When we think of the modern representation of monsters we think of vampires or werewolves, but the real monsters are the things that live among us and look just like us. That is what makes the real monsters like psychopaths and murders even more frightening, because they walk among us deceiving us like they are normal. Joseph DeAngelo aka the Golden State Killer was a serial rapist back in the late 70’s who took a step farther when he started killing his victims. DeAngelo is a monster for the fear he inflicted across northern California for years.
Joseph DeAngelo was a former police officer for Visalia and Auburn but was fired in 1979 for allegedly shoplifting (Pelisek, Hanlon). This makes DeAngelo more of a monster because he was supposed to be someone that protected people against the very thing he became. The attacks started in 1976 with the rape of a women in Rancho Cordova. DeAngelo’s DNA linked him to 12 murders, 45 sexual assaults, and over 120 burglaries over a 10-year period. The Golden State Killer had a victim range from 13 to 41 years old. Scott Jones the Sacramento County Sheriff stated that it was possible DeAngelo committed related crimes during his employment as an officer (Palisek, Hanlon). The Golden State Killer was also named the East Area Rapist, Original Night Stalker, Visalia Ran sacker, East Bay Rapist, Dollner Street Prowler, and the Diamond Knot Killer. He was given so many names for the many areas he burglarized and attacked people. In thesis 7: The Monster Stands at the Threshold of becoming connects to the many names the GSK was given. Monsters are our children being that we create them, and many people created many versions of the GSK through these different names based on where the attacks were happening.
The Golden State Killer is essentially a monster for the years of terror he put among Californians. Joseph DeAngelo attacked people for nearly two decades, and then would continue to call his victims all the way up until 2001 where he called his last victim and asked if she missed him. DeAngelo was labeled a monster for almost 40 years and the hunt for him was something that haunted his victims because he was unable to be caught. In Thesis 4: The Monster Polices the Boarders of the Possible, DeAngelo was a hard killer to catch as he took 40 years to put behind bars. It was possible for him to go 20 years of burglary, rape, and murder and mock his victims for almost 40 years. It was nearly impossible to catch him, until advances in DNA made it possible to connect him to his crimes. However, DeAngelo made terror over his victims possible. The GSK would terrorize his victims by tying them up with shoelaces and placing plates on the back one victim to rape another in another room. He would threaten the victim with the plates on their back, saying if he heard them rattle he would kill the other victim. DeAngelo was a monster for the way he treated his victims, for the fear he set among everyone who knew about his crimes.
A monster like Joseph is all too common in todays society, but back in the 1970’s it was fearful that someone was going around raping and killing people. DeAngelo was said to be an “average joe” by his late coworkers, but apparently never smiled (Calhoon). His neighbors described him as a “meticulous person” because his house was always nicely painted, and his grass freshly cut. Another neighbor described him as having “fits of rage and occasionally disturbing intrusions into their lives” (Bennett, Gerber, Mesner-Hage). These characteristics are what made people around him feel as though he was guilty of what he was being accused of, but his family believed otherwise. His sister stated that she “really hopes they’ve arrested the wrong man,” and his son-in-law explains how Joseph would speak about the GSK often when the killings were happening.
The Golden State Killer can be connected through similar traits from other serial killers. The Zodiac Killer also terrorized people in California, including the San Francisco Bay area, and would call and mock people after his killings (Janos). In 1974, the Doodler began to strike, taking interest in the gay community. This killer was labeled as a serial sexual murderer by making his killings sexually motivated. As the GSK also had sexual murders, people have connected The Doodler and The GSK to one another. The New Bedford highway Killer had similar victim preferences, as this killer liked to attack women. He claimed 9 lives in 1988 of all women but would dump the bodies on the side of the highway. Although DeAngelo killed in the homes of his victims, its still said that he preferred women also, or women with small children (Janos). But as there are many murder cases unsolved, the Zodiac Killer and the New Bedford Highway Killer did not commit as many murders or crimes as the GSK. In These 2: The Monster always Escapes, indirectly can the GSK escape. As many of the characteristics, motives, and victim preferences can escape and live on by other serial killers. As serial killers will probably never cease to exist until we have world peace or an annual purge, the analysis of people like the Golden State Killer will make its victimology and motives possible for reoccurrence.
