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Friday, 21 August 2020

Golden State Killer's ex-wife says she will 'never be the same person' again, battles PTSD and even grocery shopping frightens her as she breaks her silence in victim impact statement ahead of his sentencing

The ex-wife of Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo has broken her silence for the first time in over two years since he was arrested for 13 known murders and dozens of rapes across California.  
Sharon Huddle, a Sacramento divorce attorney, shared her devastation at learning the truth about her ex-husband and his heinous crimes in a victim impact statement submitted to Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman this week.  
Huddle, who did not mention DeAngelo by name in her statement, described how she has suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and lived in constant fear ever since he was identified as the Golden State Killer. 
DeAngelo, 74, in June pleaded guilty to 13 counts of murder and 13 counts of kidnapping that occurred between 1975 and 1986. He also confessed to 161 other crimes - many of which were rapes - that he couldn't be charged for because they took place outside the statute of limitations. 
He is set to be sentenced on Friday and faces life in prison after avoiding the death penalty under a plea deal with prosecutors.  
Thursday marked the third day of heart-wrenching testimony from DeAngelo's victims and survivors, including Huddle. 
The ex-wife of Golden State Killer James DeAngelo revealed her heartbreak over his crimes in a victim impact statement submitted to a Sacramento court during his sentencing hearing. DeAngelo is pictured on Thursday during the second day of victim testimony
The ex-wife of Golden State Killer James DeAngelo revealed her heartbreak over his crimes in a victim impact statement submitted to a Sacramento court during his sentencing hearing. DeAngelo is pictured on Thursday during the second day of victim testimony
Huddle and DeAngelo married in 1973 and have three daughters and a granddaughter together. 
They had been separated since 1991 but remained legally married until last year, after DeAngelo's arrest in April 2018. 
In her statement, obtained by the Sacramento Bee, Huddle recounted how her husband had lied to her about where he was going when she was working night shifts - leaving her completely in the dark about his horrific attacks. 
She described the 'devastating and pervasive affect' DeAngelo's crimes have had on her and her family, even though they didn't experience the violence directly.    
'I will never be the same person,' Huddle wrote. 'I now live everyday with the knowledge of how he attacked and severely damaged hundreds of innocent people's lives and murdered 13 innocent people who were loved and have now been missed for 40 years or more.
'I live everyday with post traumatic distress where any unexpected noise, or movement of any person or object, can be perceived by my mind as a threat to me.
'Simple everyday experiences such as a car moving from one lane into another lane behind your car can bring fear to me.' 

She went on to explain how even the most banal tasks like grocery shopping have become a source of terror.  
'Once while shopping at Trader Joe's grocery store, a hand touched my forearm while I was looking into a freezer. 
My heart began to race and my body jolted. I was terrified that I was about to be harmed, when in reality someone I knew just wanted to say hello to me,' she wrote.
'I have lost my ability to trust people. I trusted the defendant when he told me he had to work, or was going pheasant hunting, or going to visit his parents hundreds of miles away.' 
She noted that she was often working during the night - either on the graveyard shift at a Jack in the Box restaurant or when studying for law school.   
'When I was not around, I trusted he was doing what he told me he was doing,' she wrote.
'Now, without the ability to trust, my relationships with other people are severely impacted.' 
Huddle concluded her words by saying she does not want her words to detract from the impact statements from DeAngelo's other victims and their loved ones.  
Emotional court scene as more victims confront Golden State Killer
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DeAngelo, 74, in June pleaded guilty to all 13 counts of murder, 13 counts of kidnapping, and confessed to 161 uncharged crimes - many of which were rapes - which go back beyond the statute of limitations
DeAngelo, 74, in June pleaded guilty to all 13 counts of murder, 13 counts of kidnapping, and confessed to 161 uncharged crimes - many of which were rapes - which go back beyond the statute of limitations
SacBee reported that Huddle's statement was not expected to be read aloud in court even though it was submitted to the judge.  
Huddle's only previous statement came back in June 2018, two months after DeAngelo's arrest.  
'My thoughts and prayers are for the victims and their families,' she said at the time.
