California

Who is the Golden State Killer, and what are his many names?

Sacramento authorities announced Wednesday the arrest of a suspect in the East Area Rapist case.

But the East Area Rapist also has many other names, because he traveled the state of California in the 1970s and 1980s, killing at least 12 people, raping at least 45 and burglarizing hundreds of homes.

He’s known in Sacramento as the East Area Rapist because he started out raping women in the eastern part of Sacramento County, before moving on to the Bay Area and then escalating to murder in Southern California.

The killer became known as the Diamond Knot Killer when he murdered Charlene and Lyman Smith in Ventura. The killer bound the pair with a diamond knot, an “unusual decorative knot” that’s used in interior design and for nautical purposes, according to Los Angeles Magazine.

He became known as the Night Stalker after a string of similar crimes in Southern California in the early 1980s, reported the Los Angeles Times. He was later renamed the Original Night Stalker to differentiate him from Richard Ramirez, also - and more prominently - known as the Night Stalker following a deadly crime spree in the Los Angeles area later in the 1980s.

In 1997, DNA testing confirmed that the rapes in Northern California were committed by the same attacker, according to CBS.

Just a few years later, authorities were able to confirm that the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker were the same person through forensic testing, according to CBS.

Their new nickname for him was EAR/ONS. However, in a 2013 article for Los Angeles Magazine, writer Michelle McNamara dubbed him the Golden State Killer. She later penned the book, “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” about his decade-long crime spree.

In a September 2014 post on her website, True Crime Diary, McNamara wrote that she had received some flak for dubbing the attacker the Golden State Killer. "The displeased felt that sounded too glamorous, like he was a Hollywood star. But as my research takes me across California the more I feel the moniker, with its jarring juxtaposition, is apt," she wrote.

During a press conference given by authorities in Sacramento on Wednesday afternoon, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas added a new name to the list of monikers associated with the killer: the Visalia Ransacker.

The Visalia Ransacker conducted about 100 burglaries in Visalia in 1975, according to the Visalia Times-Delta.

During that press conference, authorities named Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, as the suspected Golden State Killer.

DeAngelo is listed in Sacramento County jail records as being booked early this morning on two counts of murder from a Ventura County Sheriff's Department warrant.

On Wednesday morning, FBI agents and law enforcement from Sacramento County and Southern California were outside a home in Citrus Heights near Roseville where DeAngelo has lived for at least two decades, according to public records reviewed by the Sacramento Bee.

Billy Jensen, a colleague of McNamara's who assisted on "I'll Be Gone in the Dark," tweeted pictures of old newspaper clippings about DeAngelo on Wednesday.

According to one clipping, DeAngelo was a police officer in Auburn when he was fired after being accused of shoplifting a can of dog repellent and a hammer from a Sacramento drug store. "Just took his punishment and left the force so no one would look deeper," Jensen wrote in his tweet. The second clipping in Jensen's tweet refers to DeAngelo's affiliation with the International Diving Association. McNamara's book asserts that the killer was athletic.

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