“The Golden State Killer prosecution begins today,” said Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten at a press conference held in Orange County on Tuesday, joining fellow prosecutors from Santa Barbara, Contra Costa, Sacramento, Tulare, and Orange counties to file a joint felony complaint against Joseph James DeAngelo. The complaint, filed in Sacramento, includes 13 counts of murder, with 18 special circumstances, including rape and burglary, and 13 counts of kidnapping, among other charges. The alleged crimes took place between 1975 and 1986, and four of the 13 counts of murder occurred in Santa Barbara County. Two counts are for the murders of Cheri Domingo and Greg Sanchez on July 27, 1981, in Domingo’s Goleta home. The two other counts are for the murders of Dr. Debra Alexandria Manning and Dr. Robert Offerman; that attack took place on December 30, 1979, in the couple’s Goleta home.
While this is a statewide case, the team of district attorneys — dubbed Team Justice by Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert — decided that a single prosecution in a single jurisdiction serves the best interest of the case and its victims. The combined cases will be heard in Sacramento to ensure a single, comprehensive, speedy trial for all victims, said Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley.
The journey for justice has taken four decades, Schubert said. “We were looking for a needle in a haystack, and we found it.” Of the 13 murder charges, 10 carry special circumstances that make the case eligible for the death penalty. “All of the DAs use a very solemn process in the decision making of whether or not to seek the death penalty in any case,” said Totten. “For us to predict what that would be now would be inappropriate and immature.” DeAngelo’s arraignment is scheduled for August 23, in Sacramento.