’t be made. There are others in the same boat – meaning, the police and DAs will not even talk with them anymore. They aren’t as relevant. It’s the cruel reality of American jurisprudence. But feelings don’t care about reality and people are human. The pain is real.

My point is, several victims have already had to eat a shit sandwich since DeAngelo’s been jailed. It’s beyond uncool to use any of us in this way. Furthermore, why did they hide their agenda from us? That’s the real question. I stood in front of Gary Totten and he said nothing. And they’d already pulled the trigger. They had their moment in court and Harrington was outside dropping the bomb. Did they think none of us would support their position? I know some of us who would have. But why ask a woman when there’s a rich, white man available? I bet some of you want to fight me on this but go back and read this again. He’s never, ever been to court. He hasn’t reached out to us. He showed up with his DA and left; making no real contact with any of us. If I hadn’t reached out to him, he wouldn’t have missed it.

I have always held Mr. Harrington in high regard. I worked in Northern California on Prop 69, which was funded by his family. The law passed requiring DNA from all convicted felons. It is a good law and it’s helping solve crimes. We share a horrible crime. I ignorantly thought we had a connection.

As for today’s press conference, it’s not about the Golden State Killer.

It’s about Gavin Newsom and politics and points of view and using a popular brand, GSK, to elevate their message. If you look at the list of participants, only Harrington is there as a GSK representative. I again ask why they chose him – and didn’t speak with anyone else that I know of – to participate in today’s press conference. In the context of #MeToo, white privilege and women being marginalized all over the place, politics once again defaulted to rich white men to control the narrative.

I’m going to talk more about this as it evolves. I want this group to pay for my week up here. My hotel, my food, gas. I was manipulated and played. Emotionally and financially. I came to what I thought was a hearing and instead it was political theater. I would have liked to know that ahead of time.

We are not fools. We are trusting. We’ve been honest and respectful and authentic. Frankly, my authenticity is all I have. I thought long and hard about what I’ve written here, but it’s too important to let slip through the cracks. I’m super interested in your opinion on how this is going down.

PS: now it’s 7:30am and it’s light outside. Happy Thursday. Talk to you on Twitter!

Oh! Take the Survey! It’s still open. We might hit statistical significance.
If you’re into True Crime, this survey is for you! 

Click here! 

 

Court Date | April 10, 2019 – One Year Later, DeAngelo Earns the Death Penalty as Possible Consequence

It’s nearly 8pm and I am swimming in a hot mess of feelings. I might not even be able to write everything tonight because I need sleep and a chance to form my thoughts. Today had a lot of surprises and some of them are really bothering me. Don’t worry. I’ll explain. But I first need to clarify my thoughts. Meanwhile, I can knock out some of the basic, non-controversial stuff. Let’s do this! 

First, a paragraph about the Planned Parenthood Capitol Advocacy Day.

It was a great way to start the day. I’ve always supported Planned Parenthood because I know they serve people who truly need help. I have to say, I don’t even think I had a clue about how focused they are on protecting our right to healthcare. Talk about woke! Setting aside abortions (because I don’t want to trigger anyone), the outreach, education and accessibility this organization is providing blew my mind. I need to do some research to make sure what I heard is true, so I’m going to write more about this later. All I can say is you should not be afraid of this organization. It’s truly worth our support. Couple photos below.

Court was different today. Survivors took a back seat to politics.

Didn’t expect to type that sentence. I guess I will walk right into one of the weird things that happened today. Typically, we survivors meet on the corner with Victim Services and we walk in together ahead of everyone. It’s happened that way every other time. Today our squad was the last to enter (but still ahead of general public whom I’m not sure ever get in). We entered the courtroom to be greeted by a wall of media – typically it’s been a pool camera and sound guy. The first nearly three rows of the gallery were filled with people in dark clothing (that’s the uniform lawyers wear). We ended up having to find seats where we could and that kept us from sitting together. This sounds worse than it was. Let’s say this is how it felt: crowded, staged and for the first time, we had a different role. But then, it seems only one survivor knew what was going to happen today. [This is an intentional cliff hanger because I need to do just a bit of research before I open my big yap. If what I’m thinking is true, I’m pretty angry.]

