10 May 2018

The Trial Of A Monster, Pt 3: Not-So-Many Words From The Santa Barbara DA

Today at 2:30 PST, or 5:30 for us Atlantic kids, Santa Barbara County DA Joyce Dudley stood behind a podium for the briefest press conference in the history of brief press conferences.

"Violent cold cases never grow cold for victims or their loved ones," she opens with. "In fact, most of them spend their lives feverishly seeking answers and desperately hoping for justice."

Unfortunately, those answers weren't going to be given today.

The DA spends the next maybe seven minutes dishing out a tray of greasy nothingburgers, as she gives us no more than the bare essentials - all of which were things we had either already known or had come to expect. Nevertheless, some of it was satisfying to hear.

After a breakdown of the events of the last two weeks, she feeds us the following slab of raw, unsalted burger: "Joseph DeAngelo is a suspect who must be presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty." These words are obvious and true, of course, and that's how the Justice System works - "innocent until proven guilty" - but that doesn't make those words necessary. We know he's "presumed" innocent. We know he'll have to be tried in court before he's hung by his thumbs. But the evidence can't be denied - every DNA sample collected and compared, a 100% match. Every piece of DeAngelo's life history, all of the little events scattered about his personal timeline, fall cozily into the gaps on the timeline of the Golden State Killer (or, in the case of Santa Barbara, the Original Night Stalker). Loose ends have been tied. Strange behaviors explained. Almost every pause in the Golden State Killer's crime spree seems to coincide with a significant moment in DeAngelo's life - we recently learned that in 1979 DeAngelo was fired from the Auburn Police Dept. after being caught stealing a hammer and dog repellent. Not two months later an attacker appeared in Santa Barbara, more than three hundred miles due south of the East Area Rapist's Sacramento stomping grounds. The recent findings suggest the possibility that he may have fled the Sacramento region in fear that his firing from the police might put him on the radar, and that he could soon be suspected of something much larger than petty shoplifting. It's there, in Southern California, that eight people die by his hand over the course of nearly two years - and then everything stops in July of 1981, for nearly half a decade. Why the quiet five years? In September of 1981, DeAngelo's first child is born.

See how it all adds up?

Sort of silly, then, to even bother chirping "presumed innocent."

But the speech isn't all snooze-fodder, when DA Joyce Dudley announces that she has decided to file against Joseph James DeAngelo four counts of first degree murder, with special circumstances. "Each of the four counts carries multiple allegations," she explains. "Each of the four counts carry the potential for a sentence of life without possibility of parole, or the death sentence."

Good news all around.

After that, she takes a few questions, pointing out first that she "cannot and will not discuss any of the facts or the evidence for any allegations made against Mr. DeAngelo."

The first question, naturally, is evaded. The inquiries which follow are insignificant, eliciting from DA Joyce Dudley answers we already know: the four aforementioned counts, which were actually two duo-killings, are Debra Manning and Robert Offerman, and Cheri Domingo and Greg Sanchez. Both attacks happened in Goleta, the first on the night of December 30, 1979 and the latter on July 27, 1981. (That would be the last sighting of the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker for nearly five years, as mentioned earlier.)

And as far as info garnered from the press conference goes, that's about it. A few minutes of unimportant, monotonic questions are given similarly monotonous answers, and then DA Joyce Dudley finally wraps it up and vanishes into the abyss.

At least the warm weather was ideal for today's Great Santa Barbara Nothingburger Grill.

DeAngelo's Santa Barbara court date has yet to be determined.

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