Investigators have officially linked the suspected East Area Rapist to a murder committed by the so-called Visalia Ransacker.
Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward was joined by Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar in making the announcement Monday morning, that they were charging 72-year-old Joseph DeAngelo with first-degree murder, more than six decades after Claude Snelling was killed while trying to rescue his daughter from the clutches of her attacker.
“We’re filing first degree murder charges against Mr. DeAngelo, along with an allegation that he used a firearm in the commission of that murder,” Ward said.
The murder charge is the first official connection between the Golden State Killer and the Visalia Ransacker cases that bore many similarities to later attacks DeAngelo has been accused of.
The Visalia Ransacker has been credited with more than 85 burglaries in Tulare County and the death of Snelling.
DeAngelo was arrested at his Citrus Heights home in April after investigators used familial DNA to connect him to the crimes. DeAngelo is accused of killing 12 people and raping another 45 victims between 1975 to 1986.