Joseph James DeAngelo appeared frail, weak, and only half aware of what was happening as he was brought into court in a wheelchair… but was it all an act?
The 72-year-old defendant entered the Sacramento County courtroom in a wheelchair on April 27, represented by a public defender Diane Howard, who told the reporters that DeAngelo is “depressed and fragile.” DeAngelo himself spoke only a few words, telling the judge very slowly in a feeble voice that he would accept a court-appointed attorney.
Is Joseph James DeAngelo acting in a bid for sympathy from the court?
True Crime Magazine covers 5 reasons to believe DeAngelo is trying to fool us.
1. He retired only last year
Following DeAngelo’s arrest on April 24, a Save Mart spokeswoman told the media that the arrestee spent more than a quarter-century working for their store chain. From 1990 until his retirement in 2017, DeAngelo was a truck mechanic at the Roseville distribution center for Save Mart Supermarkets.
Considering the physical nature of the job, an image of the sickly old man DeAngelo is trying to uphold does not really blend in with the big picture.
2. He was considered dangerous enough to be surveilled for six days
According to Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, DeAngelo was under surveillance for six days as police sought to learn his pattern of movement to see how he might react if confronted. Officers then developed a plan to arrest him outside rather than in his car or in his home. Although DeAngelo turned 72 last November, the police had a good reason to consider him physically and mentally capable of backfiring during the arrest.
When the handcuffs were in place, the alleged serial killer appeared to be searching his mind to implement a long-standing plan to stave off apprehension but fortunately, had no time to execute it.
3. He owned two cars, a motorcycle, and a boat
While collecting evidence from DeAngelo’s house, investigators towed away two cars, a Volvo and a Toyota along with a fishing boat the killer kept in his three-car garage. Neighbors also said he owned a motorcycle appeared to be a “nice old grandpa” living in a tidy, suburban home with a neatly kept green lawn.
4. He was an active, healthy, meticulous handyman
DeAngelo’s neighbors described him as an extremely meticulous handyman, who liked to build remote-controlled model airplanes and even had permanent markings on his driveway so he could be exact in parking his boat. A neighbor, Kevin Tapia, who grew up next door to DeAngelo, said “His house is always perfectly painted. His grass is always cut. He gets down around all the rocks on his lawn and is cutting to make sure it’s just perfect.”
Another neighbor told the Sacramento Bee that on the day of his arrest, DeAngelo was working in a garage and building a table.
That sounds like a pretty active grandpa, isn’t it?
5. He had occasional temper tantrums
“This guy just had this anger that was just pouring out of him,” Grant Gorman, who grew up in the house behind DeAngelo’s, told the Sacramento Bee. “He’d just be yelling at nothing in the backyard, pacing in circles.”
According to Gorman, “These rages went back decades, to 1994, when DeAngelo left a voice mail threatening to “deliver a load of death” if the dog did not stop barking.
“We used to just call him ‘Freak,’ ” another neighbor, Natalia Bedes-Correnti, told the Sac Bee. “He used to have these temper tantrums … usually, because he couldn’t find his keys.”