DeAngelo is doing great on Keto. Absolutely no visible body fat.

Imagine a packed courtroom, media piled on top of each other to your right. A dozen lawyers for the prosecution and two for the defense. The room is silenced promptly at 1:30 and a different judge walks in! No adorable Judge Sweet. But it’s all good. We quietly wait to get started and then I realize, DeAngelo hasn’t arrived yet. The bailiff is peeking through a cracked door waiting – for what I think is – an elevator to deliver DeAngelo to the hallway that’s just outside the cage. We wait for a little bit (not that long but it’s noticeable since we’re all quiet) and then he walks in.

He looks exactly the same and yet smaller and more frail. Frail in that he seems to have finally lost all body fat. He has no butt. His arms were much smaller (circumference). He still stands at parade-rest with his mouth looking like it’s hanging open (I’m not able to see him from the front so until I watch a television report, I can’t tell if it was actually open). He remains unremarkable.

New judge (I’m too lazy to get up and get my notes right now to find his name); new judge is great and immediately denies the defense motion to once again prevent the media from participating. This is going to be DeAngelo’s lawyer’s pro forma motion every time. Then, in an unexpected move, the judge said, we are here today for an announcement. (We are? I thought we were just here to check on how discovery was going?) At that point, the different district attorneys got up and announced they were going to pursue the death penalty. It was a dramatic moment and I didn’t realize that this is how things work – that it’s done in an announcement. I guess it usually happens much later in the process. Since our case is a horse of a different color, this is how they did it. I’ll admit, even though I oppose the death penalty, it was incredibly satisfying to have them say it county by county so that DeAngelo could hear it.

After the announcement, we were done. Hearing dismissed.

I have so much more to say…but I need to sleep first.We did get together afterward, and I want to talk about that too! Thank you for all the support. I do read your comments and messages and I love the squad on Twitter.

I just got off the phone with a reporter friend and I think I might break some news tomorrow.

Planned Parenthood Advocacy Day at the California State Capitol 2019
Seconds before this shot, this poor man feel into the brick box behind him. He bounced up and smiled for the camera! Look at that tree.
Planned Parenthood Advocacy Day at the California State Capitol 2019
I’ve never been at something with rally signs before.
Planned Parenthood Advocacy Day at the California State Capitol 2019
The guy on the right looking at me for the win! I believe he wasn’t allowed to eat lunch until after this shot.
Planned Parenthood Advocacy Day at the California State Capitol 2019
Jennifer Newsom, First Partner, and Dr. Leana Wen. Both women were brilliant, informed and measured. I have now followed both on Twitter. Smart women.
Planned Parenthood Advocacy Day at the California State Capitol 2019
I am honestly ashamed I hadn’t thought of this before. The homeless don’t go to the bathroom and open the cupboard when they get their period. What do they do? Welcome to the Homeless Period Project. These kits are shared with women who need them.
Planned Parenthood Advocacy Day at the California State Capitol 2019
I am smitten with this building. Its gorgeous and it reminds me of my dad. Smells like law inside. Please note the palm tree. The wind was unpleasant!

Court Date December 6 | Legal Representation for Joseph DeAngelo

You know that feeling when you are leaving for a short stay away from home and you know you forgot something, but you’ll be damned if you can figure out what it is you’re missing? That was me leaving for Sacramento on Weds. I knew something was missing. I knew it. But what. Turns out the butt part was the key to the question. I can now proudly say, I’ve worn the same underwear for three days. Yep. I’m bad ass. No seriously. So, so bad.

I had a sense this hearing might set off a lot of the feels,but I was not ready for the intensity of those feels. We didn’t cover a lot, it was over in about 20 minutes and yet, in that small window of time, things were said that forced me to keep my mouth closed. But let’s take this from the top,shall we?

