#SpookySZN: ‘Unmasking a Killer’ investigates how the FBI tracked down Golden State Killer Joseph James DeAngelo

True Crime October 23, 2021
Listen to ‘Unmasking a Killer’

HLN’s “Unmasking a Killer” investigates the Golden State Killer who evaded law enforcement for forty years until the FBI reopened the case in 2016 and an evidence-based arrest was made. Until recently, this case was a mystery: we were left wondering who the serial killer was, where he went, and why the killings stopped. This series unpacks the evidence leading up to Joseph James DeAngelo’s arrest and episodes speak with people linked to the case and crimes. This podcast is a companion listen to HLN’s documentary TV series by the same name, “Unmasking a Killer.”

In an hour-long “Theory vs. Fact” episode, we learn all about the trail that led to the Golden State Killer’s arrest and trial. DeAngelo, a former police officer, was arrested in 2018 with 13 homicide charges and 13 charges of kidnap with intention to rob in connection with the crime spree.

DeAngelo committed crimes in the 1970s and 1980s. Law enforcement believed he was responsible for serial rapes in California, but due to the statute of limitations, they could not file rape charges. DeAngelo pled guilty and confessed to the additional crimes during his 2020 trial in a deal to avoid the death penalty.

In episodes, long-time investigator and podcasting Supervising Producer Todd Lindsey reviews his research and shares what investigators were correct about, and where evidence led them astray. They never expected the serial killer was a police officer, yet they suspected the perpetrator had a military background.

This series is thorough in examining the case, compiling interviews with those involved, and diving deep into the Golden State Killer’s timeline. We hear from FBI profilers, public defenders, the team that was instrumental to DeAngelo’s arrest, and the killer’s former neighbor, among others.

Investigators such as Paul Holes are interviewed about forensic DNA tracing, and how it was his idea to use science to the team’s advantage. Holes dedicated 20+ years to Golden State Killer research, and co-hosts his own podcast, “The Murder Squad.” It’s interesting to learn about the role investigative genealogy and DNA have in identifying suspects.

Investigators had a breakthrough when they realized the theft and B&E spree by the Visalia Ransacker in 1975 was actually the Golden State Killer’s work, whose crimes escalated over the years. This series looks at reopened cases that Oscar Clifton was convicted of, that enforcement now believe were DeAngelo’s crimes.

This series also spoke with survivors and families victimized by the Golden State Killer and other cases. Episodes also discussed similar serial killers such as the Nightstalker, who was convicted in 1989.

To learn more about the Golden State Killer, tune in to “Unmasking a Killer.” All episodes are now streaming, wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to ‘Unmasking a Killer’

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