Authorities in California on Monday announced the thirteenth murder charge against Joseph James DeAngelo, the man they believe to be the Golden State Killer. He is accused of taking the life of Claude Snelling decades ago, said the Visalia Police Department in a press conference Monday.
Snelling woke up early September 11, 1975 to find a man attempting to kidnap his juvenile daughter, said Chief Jason Salazar. The would-be kidnapper took out a handgun and fatally shot Snelling. The attacker fled.
Not only was DeAngelo charged in the murder, he was also linked to crimes allegedly committed by the “Visalia Ransacker” in the 1970s. This person was suspected in more than a hundred burglaries. The handgun used in the Snelling murder was stolen — taken from one of the previous “Ransacker” break-ins, said Salazar.
The Visalia Ransacker was known for not taking expensive items, but instead personal items like photos or costume jewelry. He’d even eat food inside the residences during the crimes, Salazar said.
Visalia cops believed this was the same man known as the “Golden State Killer” because of the similarity in MO.
Salazar pointed out that DeAngelo was a cop in the nearby city of Exeter from 1973 to 1976, matching the period of time in which the Ransacker cases occurred in Visalia.
The local crimes stopped around the same time DeAngelo left the Exeter Police Department, and moved from the immediate area.
The Golden State Killer was generally suspected in at least a dozen murders, about 50 rapes, and more than 100 burglaries. DeAngelo was arrested and first charged in the case in April 2018.
[Image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]