Skip to main content

8Chan Subpoena, ‘To Protect And Slur’, Golden State Killer Podcast

Cover image for podcast episode

A federal search warrant revealed that the gunman in the Poway synagogue shooting had developed a hatred of Judaism 18 months before the fatal attack. Also, a new report connects hundreds of law enforcement officers to online hate groups, a $44 million rapid transit route from San Diego State University to downtown is slower than the route it replaced, City Heights leaders have been fighting for five years to have a mural painted in Teralta Park and a new podcast from the Los Angeles Times tells the untold story of the Golden State Killer case.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 John Earnest, the suspect in the fatal shooting in April at a Poway synagogue is just 19 years old. Search warrants on sale this week reveal investigations into the online website that Ernest was frequenting in the 18 months before the crime. Kb Best reporter Andrew Bowen has been looking into what we know about the eight Chan website and whether prosecutors could hold anyone connected to that website jointly liable for the crime. Andrew, thanks for coming in. Yeah, thanks. So now apparently Ernest left or posting on each end on the day of the shooting saying, quote, I've only been working here for a year and a half yet, what I've learned here is priceless. So he posted a manifesto to that site, which has since been taken down. The, the manifesto has, do we know what it said?

Speaker 2: 00:43 It's full of very racist, very viral statements against blacks, Jews, Muslims, gays, a number of groups. It talks about how his bloodline is pure and European. Um, so very clear, you know, white, white power, white supremacist, um, stands. It includes Bible passages and talks about how he's a Christian and a, it also calls on other people on the [inaudible] website. They call themselves [inaudible] for anonymous, um, to commit similar acts of violence. Even goes into a suggesting what types of weapons to use. And he says, I think very importantly, look, look at how easy this is. If I can do this, anyone can, what do we know about the website? It calls itself the darkest reaches that the Internet. Um, and that includes many message boards about various topics. The most popular message board is this, well, it says it's about politics, but it's essentially a gathering place for Neo Nazis and the white power movement. People post very racist, antisemitic memes. I'm really, it's truly awful content. The site says that it promotes free speech and it only takes down content that is illegal, but there's essentially no moderating of the message boards taking place. So things that are placed on there usually stay there.

Speaker 1: 01:52 And the search warrant that was, I'm revealed this week. What else did we learn from it?

Speaker 2: 01:56 There were a few details about the shooting and the immediate aftermath that we learned. Um, as you mentioned, investigators say an Yvette, a, he told a sheriff's deputy that he adopted this hatred of Jews and Muslims 18 months prior to the shooting. He said, I'm also in an interview with police that he was inspired by Hitler. Uh, police say they found a helmet with a Gopro on it. Um, he initially said, I'm allegedly in this posting on each hand that he was planning on streaming the event on Facebook, but, um, that didn't happen. Uh, for whatever reason. Um, we also, I think the fact that this search warrant was issued against eight Chan against the website itself, um, is significant for the purposes of the case. The prosecution of the suspect, the feds are essentially looking for proof that he was an, uh, motivated by his hatred of a class of people that are protected by the federal hate crime statute.

Speaker 2: 02:49 So people based on discrimination or hatred towards an entire group of, of, uh, religion or race, his postings and interactions with other people on eight Chan could be used as evidence of his radicalization and ends that racial or religious animus in perpetrating this act. Um, but it also suggests that perhaps, uh, the feds are also interested in tracking other individuals on each hand. It calls people who responded to his original posting as potential co-conspirators, witnesses or people inspired by the coast, uh, the posting. So it's not clear from the war and alone whether or not the government plans to pursue any sort of investigation into other folks who are on the website. But it is a possibility. But there's this free speech question. So you spoke to a former us attorney about this search warrant. Does it seem likely that the prosecutors would be able to charge people who posted on the website as being connected to this crime?

Speaker 2: 03:46 Well, one challenge that law enforcement faces is simply identifying the users themselves. So there is no account registration on eight Chan, you know, an account, uh, is, but most of the postings are anonymous. Uh, people on the message boards often encourage others to use software that masks their IP address, which is essentially how a anything that you post online can be traced back to your computer. So in those cases, the feds would have to work very hard to actually identify who is posting what. But as you mentioned, there's also the first amendment that protects even the most offensive and vials, speech and even general sort of a vague calls for violence. So there's a very high bar for that call to violence to actually be considered criminal incitements. So I did speak with a former US attorney, Eric Best, and here's what he told me.