The project cost of trying this case is estimated (so far) at $20+ million.

That story broke earlier this week as all the attorneys from all the jurisdictions were meeting this week prior to the hearing. According to SF Gate:

While the current estimate is more than $20 million, it is impossible at this point to accurately estimate all costs. We anticipate the complexities of the case, including 40 years of evidence, to greatly affect the final cost,” said Natasha Drane of the county’s office of Governmental Relations and Legislation…The $20 million estimate includes the prosecution anddefense of DeAngelo, Drane said. He’s been represented by a public defender since his arrest in April. Read more…

Guys, this has me so upset it’s crazy. Not only did this man ruins lives and take our loved ones from us – and let’s not even think about our individual costs for therapy, moving, replacing things, protecting ourselves and then the sunk costs of hunting him, investigating him, investigating each crime – and now, going forward, this piece of human trash is going to cost California another 20 million at least!?! That sound you hear is me screaming, maybe if you close the window, I won’t sound so loud. I will be writing about this more. Stand by.

We all meet Victor Hayes.

I had known he was out there because of his interviews, and I had heard him say he was going to be in the courthouse but maybe not going into the courtroom. I wanted to meet him. This time, I finally got smart and booked a hotel downtown, so I could walk to court. Good plan, poorly executed. I ended up getting to the jail late (still there, not areal courthouse yet, but don’t tell Judge Sweet I said it wasn’t real). I missed my Victim’s Services squad, so I bumbled-in on my own. And there was Victor!I introduced myself and we had a brief talk. All I can say is that he’s still very angry. I am so glad he was there, and he ended up coming inside the courtroom.I didn’t get to talk with him afterward, but that was a huge step and hopefully,it’s the beginning of his healing journey. (OMG that sounds like some crunchy California thing to say, but I mean it, you must start somewhere.)

Judge Sweet breaks it down and I lose it.

Court started at 1:38pm. As you might imagine, it was packed.First two rows were lawyers from everywhere; prosecution (a ton!) and defense(three or four, not sure about one of them). Right side, all of us, and we were three rows deep. And then, of course, the media and some other regulars who are watching this case. I promised I would wear my ugly Christmas sweater, scored at the Walmart in Vermont last year, and I did. Because of my giant sequined Santa,my newest DA person from Ventura, Cheryl M. Temple, Chief Deputy District Attorney, found me very easily! We came in through the back of Dept 61 again this time, and there she was, this bright, happy face waiting to find someone in an ugly sweater. BAM! No confusion. I spent some time with her afterward and Ventura is good to go!

The first piece of business, after some introductions, was the defense motion to remove the press. The judge, who I am crushing on just a bit, was very good about explaining the request and citing the law he used to deny the defense request. His biggest reason for denying the request is he believes it’sin the public interest to show that law enforcement is doing all it should to protect the rights of all of us in these proceedings. It’s a matter of public trust and Judge Sweet wants this process to be trusted. He also said these proceedings are being followed all over the world, and that was another reason why the media needed to see what’s happening. I’m screwing this up – he said it so well– but it was a good explanation of the factors he weighed in making his decision.

They then set the date for the next hearing: April 10, 1:30 pm.

Want fries with that?

I mean if the meal is free, why not? The business we were thereto conduct was to determine if DeAngelo has the means to pay for his own defense. Since the last hearing in August, the defense had to complete a financial statement that explains DeAngelo’s assets. This document is kept confidential. It is sealed and given to the judge (who must then store it in his private hutch?) and it is kept sealed unless there is reason to believe it contains information that contradicts what the judge was being told.

The defense determined DeAngelo cannot afford his own attorney.I am sure I’ve knocked you all over with that analysis. I mean DUH. We all expected this.

