'Golden State Killers' past and present in Sacramento jars neighbors

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- ABC7 News delves more deeply into the background of the man police are accusing of murdering 12 people as the "Golden State Killer," and raping dozens more as the so-called "East Area Rapist."

The allegations against the former police officer still resonate in and around the Citrus Heights neighborhood where he lived.

VIDEO: What we know about suspected 'Golden State Killer'
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After almost four decades of searching, the manhunt for one of California's most notorious criminals is over.

"Crazy that he lives so close too, just three miles down the street," said 24-year-old Madison Miller, who drove the three miles with her mom to stand outside and watch police carry bags of evidence out of the suspect's home.

Her mother, Ann Miller-Wilson, has been haunted by the case since she was a little girl. "When I was eleven years old, he killed two people across the street from my house. We heard the gunshots," she said.

The suspect, 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo, is accused of murdering a dozen people and raping more than 50 women during a ten-year crime spree that stretched from the mid-seventies through the mid-eighties.

Dubbed the "Golden State Killer," and the "East Area Rapist," he managed to evade capture for forty years. Until DNA evidence provided the break detectives needed.

Ann Miller-Wilson says, "It's always affected me. I'm kind of paranoid."
DeAngelo is a former police officer who worked in the towns of Exeter, near Visalia , and in Auburn in the Sierra Foothills.

TIMELINE: A look back at the Golden State Killer's crime spree that lasted a decade

Nicholas Winnick was Auburn's police chief when DeAngelo worked there. "This was an officer who obviously had some credibility, some ethics problems and we investigated and terminated him because of it," he said.

Winnick, who is now retired, says he fired DeAngelo after an investigation proved he shoplifted a hammer and dog repellant from a store. "I've devoted my whole life to law enforcement. You hate to see a police officer accused of crimes of this nature....serial rapist, mass murderer, it's terrible."

Ann Miller-Wilson summed up the feelings of many. "He never left the area. That's so arrogant. That he damaged so many lives and futures they were supposed to have and he's arrogant enough to live amongst us. It's sickening."

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