Speaker 1: 04:37 Does this person have any type of, uh, indication in their background that they really would be likely to commit a crime or likely to incite others to commit acts of violence? Secondly, you'd look at the credibility of the threat. Does the, does the threat really sound like something that's serious or is it just simply talk? So there's this gap between free speech and action. John Ernest is now facing the death penalty for what he allegedly did. Reminders is

Speaker 2: 05:04 what he's accused of potentially. Yes. So he is, he has been charged under state, uh, criminal statutes with murder and attempted murder and also, uh, attempted arson related to the torching of a mosque in Escondido about a month prior to the attack on the Po, uh, the Poway synagogue. Um, he's also been charged with more than 100 counts of federal hate crimes and civil rights violations, so he faces both a state and a federal court proceeding. And both cases don't have a trial dates yet, but there is a motion hearing and a trial setting scheduled for next Wednesday in the federal case against him. And that's the earliest that a judge could set a trial date of been speaking with KPBS rotor. Andrew Bowen. Andrew, thanks for coming in. Thanks Alison.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Law Enforcement and racism have a long history, but until recent years that long history has been in the shadow of denial, data is changing that bringing disturbing trends into the light of reality. A new report from reveal at the Center for investigative reporting shows law enforcement officials across the country are participating in private hate groups on social media. How prevalent is the problem? Joining me is will carless who co authored the report. We'll thanks for joining us. Thanks for having me. One sociologist you spoke with said white supremacist and other extremist have been working to infiltrate law enforcement agencies and even military. Can you talk to me about the history between law enforcement and racism?

Speaker 2: 00:42 Absolutely. There is a long history of discrimination in American policing going right back to the early days and the very birth of police departments, particularly in the south that grew out of a slave patrols. Now, right up until a few years ago, the FBI was actually investigating the extent to which white supremacist organizations have infiltrated, uh, police departments. And we've also seen numerous cases where departments have been exposed for having members, having sort of secret clubs inside them that were racist in nature, as well as having individuals who are members of groups like the KKK in the area and brotherhoods. So there's certainly been a long and very, very troubling history there. Would you characterize,

Speaker 1: 01:28 you found in your reporting, uh, you know, as a small percentage of officers involved in this? Or is this an indication of of the culture in law enforcement?

Speaker 2: 01:37 I definitely say it's the latter. I mean, we've had a few people who come back to us and said, come on, look, 400 really out of out of however many hundreds of thousands of police officers. I mean, that's a drop in the ocean. And that's, you know, that's, that's not a fair point. And the reason is this, we took a look specifically, we built a mechanism whereby we could sort of get a glimpse at the way that some people feel and we got a sort of a sample. We didn't even look at all the people on our list. We got 14,000 hits of people who were members of at least one police group on Facebook or at least one extremist group on Facebook suggesting that that person could well be a law enforcement officer. We looked into about 2000 of those and we found about 400 police officers. If we had the time, if we had the resources, we could have looked at all 14,000 of them and I'm sure we would have found hundreds if not thousands more police officers. So I think what we've got is an interesting glimpse of a very troubling culture as opposed to um, you know, sort of an all encompassing measure of how bad this problem is.

Speaker 1: 02:43 Were any of the officers involved in these hate groups from San Diego agencies or, or Southern California?

Speaker 2: 02:49 I just did a quick search through and I did find a guy, I'm not going to name him, he's retired. Um, I, I'd want to do a bit more, um, sort of digging into him. But, uh, he retired. His Facebook profile says he's retired s SDPD and he's now involved with the San Diego oath keepers group on Facebook. So we found a lot of these retired police officers who are members of these anti government militia groups and indeed that story that we're going to be publishing probably this week. I'm taking a look at another sort of angle of the, of the groups that we found. And you also found a officer's and Los Angeles too, right? That's right. We found, we found a couple of offices in, in, in La, um, one um, retired and one that we're still working to confirm whether he is, uh, an active duty or kind of what's happened to him.

Speaker 2: 03:37 His Facebook profile has since disappeared since we informed the department about him. I mean, part of this, part of the tricky mission of this, of this whole project was, okay, so we have a Facebook page that's in somebody whose name we have a photo of somebody, but unless we have a photo of them in uniform or unless they're saying on their Facebook page, I am a police officer. You've got to go through other steps to confirm whether or not they're police officers. And so those 400 of the people that we were able to confirm, but we have a number of other people who, you know, they're, they're saying troubling stuff. We know they're members of traveling groups, but we're still working to confirm whether or not they are either active duty or did, did once work at a police department. Okay. So have you had a chance to um, bring this information to those police departments yet?