But what the judge said and how he said it, is what got me.Judge Sweet calmly said something like, “Yeah, you can’t afford an attorney.You have multiple counts of murder and most with special circumstances, I mean there’s no way you could afford to pay for that.” He delivered that almost with a smile – it could have been incredulity and I missed it. And it wasn’t flip. It was just too pleasant. Because when he said it, I wanted to shout, “Oh hell no!”, because of DNA, I’m already sold. He’s guilty. I wanted to shout but instead, I shoved my mouth onto my arm, so I didn’t misbehave. Our bailiff is tough, and I don’t doubt she could drop me in seconds.

The section of the Penal Code that explains how this works, is 987 (c):

(c) In order to assist the court in determining whether a defendant is able to employ counsel in any case, the court may require a defendant to file a financial statement or other financial information under penalty of perjury with the court or, in its discretion, order a defendant to appear before a county officer designated by the court to make an inquiry into the ability of the defendant to employ his or her own counsel. If a county officer is designated, the county officer shall provide to the court a written recommendation and the reason or reasons in support of the recommendation. The determination by the court shall be made on the record. Except as provided in Section 1214 , the financial statement or other financial information obtained from the defendant shall be confidential and privileged and shall not be admissible in evidence in any criminal proceeding except the prosecution of an alleged offense of perjury based upon false material contained in the financial statement. The financial statement shall be made available to the prosecution only for purposes of investigation of an alleged offense of perjury based upon false material contained in the financial statement at the conclusion of the proceedings for which the financial statement was required to be submitted. The financial statement and other financial information obtained from the defendant shall not be confidential and privileged in a proceeding under Section 987.8 .

Judge Sweet also explained that after the case, if he has any assets left, he will be asked to cover whatever costs he can. I suppose he can make and sell fishing lures to the other inmates.

Surprise! I have an opinion.

This one is based a lot on feelings and maybe a little too much on principle. I can’t help it, but my brain automatically has this beacon for fairness. As I listen to the resources we are going to spend on this piece of human excrement, ignoring all the sunk costs, I get upset. There are men and woman in lock-up today, who can’t afford an attorney, but they don’t all these special perks. In fact, they get overworked, committed lawyers who believe people have a right to representation. I don’t know what caseloads are like in Sacramento, but based on the size of the jail? I bet there aren’t near enough.

This is taxpayer money. My money. Your money.

We want this to work if someone is innocent. It’s what makes our democracy strong. Bankrupting someone who has been charged wrongly isn’t a good thing. But we got us a horse of a different color here. All rules are not created equal and sometimes, there needs to be a different paradigm for outliers. Just knowing he’d forfeit all his assets with one conviction would be enough for me.

I also think this creates a rather weird dynamic: if you commit a crime, just be sure to go big because then you’ll get a free ride as you fight for your freedom.

And then there’s DeAngelo’s exclusive power to not screw us all again: he could confess. But this man, even for the benefit of his family, doesn’t seem inclined to clean up the mess he made. Nope, our mouth-breathing defect isn’t talking. The word is, still no visitors.

Some things are precious. Our survivor (and friends) community.

Most of us met one another just under six months ago. It doesn’t feel like that. I don’t know folks well, but there’s this underlying trust and affection that binds us together and it’s a wonderful feeling. Seeing one another, hugs, quick updates on little life things events and now, a wonderful tradition of getting together afterwards to talk about what just happened and then how things are proceeding on a meta level. We even talk about– with affection – those who aren’t with us in person (like Debbie and Shelly and Sunny).

Carol Daly provided the location and some grub (including her delicious homemade ice cream I went on about last summer). She shared some stories about her early days on the case and every time I spend more time with her, I just love her a bit more. She is one incredible woman. And while Hot for Holes is delicious to watch, Carol deserves some of the adoration as well. Just an amazing woman.

I also want to give a shout out to all the online support as well. I am still grateful and appreciative of all the folks who provide support via social media. This arrest happened when my life was already in free fall. Folks online have been amazing on a daily basis. I feel like I have friends all over who just make sure I’m okay. I also know you guys are amazing support for the other survivors as well. Just – LOVE!

