Suspected 'Golden State Killer' faces new murder, rape charges as case is consolidated

It took roughly 15 minutes to recite the 26 new murder- and rape-related charges filed Thursday against suspected "Golden State Killer" Joseph DeAngelo.

Prosecutors decided to consolidate into one case the charges filed in counties across the state against DeAngelo, 75, whose suspected reign of terror involved dozens of rapes and murders during the 1970s and 1980s

The former police officer sat expressionless in a courtroom cage as the charges were read at a Sacramento County Superior Court hearing -- while survivors looked on.

He was slapped with 13 kidnapping-related charges as the statute of limitations has expired for the suspected rapes of nearly 50 women. He was also hit with consolidated murder charges previously filed in five other California counties.

"The complaint alleges numerous crimes over multiple counties and dates," Judge Michael Sweet said before reading each of the 26 charges.

One family member described the moment hearing the litany of charges to the Associated Press as “very, very intense and really tough.”

Jennifer Carole of Santa Cruz is the daughter of victim Lyman Smith, a lawyer who was slain at age 43 in Ventura in 1980, and whose wife, 33-year-old Charlene Smith, was raped and murdered at the same time.

"Even those few words don't begin to summarize what happened during the crimes. They were heinous, what everybody went through was really horrible. So to hear it, that black-and-white, to hear it get listed, it was hard — it was harder than I thought it was going to be," she added. "My heart is pounding right now. I'm feeling it."

DeAngelo has not yet entered a plea, and prosecutors plan to fight to prevent his use of a public defender to make him pay for his own defense at his next hearing in December. Prosectuors are still debating whether to seek the death penalty.

His public defender, Diane Howard, repeatedly declined to comment.

Investigators were able to use DNA evidence to link DeAngelo to several slayings that led to his arrest in April at his home in Sacramento County.

In addition to the Golden State Killer, other nicknames for DeAngelo include the East Area Rapist and Visalia Ransacker. Prosecutors said he would sneak into suburban homes through windows at night and surprise sleeping victims who ranged in age from 13 to 44.

The attacker would tie up the man and put dishes on his back, while threatening to kill both victims if he heard the plates crash to the floor while he raped the woman. He also looted homes, taking little souvenirs before making his escape.

DeAngelo worked as a police officer during two of the sprees that authorities said terrorized neighborhoods during a time period when people often left their doors unlocked.

Although survivors have been told a trial may not happen for another five to seven years, Carole said it didsn’t bother her as "his life is already over. It's done."

"The rest of us have moved on,” she told the Associated Press. “The survivors have done remarkably well."

Carole also was in support of having the trial consolidated in Sacramento, which prosecutors believe would make it easier for victims.

"I think it's going to be healing for all of us," Carole said.

While other survivors and supporters did not comment, one held a hand-lettered sign reading "Remember the Victims" toward television cameras as she filed out of the courtroom.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.