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Will Contra Costa charges be added to Golden State Killer case?

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By Matthias Gafni

SANTA ANA — Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton will join five other top prosecutors in Orange County Tuesday morning to announce an update in the Golden State Killer case.

Joseph DeAngelo, 72, of Citrus Heights, the alleged notorious serial killer and rapist, already has been charged with 13 murders for slayings up and down the state. Investigators also believe he is responsible for more than 50 rapes across California, including nine in Contra Costa during 1978 and 1979. DeAngelo was alleged to have been known as the “East Area Rapist” during the East Bay attacks.

Becton is the only district attorney attending the news conference who did not have a homicide linked to the Golden State Killer. So, will her office file the first rape charges against DeAngelo?

A Contra Costa DA spokesman Scott Alonso declined to comment Monday on what announcements will be made at the news conference.

Legal experts have said the statute of limitations is long past if the cases only involve rape. But investigators have also said there could be a different avenue to charge DeAngelo for the Contra Costa crimes. If the rape cases could be tied to torture or kidnapping charges, they would become life sentence eligible, which would remove any statute of limitations.

Becton will be joined by Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley, Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward and Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten.

The announcement will be made in Santa Ana in the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

Last week, DeAngelo was charged with the murder of Claude Snelling in Visalia, located in Tulare County. Authorities there believe he was that city’s “Visalia Ransacker,” who burglarized and prowled about 100 different victims during the early 1970s.

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