Exeter is known locally for its small town charm, but it’s now nationally known as the launching point for the man suspected to be the Golden State Killer.
Joseph James De Angelo, a former Exeter police officer, was arrested Wednesday after law enforcement matched his DNA to samples left behind at crime scenes.
He was 27 when he joined the force, and a Vietnam veteran, according to the article.
The Sun article stated De Angelo was a Bath, New York native, receiving a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Sacramento State.
He was employed by Exeter from 1973-1976, when he subsequently left to join the Auburn Police Department, where he was fired in 1979 for shoplifting a hammer and a can of dog repellent, according to a report from the Auburn Journal at the time.
From April 1974 to December 1975, the Ransacker did indeed ransack and burglarize homes across Visalia before he escalated to an attempted kidnapping that ended in murder, and later shooting a Visalia police officer in December.
The Ransacker broke into the home of Claude Snelling on September 10, 1975.
Snelling, a journalism professor at College of the Sequoias, was shot dead after he caught the ransacker attempting to kidnap his teenage daughter.“Victim Snelling confronted an unknown suspect near his carport area, and discovered the suspect was attempting to kidnap his juvenile daughter, who was 16 at the time,” Salazar said.
Joseph De Angelo, 72, was scheduled to appear in a court in Sacramento, California, on Thursday after his lawyer filed a motion to block the district attorney from taking DNA, fingerprints and photos of his body.
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KABC-TV and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Retired Exeter Police Sergeant Farrel Ward worked with De Angelo in the 1970’s, when the crime spree is thought to have begun.
Ward said he worked with De Angelo for about three years – there were about eight or nine sworn officers in Exeter at that time.“I think I’m the only [one] left,” he said, “they’ve either passed away or moved.”He was stunned Wednesday morning when he heard of De Angelo’s arrest.“Joseph James De Angelo has been called a lot of things by law enforcement: he’s been called the East Side Rapist, the Visalia Ransacker, the Original Night Stalker, and the Golden State Killer,” Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said at a press conference Wednesday.