Speaker 2: 04:22 I have. So we, we spent, or I spent several weeks at the end of last year and the beginning of this year writing letters to and emailing them out to police chiefs, to sheriffs, um, all across the nation, basically saying in your specific instance, I know of this officer name, his name is x. He has done, why here are screenshots of him doing, uh, what he's done on Facebook. Here are the groups that he's a member of. Um, and, you know, do, would you care to respond? So, absolutely. We've, we've made departments across the country aware of what we found and what, how did they respond? Really cross the gamut. I mean, I had some, I've had everything from police chiefs calling me up the moment they got the email and saying, wow, this is really troubling. I want to know more about this. I'm launching an internal affairs investigation and we're going to look into this really deeply to literally being screamed at by by police chiefs and being told to mind my own business and it's none of my business.

Speaker 2: 05:22 And um, and uh, I should just go away. So, and, and in between, I will say that we do know of about 50 departments, at least 50 departments that launched internal affairs investigations. Unfortunately, because of the secretive nature of these investigations, we don't know in most cases what happened as a result of that. So I'm still waiting to find out. I have a feeling that the, the, the, the shoe is gonna drop on a few more offices. We know of at least one officer who, who has been fired as a result of what we found. And I know of a few others that the departments are taking very seriously and doing investigations into, and you actually do name a few of law enforcement who are members of these hate groups in your story and what kinds of things are they posting on these pages and, and what are these hate groups called?

Speaker 2: 06:07 The hate groups fall into various different categories. You've got sort of a confederate groups, which um, a lot of them argue that that really just history, griots. But once you get inside and start looking at what these guys are talking about, it's actually just a lot of racist, a lot of racist stuff. Um, you know, just kind of stereotypical discriminatory story, discriminatory stuff against African Americans against Muslims. We have groups that are committed to Islamophobia, things like death to Islam. Undercover is one of the groups. Uh, we have, we have groups that are connected to the men's rights movement, the mg t, t, O, w, which is men going their own way, which is a, a misogynist group that I essentially blames women for all the ills in the world when men get together and sort of write about how awful women are. So those, those are the main categories.

Speaker 2: 06:57 And then of course we have the, the anti government militia groups, the oath keeper groups. Um, uh, the 3% is these are groups that have in the past proven really fertile ground for, um, for domestic terrorism, domestic terrorist. We had at least two cases in the last 15 months of members of militias who were planning to, uh, in one instance bomb a Somali community in Kansas. And in another instance who, who actually bombed a, uh, a mosque up in Minnesota. So the whole gamut of, of, of hate sort of hate groups are, are covered in this report. Can you talk to me about why this is also concerning?

Speaker 2: 07:37 Well, to go back to the sociologists that you mentioned earlier, I had a very interesting conversation with him. And one of the things he said is, look, I mean there is, there is no, uh, there is no subtracting. Um, one's sort of interests and one's preconceptions and biases from the actions that one takes. And that's true for all of us. I mean, we all make decisions every day. Now police officers make decisions, maybe not every day, but can make decisions about whether somebody is going to live or is going to die. And police officers have immense responsibility as a essentially, you know, holding people's lives in their hands. And so when you, when you get a glimpse at what these police officers are interested in, the sort of groups that they frequent in their spare time and some of the things that are going on in there and some of those messages that are being spread, I think that should concern every American citizen.

Speaker 2: 08:30 That there are police officers who, you know, who trade in in racism and misogyny and homophobia and transphobia and Islamophobia. I think it's, it's, it's extremely disturbing that the people, the very people who, uh, have the, the right to take somebody's life, um, are involved in, in, in groups that, that denigrate members of our society. I think it should worry everyone. And did you find a pattern of policing from the officer's in these groups? So that's, that's a huge question and I wish I could say that we were able to take what we found and the sort of red flags that we found and then go and compare it against people's everyday sort of IRL in real life police work. The reality is that when you find an office or that concerns you, when you go to a police department and you say, I'd like to know this person's record.

Speaker 2: 09:19 You can't, in most cases you can't get any information about that individual. Um, police records are kept totally confidential and most of the country, um, you can't find out whether people who've been involved in, for example, shootings or discriminatory policing. It's extremely difficult to find that stuff. Now, having said that, in a couple of instances we did, you know, we found a guy in, in Mississippi for example, who's a member of a racist Facebook group and we found a guy, for example, a sheriff's deputy in Mississippi who's a member of a Facebook group called white lives matter. Uh, he's also a member of a department that's being sued for decades of, uh, alleged systematic racism through the department. So there are some places where it lines up, but you know, it's just so secretive you can't find out information about police officers. So it was very hard to take what we saw on Facebook and see how it's actually, or whether it's actually impacting people's lives on the streets.

