Last month, HBO began airing a six-part documentary miniseries about the survivors and investigation of the infamous “Golden State Killer.” The network is well known for diving deep into “true crime” stories, which have helped bring victims and their families the justice they deserve.
In 2015, Robert Durst, a wealthy New York real estate heir, was arrested just before the final episode of “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst” aired. Despite being a suspect in multiple murders going back to the 1980s, Durst was able to maintain his freedom.
The director of the docuseries, Andrew Jarecki, was friends with one of Durst’s victims, writer Susan Berman. After directing a feature film based on Durst’s biography, the real estate heir reached out to Jarecki and agreed to be interviewed. It was a decision that would prove to be his downfall.
Captured audio and video, combined with new evidence, gave the Los Angeles police department the power to obtain a first-degree murder warrant in connection to Berman’s death. Durst was arrested in New Orleans by the FBI the day before the miniseries finale. His trial began on March 2, 2020, The Los Angeles Times reports. Six days of hearings later, the judge postponed the trial to a later date owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Golden State Killer Pleads Guilty
Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 74, a former police officer, was arrested in 2018. Using innovative DNA tracing techniques, authorities concluded that DeAngelo was the Golden State Killer. In previous posts, we have discussed how law enforcement was able to land on a suspect involved in heinous crimes more than 40 years old.
One day after HBO aired, “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” DeAngelo pled guilty to 13 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of kidnapping, USA Today reports. Authorities could not charge the Golden State Killer with rape because of the statute of limitations.
It’s unclear whether the docuseries motivated the former police officer’s decision or if he was only trying to be spared of capital punishment. Whatever the case may be, DeAngelo avoided death row with his confession in a makeshift courtroom allowing for social distancing in a ballroom at Sacramento State University.
Part of the plea agreement included the requirement of admitting guilt.
Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
Please contact The Law Office of Ronald G. Brower if you or a loved one requires legal assistance. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have lost someone they care about to the coronavirus.