SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- While Joseph DeAngelo may eventually be linked to two San Jose rapes cases from 1978, prosecutors won't be able to charge him with those crimes. The statute of limitations for rape at that time was 10 years.
The law was changed two years ago, eliminating the time limit on rape charges. Santa Clara County Chief Assistant District Attorney Jay Boyarsky has been pushing for such a change for over 20 years after handling the case of a seven-year-old San Jose victim.
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Even if DeAngelo could be tried for rape today, he would get a break on sentencing if convicted.
"Back in the late 1970's, someone that committed a rape and even used a firearm, the most time they would be facing in prison is about seven years," Boyarsky said. "Now that same conduct would be 25 years to life."
No one except the victims themselves can know the anguish of not seeing a suspect face trial. In DeAngelo's case, he can be put on trial for murder because murder in California has no statute of limitation.
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith says in her opinion, an alleged rapist convicted of murder would receive punishment.
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"If I was a rape victim and he was going to prison for murder, I'd be OK with that," said Sheriff Smith. "I would, as long as he's locked up where he can never hurt another person again. I would be satisfied."
Prosecutor Boyarsky showed ABC7 News a flow chart, which he described as a Rubik's cube, that must be followed in order to file rape charges. It is a complicated process.
The San Jose victims are now in their 50's and 60's. One of them told Boyarsky memories of her assault persist.
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