Speaker 2: 10:16 Could some of the officers you found on these hate group pages have been working undercover? They could if they were. They haven't told me that. I haven't had any instances where an officer has come back and said, I've got a legitimate reason to be in this, you know, closed, racist, hateful Facebook group. I have had people come back and say, I didn't know I was in there. I had a couple of people came back and claimed that they had been hacked and that they, you know, someone else had joined the group on their behalf, but I haven't heard the undercover excuse back yet. Um, and I will say that we have given, especially everybody who we named in our story, uh, we've given ample opportunity to get back to us. I mentioned those letters that I sent out. We followed that up with calls and emails and Facebook messages to the individuals involved and to their departments.

Speaker 2: 11:06 Um, so, you know, if somebody comes back at this late stage and says, Hey, I was in this group for, for, you know, for this undercover reason, I'd like to know why they didn't tell me that weeks or if not months ago. What motivated you to look into this? So basically my editors came to me over about a year and a half ago and said, we'd like to do something on extremists that connections between extremist groups and police officers. And I sort of said, well, yeah, it doesn't everybody. I mean, that's, that's an important story about how do we do it. And what I really didn't want to do, what Michael Corey and I really didn't want to do was to write a sort of a retrospective piece to kind of say, well, here's a lawsuit that's been brought about, uh, a group of officers that are involved in this racist group. What we wanted to do was we wanted to proactively go and pinpoint people and ultimately by, by I'm getting this information from Facebook and through months and months of research, I think we were able to do that.

Speaker 2: 12:01 We were able to point at, um, we were able to point at at least sort of paint, get red flags for offices that should be looked at closer. And so the, the driving force there was to really be proactive and not retroactive and to, um, try and take a look. I mean, our latest show on reveal was all about how a white supremacy, um, is sort of all around us and how it's so integral to the American experience that, that we live in this society, whether it's so much ingrained injustice and ingrained unfairness and discrimination. And so we wanted to in a little way, chip away at that and sort of keep people aware of it and say, Hey, look, you know, this is something that, that communities, um, that individuals in our society have to face as a reality every single day. And I'm sorry if it brings sort of a police departments into district disrepute or if it costs doubt on, on police departments. But that's the reality that, that, that our neighbors and friends face. And, and I think we've done a little bit to sort of show that, that, that this is a real problem and it may continues to be a real problem. I've been speaking with will, Carla's from reveal at the Center for investigative reporting will thank you very much. Thanks very much.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Transportation officials spent $44 million on a San Diego rapid bus route that's slower than the one it replaced. That's according to a new analysis from KPBS partner I knew source their reporter Lauren J. Map has the story. The two 15 best route between Sdsu and downtown has been in operation for nearly five years and is actually five minutes slower on average than the old route metropolitan transit systems. CEO Paul j Blondes, he says part of the problem is four miles of plan dedicated bus lanes never got built.

Speaker 2: 00:35 We're working with the city to give us the lanes now mean the community up in alcohol home wants to give us dedicated lane along Gail Calling Boulevard San Diego City Council

Speaker 1: 00:45 members, including council president George Jet Gomez, have okayed spending $97,000 to create bus only lanes for the two 15 which in reality means they're going to paint about five miles of lanes.

Speaker 2: 00:58 Hopefully this year we'll have a pilot to show to demonstrate that if we have a better circulation of buses, they're more efficient. Uh, writers can a ditch their car at a real option. So real choice

Speaker 1: 01:12 except the council isn't sending any goals for how fast they want the route to be or how many writers they expect. Again on the new and improved two 15 yeah.

Speaker 3: 01:22 Great. The

Speaker 1: 01:23 KPBS, I'm I knew source reporter Lauren j map and Lauren J. Matt joins me now with more. Lauren, welcome. Thank you. What was the original intent of the two 15 line? The so called rapid bus. So this route was actually supposed to be this showcase to show that if you have the right infrastructure, if you do all the right things, that you can make a cheaper version of a trolley by using a bus route. And they wanted to increase ridership and have a faster, more reliable service. Oh, and so how did you do the calculation to determine that the two 15 actually isn't faster? Well, first I rode the bus and I had written this bus for years before, before I had a car. And when I was writing it, when one reporting on this story, I noticed that it didn't seem to be that much faster than, than the route that I was supposed to replace.