Sacramento did not disappoint.

Meanwhile, the weather this week was amazeballs. Glorious coolness with plenty of sunshine and fall leaves. I love Sac in the fall. In early fell on my booty kicking a huge pile of leaves. Seeing the horses in the rose garden was a highlight along with our portable menorah.

I mean so many colors! 
And Sacramento has so much artwork! This was after court. I think I coveted the martini.
Our hotel in background, these CHP Clydesdales were getting some exercise. 
This sums it up. Christmas and Hanukkah. Boxed Cabernet (bad). Chocolate (bad). Hotel (good) – thank you again Marriott.

Court Date Aug 23 | Twenty-Six New Charges for Joseph DeAngelo

In just a few days, the names of the 9/11 victims will be read again in New York. I can’t listen to them. It tears me up and it’s been 17 years! I get lost thinking about all the little things like did they have kids (who are now grown) or were they engaged or pregnant. They were just people doing what we all do every day – going to work. Firefighters and law enforcement ran in to do what they do every day. And just like that, hate changed us. To the bottom of our collective souls. And so when the names are read every year, it doesn’t feel like enough. I know it’s important – but it resonates with the loss we all shared that day. 

You’d think we’d know more about what was going to happen when we all assemble for another hearing day in the world of Joseph DeAngelo. But we don’t. We get email from victim services, but it’s often really cryptic and light. This hearing was a surprise. We’d all been building our lives around today, September 5th, where we were supposed to attend an “update” hearing. We’d even planned a little barbecue at Carol Daly’s house afterward. But the District Attorneys had other plans. Everything got moved up to August 23 and the plan was to file 26 more charges against Wee Willy Winky.

Our group continues to grow with every court date.

As I’ve said, we all meet on this one outside corner before court so our handlers – the Victim Services folks – can wrangle us and get us into the courtroom with minimal drama. Since the courtroom is still in the jail, we have to go through the metal detector and walk the gauntlet of reporters. This time, they actually moved us into an area behind the courtrooms (so we didn’t have to go through the media) and took us into an empty courtroom first where we could play a little and put our anxiety to work. (I don’t think that was their intention, they were just protecting us, but man, it turned out to be a good way for us to touch things and goof around. And yes, I did take silly pictures of people too, but I can’t share them because I want to protect everyone’s privacy.)

Charges filed
That bailiff, whose face I cant show, is one kick ass woman. She keeps us all in line and herds the media like a boss! This courtroom is way more organized than Judge Sweet’s courtroom (that’s not a judgment).

Charges filed
You know I had to touch these bars. It’s definitely stronger than it looks. That thing is solid. The brown door goes to an elevator hallway that allows the prisoners to come into the courtroom and then scoot back up to their cell.(Do prisoners scoot? When did I start writing children’s books?)

Charges filed
I feel like this sign needs the word “dammit” at the bottom. I am surprised there isn’t a sign in other languages but I don’t know what that elevator hallway looks like, so they may have already gotten the message.

It’s kind of funny because as we grow as a group, we are becoming a force: I think there were maybe 20 of us this time! I didn’t realize this would happen – don’t know why, I guess I just hadn’t thought about it before. Of course, I never thought there would be an arrest. I hope it keeps happening. I hope all the Sacramento (and beyond) survivors get to come and feel the power of what it means to have the upper hand. I also really enjoy seeing the friendly media who I’ve come to know and appreciate on a personal level. I guess I better be friendly with them because now that Sacramento is the home for the trial, we are all going to be spending a great deal of time together.