In the article,” The Golden State Serial Killer the Hunt for a Monster” Sandra Westfall talked to an FBI agent who was working on the GSK case. FBI agent Marcus Knutson says “We have talked to the victims on this case and a lot of them, to this day, still look over their shoulder. That rips my heart out. I would like to get this thing solved so they can feel free of this guy.” Although DeAngelo was arrested on April 24, 2018, many of his victims don’t believe he is really caught and are still scarred for possibly the rest of their lives. After what these victims have went through and are even still alive today to tell the story, the fear he implemented years ago will live with them forever. A monster inflicts fear among others, a monster can kill and rape for years and still live a normal life during the day not even reflecting on the acts they have committed after dark.
Joseph DeAngelo may not be the first thing to come to mind when hearing the word monster. He may have not been a vampire or werewolf but he made people fear him as if he was a creature of the night. He looked like a normal guy, had a steady job, had a wife and kids, but became one of the most feared monsters in the last four decades. With as many crimes as Joseph committed he was a monster essentially for the fear he caused and the horror he committed on so many people. All starting over what people think was shoplifting ignited a fire that will be remembered as one of the most famous serial killers in U.S history, and DeAngelo didn’t even feel remorse as he was arrested. He was more concerned with the roast he had in the oven.
Cohen , Jeffrey. “Monster Culter(Seven Theses)” English with Mr. Tuttle, ,English with Tuttle scholar.google.com/citations?user=nrn1HokAAAAJ&hl=en.
The seven theses are about defining a monster and how a monster is created. We create monsters for they are our children, and monsters are a desire we all want. Cohen describes monsters as things that we try to define but simply can not. We can understand monsters and why certain things are monsters because of Cohen and the seven theses.
Janos, Adam. “Why Did the Golden State Killer Stop Killing?” A&E, 1 May 2018, http://www.aetv.com/real-crime/golden-state-killer-suspect-joseph-deangelo-zodiac-doodler-new-bedford-highway-murders.
This article is about why the GSK mysteriously stopped killing. For 20 years, up until his arrest Joseph DeAngelo had stopped killing but had killed for 20 years before. This article also compares the GSK to other serial killers and similarities among them.
McNamara, Michelle, and Kathy Sexton. “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark : One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer.” Holdings: Backlash : Mar. 2018, librarycatalog.einetwork.net/Record/.b3777430x.
This article is about Michelle McNamara who wrote the book, ”I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.” In this article Kathy Sexton describes McNamara’s obsession over the Golden State killer and her hunt to bring him to justice. Unfortunately, Michelle dies unexpectedly in 2016 before her book could be finished. Michelle became obsessed with the GSK after a women was killed a couple blocks from her house in an alley way. Her book was finished by her husband and friend, but she never got to see the justice of the GSK being arrested.
Parvini, Sarah, et al. “Golden State Killer Suspect Lived a Quiet Suburban Life, with Flashes of Rage and Anger.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-golden-state-killer-profile-20180427-story.html.
This article is about how Joseph DeAngelo was a normal guy who lived in a suburban area but had serious anger issues. His neighbors described him as someone who would yell and curse if he couldn’t find his keys. The article also says how it wasn’t until 2000 that police connected the murders and labeled him as a serial killer.
Pelisek, Christine, and Greg Hanlon. “’Golden State Killer’ Suspect Identified as 72-Year-Old Ex-Cop Who Was Fired For Allegedly Stealing.” PEOPLE.com, Time Inc, 25 Apr. 2018, people.com/crime/golden-state-killer-suspect-possible-arrest-murders-rapes-california/.
This article was written after the Golden State Killer was finally identified and arrested. His name is Joseph DeAngelo and he was a former police officer who was fired for stealing. DeAngelo was charged with the murder of four killings but police believe he committed many more. His DNA is linked to 12 murders, 45 sexual assaults, and 120 burglaries.
Westfall, Sandra Sobieraj, and Christine Pelisek. “The Hunt for a Monster.” Scribd, Scribd, 6 Nov. 2017, es.scribd.com/article/363318638/The-Hunt-For-A-Monster.
This article explains how the Golden State Killer was not always known as the “Golden State Killer.” He was also called the East Area Rapist between the years 1976 to 1986, as the numbers climbed to 45 rapes and 12 murders. One victims story was how he would tie up people in the house and put them in separate rooms, and place plate on the backs of one victim while he would rape the other. He threatened if he heard the plates move he would kill the other victims. It ended up that he did and taunted the victims he didn’t kill up to 20 years after attacking them.