Donning an orange jumpsuit and a clear face shield, former California police officer Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., famously known as the "Golden State Killer," pleaded guilty on Monday to 13 counts of first-degree murder.

DeAngelo faced the prosecutors in a makeshift courtroom at the University Ballroom on the Sacramento State University campus, the USA Today reported.

The victims, their families, and the media were also present. Prosecutors from nearly a dozen counties in California recounted, one by one, DeAngelo's most heinous crimes that terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s.

As each case was recounted, 74- year-old DeAngelo sat in a wheel chair and rasped "yes" and "I admit." Otherwise, he barely spoke and did not look at the victims and their families, the NPR reported.

He also admitted to rape, burglary, and other crimes, said a report from BBC.

DeAngelo's attorneys struck a deal with U.S. prosecutors to spare him the death penalty. He is expected to face consecutive life sentences at a second hearing in August. The said life sentences leave him with no chance of parole.

In the second hearing, people affected by his crimes will be given permission to read victim impact statements.

"It was like in my head, I mean, he's a part of me," he said, pertaining to a "Jerry," who made him do the heinous acts and "went with him." He also said he didn't want to do all those things but, as he had done the crimes, he needed to "to pay the price."

In the gallery where the hearing took place, the chairs were spaced 10 feet apart in observance of social distancing. Attorneys also wore face shields and sheriff deputies wore black face masks.

Ending a decades-long investigation

Long-unsolved investigations into these serial killings in northern and southern California lasted decades. This Monday hearing marked the end of investigating about the Golden State Killer.

DeAngelo is believed to be the person behind more than a dozen murders, about 50 sexual assault cases, and ransacking of over 100 homes.

Initially, the crimes stretched all across the state of California and led to many nicknames, with investigators thinking the crimes were committed by different people. Officials only realized later on that the crimes were the work of only one man.

Prosecutors called the geographical scope of the crimes "simply staggering" and noted that these all took place around 34 to 45 years ago.

Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said, "DeAngelo is acknowledging his guilt for the heinous crimes he has committed." She said nothing could give full justice for the crimes that DeAngelo committed but at least families of his victims will finally be brought closure.

DeAngelo was arrested in 2018 after his DNA was found in a genealogy website called GEDmatch. The website created a genetic profile leading them to a pool of relatives who all shared part of the killer's genetic material.

To learn more about the Golden State Killer and his series of murders, take a look at this earlier report.

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