When the time came, they moved us through the back room (where the judge and others typically enter the courtroom) and got us into our regular room, Dept 61. We were greeted by ALL the District Attorneys who were lined up on the prosecution side. I instantly recognized DA Totten, the Ventura DA (my DA as I affectionately call him) and I rushed over to introduce myself and shake his hand. He flashed a giant smile at me – we hadn’t met before – and I had a chance to thank him for being so well-spoken on the press conference held that Tuesday, and for expressing his commitment so eloquently. I am freaking proud of him – he’s been working on this case since he joined the Ventura DA’s office. The Sacramento Bee spoke with him:

Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten said later in an interview Carole’s presence was one of several reasons he needed to be present for the arraignment.

“This was the first case I ever worked on as a young law clerk in the Ventura County District Attorney’s office,” Totten said. “And the daughter of Lyman Smith, who was brutally murdered in Ventura County, was here today, and for me it was personally very important to be here.”

What a guy. He asked to talk with me after the hearing so I hung back afterward and spent a few minutes with him. I think the collaboration the District Attorney’s have managed is amazing. I have worked on some tough cross-functional teams, but I never had to worry about voters at the same time. Seeing them all there, in a row, resolute and committed; it was powerful.

Court’s in session.

With the Honorable Judge Michael Sweet presiding, court started. DeAngelo slid into the cage as silently as I imagine he broke into homes. Not a freaking sound from this man. I sat behind him hoping to see his hands cuffed behind him, but no such luck. Assistant Public Defender Diane Howard was back in court and being as obsequious as ever. She stood close, nearly touching him at the shoulder, and I know she could smell him. Just yuck.

At this point, he’s been in jail for four months and the weight loss is significant. I have no idea if he’s eating, but I know he’s not getting beer. He has lost maybe 40 pounds and this makes him look gaunt and frail. But I think he’s just back at his fighting weight. He stood looking straight ahead as usual in a military-like parade rest – attentive but not at attention. He doesn’t even really look at Howard during the course of the hearing. He looks at the judge and that’s about it. Well, there’s also the mouth breathing. I remember on the phone calls he made, he liked to pant. Maybe he just can’t close his damn lips! The Bee’s reporter noticed how he looked as well:

Looking, pale, thin and frail, the 72-year-old former police officer stood silently inside the courtroom cage on the first floor of the Sacramento County Main Jail building without speaking.

The District Attorneys were introduced and there was a discussion of DeAngelo’s ability to pay for a legal defense. So far, he’s been leaning on the Public Defender’s office. But defending him against these crimes is going to cost a small fortune. It could mean he will lose all his assets as he liquidates them to pay legal fees. I have no idea what that does to his family but I think (hope) they are all adults and somehow finding a way to cope and manage financially. I can’t even imagine how upside-down their world must be. At the hearing in December, we’ll find out if he qualifies for an Indigent Defense.

As he considers that, I’d like to offer a recommendation – and maybe his family can push for this because it would absolutely be a blessing for them – he needs to simply take a plea. Own it man. You thought you were “Da Man”; the bad-ass mother f–ker who could get anyone and not get caught. You had the courage to destroy lives without fear of retribution. If you are all that, then step up. Do it for your family. Own your shit and put this thing to bed. Just admit it was you and we can all get back to living. And you can join the general population instead of death row.

The list of additional charges.

In late April, at his first arraignment, he was charged with the deaths of the Maggiores. That was enough to bind him over and keep him in custody. But the charges read in court were expanded and clarified. There were also 13 counts of kidnap that allowed prosecutors to reach into some of the rape cases and hold him accountable. I need Kat Winters and Keith Komos to map these charges to what they have in their awesome book* to help me confirm these are all DNA cases – but I’m sure they are. We sat for 30 minutes, the gallery in silence, as each charge was read. You wanna freak yourself out? Read these out loud.

Count 1: Murder of Claude Snelling, Sept. 11, 1975, in Visalia; using a .38 revolver.

Count 2: Murder of Kate Maggiore of Rancho Cordova, Feb. 2, 1978; using a gun of unknown caliber.

Count 3: Murder of Brian Maggiore of Rancho Cordova, Feb. 2, 1978; using a gun of unknown caliber.

