Joseph James DeAngelo, the suspected Golden State Killer/Visalia Ransacker/Original Night Stalker/East Area Rapist who is currently in a Sacramento jail after his arrest in April, has been charged this week for the murder of Claude Snelling in VisaliaCalifornia in 1975 – a shooting that is believed to be his first murder.

As reported by CBS News, it’s believed that DeAngelo, now 72, was the man who broke into Snelling’s house in the middle of the night in September 1975, attempted to abduct 17-year-old daughter Elizabeth Hupp, and shot Snelling dead when he tried to intervene in the ransacking. This was suspected to be the Visalia Ransacker’s first attack, and therefore DeAngelo’s first alleged murder of a now-suspected 13.

At the time of his arrest, it was suspected that DeAngelo was the notorious Visalia Ransacker – who terrorised the greater Visalia area in the mid-1970s, and is allegedly responsible for over 85 home invasions and burglaries – and this new murder charge furthers that suspicion.

The Golden State Killer’s case has been unsolved for the last forty years and was more recently brought to the forefront of popular consciousness through the late Michelle Macnamara‘s investigative book, I’ll Be Gone In The Dark. The book provides a timeline of the attacks from EAR/ONS (who she gave the moniker ‘Golden State Killer’ to), as well as an exploration of the extensive work that Detective Paul Holes conducted on the long-unsolved case.

Each of the first-degree murder charges against DeAngelo carries with it a maximum life sentence in prison, or the death penalty. DeAngelo is yet to submit a plea for his various charges.

Source: CBS News
Image: Getty Images / Sacramento Bee