'The press has relentlessly pursued interviews of me. I will not be giving any interviews for the foreseeable future. I ask the press to please respect my privacy and that of my children.'
Prior to marrying Huddle, DeAngelo was engaged in the early 70s to Bonnie Jean Colwell, who broke off the engagement. At least one victim of the Golden State Killer reported that her attacker said 'I hate you Bonnie' during the assault. 
DeAngelo came face to face with his ex-fiancĂ©e - now Bonnie Ueltzen - on the second day of his sentencing hearing Wednesday.  
Bonnie Ueltzen, right, who was engaged to DeAngelo in the early 1970s before breaking it off, was not allowed to speak to the court but she joined rape victim Jane Carson-Sandler, left
Bonnie Ueltzen, right, who was engaged to DeAngelo in the early 1970s before breaking it off, was not allowed to speak to the court but she joined rape victim Jane Carson-Sandler, left
Ueltzen was not allowed to speak to the court as she is not listed as a victim of his crimes but she joined rape victim Jane Carson-Sandler. 
Introducing Ueltzen, Carson-Sandler said: 'I also want to especially thank a friend who is accompanying me here today. That friend is Bonnie.
'If Bonnie were able to speak Joe, she would want you to know Joe that as just a teenager 50 years ago she broke her engagement to you when she realized that you had become manipulative and abusive.
'Even a gun pointed at her face could not make her choose you.' 
Standing in the front row, Bonnie removed her face mask so DeAngelo could see her face and looked him in the eye. 
During the testimony, the killer sat in an orange jail jumpsuit, staring straight ahead and wearing a mask as protection against the coronavirus.   
Carson-Sandler told the court: 'DeAngelo, I want you to look at me...and I want you to remember what I say.
'You didn't destroy my life in your cowardly, cruel and sick behavior. 
'One quarter of me, being a Christian, I want to say to you: 'May God have mercy on your soul." Then there is another three-quarters of me that want to say to you, 'Buddy, just rot in hell.''
Jane Carson-Sandler confronts Joseph James DeAngelo during the second day of victim impact statements at the Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Courthouse on Wednesday
Jane Carson-Sandler confronts Joseph James DeAngelo during the second day of victim impact statements at the Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Courthouse on Wednesday
During the testimony, the killer sat in an orange jail jumpsuit, staring straight ahead and wearing a mask as protection against the coronavirus
During the testimony, the killer sat in an orange jail jumpsuit, staring straight ahead and wearing a mask as protection against the coronavirus
Golden State Killer faces victim during hearing in court
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Years before DeAngelo is suspected of starting his reign of terror, he met Bonnie Colwell when they were both students at Sierra College in Rocklin, California, 20 miles from Sacramento. 
'We always thought there was a Bonnie significant in his life, it could be a mother, a wife, a girlfriend, a childhood crush,' Paul Holes, an investigator who has been looking into the case for years, told The Mercury News.
'Most certainly if he's making the statement: "I hate you, Bonnie," while he's attacking another female, he is what we call an anger retaliatory rapist. Instead of directing his anger at what's making him angry, he's directing it sideways on to someone else to be able to satisfy that anger,' Holes said.  
Many victims have said they thought justice would never come as the former police officer seemingly vanished after each crime, confounding investigators until he was arrested in 2018 by using a new form of DNA tracing. 
More than four decades after the crimes, some of the victims finally got the chance to say their piece this week.  
Rape victim Gay Hardwick said Wednesday: 'I've heard that he may have been abused as a child, that he experienced sad things in his life, that he had to move around a lot, that his fiancee jilted him. 
'But a lot of people go through bad times, and they don't become serial rapists and murderers.' 
Gay Hardwick, left, is comforted by her spouse Bob Hardwick, center, and San Joaquin County's District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar during the second day of victim impact statements with Joseph James DeAngelo present
Gay Hardwick, left, is comforted by her spouse Bob Hardwick, center, and San Joaquin County's District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar during the second day of victim impact statements with Joseph James DeAngelo present
The only time DeAngelo looked down Wednesday was during testimony from his youngest victim, Mary Berwert, who was 13 when he raped her. 
'He truly is an evil monster with no soul,' Patti Cosper, the daughter of rape survivor Patricia Murphy, read from her mother's statement.