Count 4: Murder of Debra Alexandra Manning of Santa Barbara County, Dec. 30, 1979; using a gun of unknown caliber and special circumstances because it includes rape and burglary.

Count 5: Murder of Robert Offerman of Santa Barbara County, Dec. 30, 1979; using a gun of unknown caliber and special circumstances because it includes burglary.

Count 6: Murder of Cheri Domingo of Santa Barbara County, July 27, 1981; using a gun of unknown caliber and special circumstances because it includes rape and burglary.

Count 7: Murder of Greg Sanchez of Santa Barbara County, July 27, 1981; using a gun of unknown caliber and special circumstances because it includes burglary.

Count 8: Murder of Charlene Smith of Ventura County, found March 16, 1980; and special circumstances because it includes rape and burglary.

Count 9: Murder of Lyman Smith of Ventura County, found March 16, 1980; and special circumstances because it includes burglary.

Count 10: Murder of Patrice Harrington of Orange County, Aug. 21, 1975; and special circumstances because it includes rape and burglary.

Count 11: Murder of Keith Harrington of Orange County, Aug. 21, 1975; and special circumstances because it includes burglary.

Count 12: Murder of Manuella Witthuhn of Irvine, found Feb. 5, 1981; and special circumstances because it includes rape, robbery and burglary.

Count 13: Murder of Janelle Cruz of Irvine killed May 4, 1986; and special circumstances because it includes rape and burglary.

[Now take a small breath here; we got one, but it lasted just a few seconds while Judge Sweet prepared to read more.]

Count 14: Jane Doe 1 of Sacramento on Sep. 6, 1976; robbery.

Count 15: Jane Doe 2 of Sacramento on Apr. 2, 1977; kidnap and use of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Count 16: Jane Doe 3 of Sacramento on Apr. 15, 1977; kidnap, robbery and use of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Count 17: Jane Doe 4 of Sacramento on May 3, 1977; kidnap, robbery and use of a knife and firearm during the commission of a crime.

Count 18: Jane Doe 5 of Sacramento on May 14, 1977; kidnap, robbery and use of a knife and firearm during the commission of a crime.

Count 19: Jane Doe 6 of Sacramento on May 17, 1977; kidnap, robbery and use of a knife and firearm during the commission of a crime.

Count 20: Jane Doe 7 of Sacramento on May 28, 1977; kidnap, robbery and use of a knife and firearm during the commission of a crime.

Count 21: Jane Doe 8 of Sacramento on Oct. 1, 1977; kidnap, robbery and use of a knife and firearm during the commission of a crime.

Count 22: Jane Doe 9 of Sacramento on Oct. 2, 1977; kidnap and use of a knife and firearm during the commission of a crime.

Count 23: Jane Doe 10 of Contra Costa County on Oct. 7, 1978; kidnap, robbery and use of a knife and firearm during the commission of a crime.

Count 24: Jane Doe 11 of Contra Costa County on Oct. 13, 1978; kidnap, robbery and use of a knife during the commission of a crime.

Count 25: Jane Doe 12 of Contra Costa County on Oct. 28, 1978; kidnap, robbery and use of a knife and firearm during the commission of a crime.

Count 26: Jane Doe 13 of Contra Costa County on Jun. 11, 1979; kidnap, robbery and use of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

The other rapes and burglaries won’t be charged because the statute of limitations has run out in those cases.

Guys, I gotta tell you, listening to this list be read out loud was pure hell. A journalist friend had brought a young person with her to court because they had to rush off to Reno after the hearing. Normally this is just a pop-in and get it done hearing with very little drama. But surprise! This was heavy as hell. I spoke to him before it got started and said, “Wow, you’re here to see a murderer,” and my friend waved me off in that parent-way that communicates (dummy-up, he doesn’t know all that). Welp, after this list being read, he knew. I talked to him afterward to see how he took it in, but I have a feeling that car ride afterward might have included a good discussion.