Speaker 1: 02:11 And so we looked into the actual schedule from the 15, which was the original route versus the two 15, which is a newer route. And we um, we calculated the amount of time it took to get from end to end on both routes and then found an average for each one. And then Brandon cluster, our data director, he determined that it was indeed five minutes slower and mts points to the fact that a dedicated bus lane was never built as one of the reasons this line isn't faster. What else did you find out about features intended to speed up the travel times that really never came to be. So the biggest issue was definitely those four miles of dedicated lanes that have been planned and alcohol on boulevard. They did build a about one mile round trip of dedicated lanes on Parkville. Um, but in, in addition to you and not having those lands on Oklahoma Boulevard, they also don't use a, a lights immunization device to make the bus route faster. They just use it to catch up to schedule. Alpha found that they originally were supposed to be ticket dispensing machines. At the stations, which would have kept people from having to fight their way onto the bus through one door to pay pay at the front. And if they had done that, they could have had all Dora boarding similar to the trolley.

Speaker 4: 03:23 But you did find some successes for the two 15 what, what were those?

Speaker 1: 03:27 Yeah, so, um, some of their other goals, in addition to trying to make that faster, where I, that they wanted to increase ridership by 20 to 40%, and they hit that mark right in the middle at about 30% for their annual ridership. And they also wanted to increase in the number of trips per hour and the, the service hours. So that now runs for a longer period of the day. And, uh, Matthew Vasa [inaudible] says that some of these updates that they did to the route were definitely great updates, but he was hoping that they would improve the speed a lot more.

Speaker 5: 03:58 It was definitely an aesthetic improvement. Um, you know, larger buses, more plush seats is wonderful stations. Um, but in terms of reliability and service, it hasn't been that much of a difference. Uh, so I mean, again, aesthetically pleasing but not necessarily more effective or reliable.

Speaker 4: 04:15 And Matthew is a regular rider up the two 15, right?

Speaker 1: 04:18 Yeah. He's written that, uh, buses along that route for about 10 years. So he originally was on the 15 and now on the two 15, he rides it every day to get to work.

Speaker 4: 04:27 The city has agreed to invest another $97,000 to create dedicated bus lanes on Elka Home Boulevard, which were initially squashed because business owners didn't want them. Have those concerns been resolved now that the, the city plans to add the new lanes on El Cahone Boulevard?

Speaker 1: 04:45 Yeah. So the, but this pilot project, they're not expecting to affect parking. They're not expecting to take out any of the parking lots there, which was one of the big concerns with the business leaders before. Um, but now they're also, the priorities have changed along that boulevard and they want to increase safety and they, they think that by having this dedicated lane that that might increase safety on the route. And what can you tell us about plans for adding those lines? Yeah. So they're going to be painting a white painted line too. You didn't know the bus only lean, and that's expected to start at some point in the summer, but they're still working on engineering in the plans. But it will be about 2.7 miles in each direction, which is actually longer than the original. The original plan for dedicated lands on alcohol and boulevard was

Speaker 4: 05:27 meanwhile, mts is exploring putting a measure on the ballot to raise money for more trolley lines, including one along El Cahone boulevard. Is that a real thing? Real

Speaker 1: 05:36 possibility. Well, there have been plans for a trolley on alcohol and boulevard from going from San Diego state to downtown for a while. They've been talking about it since the 80s and in the 2011 San Diego say she's not governments regional plan. They had discussed having a, this trolley that would be built by 2035 and cost about $4. But everything's kind of up in the air right now. And with this tax measure, they're not just talking about trolley is we're talking about street cars, which are kind of trolley bus hybrids. Uh, they're also talking about fairies and people movers and a lot of, a lot more electric elements. And you spoke with someone named Maria. Tell us about her. So Maria is also a regular bus riders. She's been riding buses for decades and has been advocating for buses and Saturdays. And she's still waiting for that trolley

Speaker 6: 06:26 the way things were going at first I said I may not be here to see the trolley coming through, but I will be here. I, my granddaughter will be pushing my ashes through, but I'll be here one way or another.

Speaker 1: 06:39 All right. So a lot of people, depending on these modes of transportation. Yes, definitely. All throughout the city heights I've been speaking to, I knew source report or Lauren j math. Thank you so much, Lauren. Thank you. And if you want to help plan San Diego's transit future, go to elevate SD 20 and click on get involved. I knew storage, Susan independently funded nonprofit partner of KPBS.

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.

KPBS Midday Edition podcast branding

KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.