Lisa Lilienthal described DeAngelo as a sadistic 'boogeyman' as she testified by video about the attack she witnessed on her mother. 
DeAngelo's nicknames illustrated the sweep of his crimes: the Visalia Ransacker, thought to be responsible for about 100 burglaries and one slaying in the San Joaquin Valley farm town; the East Area Rapist; the Original Night Stalker; and finally, the Golden State Killer when investigators finally linked the crimes that stretched across much of the state.
The family of Debbie Strauss, who died in 2016, recounted what became the signature that marked DeAngelo's crimes after he escalated to attacking couples instead of single women and girls.
He would force his victims to bind themselves with shoelaces then balance plates on the man's back with a warning that he would kill both victims if he heard the plates rattle while he raped the woman.
'He spent hours raining his terror through threats and unspeakable abuse. He would leave his victims shaking in fright while he went to the kitchen to eat, only to return and then the abuse and vileness started all over again,' said Strauss' mother, Dolly Kreis. 
'Today the devil loses and justice wins,' said Debbi Domingo McMullan, the daughter of Cheri Domingo, said on Thursday.  
Debbi McMullan (left) and Melanie Barbeau confront DeAngelo at the Sacramento County Courthouse during the third day of victim impact statements on Thursday. DeAngelo killed McMullan's mother, Cheri Domingo, and Domingo's boyfriend, Gregory Sanchez, in 1981
Debbi McMullan (left) and Melanie Barbeau confront DeAngelo at the Sacramento County Courthouse during the third day of victim impact statements on Thursday. DeAngelo killed McMullan's mother, Cheri Domingo, and Domingo's boyfriend, Gregory Sanchez, in 1981
Domingo, 35, was killed alongside Gregory Sanchez, 27, on July 27, 1981. McMullan said she was just 15 at the time, 'a fragile teenager whose world had just been turned upside down'.
'I had watched my mom and Greg dance carefree across our living room for the last time,' she recalled through tears while DeAngelo sat expressionless, as he has throughout the hearings.
The trauma led to her years-long 'downward spiral' of depression and drug abuse that left her 'hopeless, homeless,' before a newfound faith in God put her on a new path.
McMullan called DeAngelo a 'pathetic excuse of a man who will now, finally, be held accountable for his actions'.
Another woman who spoke Thursday was Elizabeth Hupp, whose father Claude Snelling was killed in 1975 while trying to stop DeAngelo from kidnapping his then-16-year-old daughter.  
'My dad died saving my life that night and he is my hero,' Hupp said as she broke down in tears.
Elizabeth Hupp, daughter of Claude Snelling, breaks down in tears as she reads her victim impact statement in court on Thursday. Snelling died thwarting DeAngelo's attempted kidnapping of his daughter Hupp when she was 16 in 1975
Elizabeth Hupp, daughter of Claude Snelling, breaks down in tears as she reads her victim impact statement in court on Thursday. Snelling died thwarting DeAngelo's attempted kidnapping of his daughter Hupp when she was 16 in 1975
While DeAngelo was able to live a normal life with his family for all those years, her dad's killing left 'a huge hole in my heart', she said, because he wasn't there to walk her down the aisle at her wedding or be a grandfather to her children.
'Little did we know that the man stalking me was actually a police officer, someone who is sworn to protect people and not to terrorize and harm people,' she said.
DeAngelo was known as the East Area Rapist by February 2, 1978, when he fatally shot Katie Maggiore, 20, and Brian Maggiore, 21, as they walked their dog around their Rancho Cordova neighborhood in Sacramento County.
'You no longer live in the shadows, we all know who you are,' Katie's brother, Ken Smith, told DeAngelo about his acts of 'terror and evil.'
'You lurked in the dark so you could prey on innocent victims,' Smith said. 'Well, now you are prey, DeAngelo, and you can look over your shoulder the rest of your life' in prison.
DeAngelo kept his eyes trained on the table in front of him throughout much of Thursday's hearing in Sacramento County Court
DeAngelo kept his eyes trained on the table in front of him throughout much of Thursday's hearing in Sacramento County Court

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