‘Man In The Window’ Tells Untold Story Of The Golden State Killer Case
Speaker 1: 00:00 It's a haunting story of mounting tension and suspense. The Los Angeles Times podcast called the man in the window, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist page. Saint John unfolds the story in episodes that take us back in time and lead us through the gradual and very gruesome evolution of a man who police now believe is the golden state killer page. St Join now joins us. Thanks for being with US page. What's my pleasure? Thank you very much. So now just to remind people that suspected golden state killer, Joseph de Angelo, he was arrested last April at the age of 72 and he was tracked down eventually using DNA investigators. Now I believe he's responsible for about a dozen murders and four doesn't rapes across California and the 1970s and eighties and what made you an investigative journalist decide that this story would, would turn into a good podcast? Well, I started with as a story that an investigation that just looked into who is Joseph D'angelo, who could be a person capable of so many crimes, so much violence. Speaker 1: 01:02 And how did you know the accusations match up to the man? But to be frank, what I became so much more fascinated by and appalled by it was 19 seventy's attitudes toward women and rape and show we segue from a true crime investigation into a one looking at social causes in the 1970s the rise of the women's liberation movement and attitudes toward rape and rape law. And the only way to give a voice to these women who had been silent for half a century was to, to record them, to let them speak for the first time. And not just these women, but I feel like they're speaking for a silent generation. So you believe that a police detectives would have pursued their investigations and have a very different manner, uh, or the wood nowadays? Well, they're administrators certainly would have the detectives on the case themselves were moved deeply by the traumas that the women had experienced and it motivated them so much so that, you know, they carried it past retirement, that they themselves continued investigating this case right up until the arrest in a few still have have stayed with it. Speaker 1: 02:14 But the politics of the times and of rape, uh, caused the task forces to be shutdown. Contra Costa, you know, ordered his detective to stop work on the case. Sacramento County disbanded it's task force as soon as the ball moved along in the public hysteria past so that they could be shat of it. So the golden state killer did not appear to start off as a killer. Did he describe how his behavior escalates over time? If what prosecutors allege are true, these crimes begin in the most innocuous way, especially by 1970 standards as a peeping Tom, a man who would knock on a window in a, you know, a woman would look at her through her living room window and there'd be a man staying, standing outside naked from the waist down, just exposing himself or creeping into homes while people were asleep, what they call a cat burglar or a hot prowl. Speaker 1: 03:08 And that kind of behavior. It's sexually motivated. It's not the burglary, it's the sexual voyeurism. That kind of behavior is today. We, we know it is paraphilia and it's a big red flag for serial rape and serial murder. But at the time, nobody blinked an eye and then it escalated from that over time. Right? Then you had dogs being killed during very petty, petty burglaries. Dogs that were not a threat to the burglar poodles that were disemboweled beaten with logs or um, sticks of wood, very gruesome cases of violence, but against animals. And, and then the bedroom ran Sacher in Visalia, who through women's underwear around the homes, kind of got a reputation as the town pervert. A EAD might steal a single earring or a photo, but not big robberies. And so people were not too alarmed until the night on the 85th ransacking when he attempted to abduct a 15 year old girl and her father woke up and he killed the father. No, in the old podcasts, you spoke with some of the victims in this case, here's what one of his first victims, Phyllis told you Speaker 2: 04:21 I was not going to resist, you know, just get it done. Get the hell out of my house and leave me alone. That's basically what my thoughts were. This will end and you will be gone and hopefully gone for good. Speaker 1: 04:37 And Phyllis was, I'm told that she was victim number one and at the beginning of the case, but at the time of her rape, uh, they did not know that this was a serial rapist and because she had no information on who had raped her, that's where the investigation stopped and they closed it within 10 days. Didn't even wait for the rape kit to come back. You also spoke with Bunny Caldwell who is Deangelo's former teenage fiance. What did she share with you about their relationship that might be pertinent to the case with, with Bonnie? I'll use, see the beginning troubling signs with Joe Signs of trespassing personal boundaries. Uh, he liked to press risk with her and ask her to, to do things that were against her standards or morals or beliefs and if they were small things at first, but they began to creep up and uh, it took about a year for her to realize, you know, that, that she was being asked to do more and more hopping over a fence at a, at a military defense contractor to Gig frogs for instance. Speaker 1: 05:43 It didn't seem like a big thing, but there were so many of these things that ultimately she drew the line, stood firm finally for the first time, and then that is when he really blew up and refuse to accept his, his marriage proposal in, in the episode that will be released next week. Bonnie will tell her full story of confronting Joe. You know, at that time. Paige, does Bonnie believe that Dangelo is in fact the golden state killer? She's, she makes no statement on that one way or the other. It's incredibly troubling for her to think that a man that she was engaged to marry could have been a man who then went on and raped 50 women are sexually assaulted, 50 women and girls as young as 13 killed, 13 people, killed numerous dogs. You know, that spasm of violence. It's very hard for her to get her head around that, that that's, you know, her troubled boyfriend. Speaker 1: 06:39 And you did interview members of law enforcement at the time. How did that help you unlock this story? Okay, well, as I said that the detectives who worked the case never gave up on it. They were, I think this was their career case. And, uh, even in retirement they were shadowing people, trying to eliminate suspects, going through people's garbage and, and, and had a huge community of amateur sleuths on the Internet who are helping them. And then the cold case case investigators joined in again, the FBI, uh, and, and, uh, Sacramento County and some of the other counties created a task force in, in, uh, about a decade ago that star that reopened these investigations to work on it. But, but these detectives I think very admirable because they're very frank about how the attitudes at the time, you know, confounded their investigation and collared their work and in the roads they wish now that they had gone down but didn't at the time. Speaker 1: 07:41 And, and to give them a, um, fair credit, our forensic technology in the day was so limited that the ability to, to find and identify someone who left behind, no fingerprints, nobody ever saw his face was nearly impossible. You, you didn't have DNA. What is the status of the case against Joseph Dangelo? Now he's, he's 72. Right, and he's being held as assessment, right? Well, he's now, now 73 losing weight, visibly deteriorating in jail. Uh, he has had no preliminary hearing yet and no chance to enter a plea. Um, I think we're still in a negotiation phase between prosecutors and multiple counties and, and his public defender, uh, it over how even to proceed on the case in trial could be four years away. Well, page, it's a very gripping series. Thank you so much for joining us and giving us a bit of the backstory. My pleasure. Hey to Saint John's podcast and a series of feature stories is in the Los Angeles Times and it's called man in the window. You can find men in the window on the La Times website, including pictures and maps or on your podcast app.