By Jess Taylor
SACRAMENTO – Monday morning, the day before victim impact statements begin, prosecutors requested to add additional evidence against the Golden State Killer, now set for sentencing this Friday.
Deputy District Attorney Chang Ho said the surveillance footage of defendant Joseph DeAngelo shows DeAngelo in his jail cell engaging in physical activities, including solving a lighting issue in his cell.
According to Ho, DeAngelo appears to be an “agile, quick, strong, flexible man.” He can be seen climbing his bunk with ease, which contradicts how he is portrayed in the courtroom.
He informed the court that when the defendant is present in court otherwise, his mouth is agape, head is cocked, hands are twisted in awkward angles, he has blank stares and moments of inhaling air rather dramatically. In addition, DeAngelo is always present in a wheelchair when in court. These qualities make him appear to be physically deficient, Ho said.
The concern behind this persona is that if DeAngelo shows he is physically deficient, he may be eligible for release, or he is able to make a request to transfer to a different, less restricted location based upon his frailty, mental health, feebleness, and physical health.
The DA’s office believes DeAngelo is fully capable to mentally and physically express remorse, but he is choosing not to do so. In that, Ho believes the defendant’s lack of remorse needs to be addressed in the sentencing.
“To protect against future litigation, we are asking Exhibit 4 to be a part of the record,” Ho contended.
The DA pleaded with the judge that this kind of information cannot be hidden from the public and that the “defense is trying to censor the People.
“By filing this away in secret we are hiding it from the public, not allowing the justice system to be open, public, and transparent,” said Ho.
DeAngelo’s defense attorney Alice Michael appeared irritated at the request of this video being shown, arguing nothing in the video indicates anything about remorse, and that her client has been “appropriate and respectful to the court.”
She believes the videos to be a “grotesque violation of his privacy” and is “not sure if it’s even legal” to have the videos. Michael was adamant, noting how absurd she believes this request to be and that they will ask for a continuance if accepted, because they have not been provided the video footage.
An important detail she noted is that the defense did not request DeAngelo be put in a wheelchair, but it was the sheriff’s department. With this being a high-profile case, the jail, she said, wants to ensure that it can get DeAngelo in and out of the courtroom as quickly as possible.
Ho then explained the defendant was placed in a surveilled cell to ensure his safety so that he wouldn’t harm himself, and it had nothing to do with obtaining information on him.
A year ago, DeAngelo was recorded committing a sexual act while watching someone outside of the cell. This detail was crucial for prosecutors because they say it shows that DeAngelo’s conduct and his courtroom portrayal do not align.
With the submission of the People, Judge Michael Bowman said that after closely observing the defendant himself he noted that the defendant has never used his physical infirmity as an issue nor has his counsel asked for leniency because of it.
Judge Bowman did not find the footage of DeAngelo moving around in his cell relevant. In the court, DeAngelo standing on his bunk will have no part in deciding whether or not to accept or reject his pleas.
The final ruling is that the tape will not be played at the sentencing Friday.
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