Sun-Gazette featured on Golden State Killer documentary of former Exeter police officer
Local newspaper The Sun-Gazette to be featured on HLN as part of Golden State Killer documentary set to air Sunday, Monday evenings at 9p
By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
EXETER – Since his arrest in April of 2018 the alleged Golden State Killer, Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., has been mum about the number of murders he is currently being charged with. But despite his silence the makers of the five part miniseries, Unmasking a Killer that aired just prior to his arrest, are putting their final touches on the case.
Joke Productions aired their miniseries on Headline News (HLN) in March and April of last year, with their last episode debuting on April 15. Just two weeks later, Sacramento County Sheriffs zeroed in on the alleged serial killer at his home.
Since he has been awaiting trial, Joke Fincioen, who runs the eponymous production company, along with her team have been reviewing DeAngelo’s career stops including Exeter, where he was a police officer between 1973 through 1976 to finish off her Unmasking a Killer series premiering this Sunday Feb. 17, at 9 p.m. while part two will air the following evening, at the same time.
Aside from the numerous rapes and murders, it has been widely believed DeAngelo is also the notorious Visalia Ransacker, whose crime spree perfectly coincides with DeAngelo’s tenure as an officer in Exeter.
Gathering more information about DeAngelo, Fincioen and her team interviewed the Sun-Gazette President and Publisher Reggie Ellis and Editor Paul Myers who have poured over Exeter Sun archives to nail down DeAngelo’s activity during his years in Tulare County.
What ultimately led to DeAngelo’s arrest and charges was the advent of consumer DNA profiles like GEDmatch.
DeAngelo’s name had never come up in thousands of case files and tips to police over four decades, but it did come up in a search of people who shared at least partial DNA with the killer. According to the Sacramento Bee, Paul Holes, a retired investigator with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, uploaded DNA from the GSK crimes to GEDmatch.com, a third-party web site that creates an ethnic background and genetic profile. That genetic information can then be uploaded to commercial sites such as Ancestry.com where it can be cross-referenced with similar matches. The crime scene DNA matched a GEDmatch user, a relative of DeAngelo’s.
DeAngelo and four other white males showed up on the same family tree as the GEDmatch user. After looking into the identities of the men, investigators quickly narrowed the search to two. On April 20, detectives with the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department obtained an item with DNA from DeAnglo’s trash, according to the Sacramento Bee. The sample had similarities to two rapes in Contra Costa County in 1978 and 1979. After analysis by crime lab technicians, the DNA sample have now been linked to murders in Ventura County, Santa Barbara County and Orange County.
The use of the web site to conduct police business raised privacy concerns about the web site. GEDmatch’s co-founder Curtis Rogers told the Associated Press that it did not hand over any data and the law enforcement conducted their investigation “without our knowledge.” Investigators argue that the web site is open to the public which means they do not need to obtain a warrant to access the information, similar to a public records search.