As each count was read, I took notes, which always provides me with cover so my feelings don’t take over. Even with this distraction, as these words were spoken I had this heavy feeling of dread. Every life on that list (and the 100+ more who had been raped, ransacked or intruded upon) had been changed by the actions of this one person. This doesn’t even include his family. Over the decades I’ve had to deal with my dad’s name being in places that don’t necessarily make me that happy. Books, documentaries, news stories and now a list of crimes. It’s surreal: my dad wanted to be famous. But he wanted it for making a difference and being an extraordinary lawyer and judge (and inevitably a elected official). He never wanted it like this. And yet…

I’ll take my dad’s fame from this case.

And here’s why: nothing has had a bigger impact on criminal justice than DNA. I don’t know if anyone is counting (where are my nerds), but many many crimes have been solved since DeAngelo’s arrest thanks to DNA. In addition, missing persons are being identified left and right. And there are new ideas about using DNA with suspects because DNA testing is getting better and much faster. I was tweeting about this the other day – I feel kinda proud to be part of this case with all the good that’s coming out of his arrest.

Finally, as things wrapped up, the media was there and many of the survivors understandably don’t feel comfortable talking with them. I had gotten a call in the morning from Fox 40 and agreed to talk with them after the hearing. That was fine but I had no idea when the bailiffs shooshed us out the door, that there would be a gaggle of reporters and I was basically alone! At the end of the questions, I spent a bit more time with the guy from the Associated Press (he’s the blond guy with glasses on my right). It was his first time on this beat, he’s new to Sacto (if I got his story right) and he was impressed with the gaggle. We had a really nice talk and I welcomed him to our madness: life after arrest.

A group of the survivors got together than afternoon. Sadly I missed it because I had to stay to talk with Totten and then I got back on the road to Santa Cruz because I had knee surgery the next day.

Charges filed
I’m so damn short. Like five foot one at this point. This doesn’t show it very well, but I feel like I’m in a little hole compared to these folks. Thankfully, they were very kind and courteous.

One of the best things about writing this blog, is getting feedback from you either via comments (below) or on Twitter. For long thoughts, commenting here or an email is best. But if you want to just shoot the you-know-what or be silly, Twitter is awesome. You might see my politics leak through but don’t let that bug you; I believe folks with different opinions make good friends. The support I’ve received this summer has been nothing I would have ever expected. Thank you for that – even if all you did was visit this blog. I feel the support and it helped me get through my little surgery, get back to work and find my inner momentum again.

 

 

*Their amazing, comprehensive book is currently on back order – let me know if you’re trying to buy it and I’ll hook you up!

Venue Decision for Golden State Killer: Where Will We Hold the Trial

The press release below went out on May 11 regarding the on-going discussions among the district attorneys and the right venue for trying the Golden State Killer (I still can’t bear to use his name).

The pros and cons of different locations.

Since my dad was a lawyer, we have old friends who have shared some insight on how these talks might be going. With that said, these are only points of view – not facts.

Sacramento: I think most people agree that Sacramento was deeply wounded by this beast and there are so many here that have been impacted by him in some way. The challenge is, as I understand it, the rapes may be considered ineligible for trial based on the statute of limitations (note: this needs to change). The two murders here I believe can only be connected by ballistics. But I also heard they pulled guns out of his home, so there is hope.

Ventura: We offered up the DNA that was used to make the arrest. Our district attorney has a stellar reputation and I would find great satisfaction in doing our part to lock this guy up.

Orange County: There were more victims there and their Cold Case Division helped put these murders together. Potentially they have the most conservative jury pool. That is a compelling argument but I find it hard to believe that will be necessary.

This is just the beginning of the rationale they are using to work this out. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the venue. Looks like we know where and when until the end of June – if then. As I keep saying, we’ve waited this long for him to be caught, we can wait to make sure this is a slam dunk.

Press Release regarding Golden State Killer Meeting 5.11.18