Mother's reaction after learning DNA linked Golden State Killer to murder of couple from Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. -- When Joseph James DeAngelo appears in court for the first time Friday, faces from his past will appear in the gallery. Kenneth Smith will be there for his sister, Katie Maggiore.

"I truly never believed it would come. It's been 40 years since Kate and Brian. I honestly felt that person was dead, there's no way he'd still be here," said Smith.

VIDEO: Serial killer's crime spree likely started in Visalia
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DeAngelo has been called many names including the "Visalia Ransacker" who committed multiple crimes between 1973 and 1976 in Visalia.

In February of 1978, Katie and Brian Maggiorre were walking their dog in Rancho Cordova when they encountered a man. For some reason, the couple ended up in a backyard, started running, and were shot to death. Brian's mother Loretta Maggiorre, who was too tearful to show her face on camera, just wants to know why.

"I was just dumbfounded after all these years, I was thinking oh my God, I got to find out before I go, then I can tell them when I get there who it was," said Maggiore.

VIDEO: Visalia detective came face to face with serial killer in 1975

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One of the detectives originally assigned to the 'Visalia Ransacker' case was detective Bill McGowen, who dedicated his life to breaking the case.

Brian was only 21-years-old then. He would have turned 61-years-old this year. For four decades, his mother has imagined the life he could have had.

VIDEO: Visalia Ransacker's victim speaks out for the very first time
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ONLY ON ACTION NEWS: Visalia Ransacker's victim speaks about the night she was nearly abducted and her father was murdered

"You just wonder if they would have lived here or someplace else. If they lived someplace else then I could go live with them. There's no answer," said Maggiore.

DNA ultimately gave this family some comfort. Detectives caught DeAngelo after matching DNA from the crime scene to a relative's on a genealogy website.

After all these years to find there was somebody who had been caught that did this. It was like a big relief, I didn't know I was that strung up," said Maggiore.

Loretta says she may have given up hope years ago of finding the man responsible for the murders, but is grateful investigators never did.

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