SAN FRANCISCO — Prosecutors from six counties in California announced Tuesday that they were combining their cases against the man suspected of being the Golden State Killer, joining forces on charges of 13 counts of murder against Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., who was arrested in a Sacramento suburb in April.
The case, which also includes multiple kidnapping and weapons charges, will be tried in Sacramento, the district attorneys announced.
“It is very fitting that this journey for justice that has been sought for over 40 years ends in Sacramento,” said Anne Marie Schubert, the district attorney for Sacramento County, at a media briefing held in Orange County. The trial, she said, would bring to an end “probably the most notorious unsolved serial-rape killing in California history.”
[Read about how the Golden State Killer left a trail of horror here.]
Mr. DeAngelo will be arraigned on the combined charges on Thursday.
Prosecutors said it was unusual for so many charges in various counties to be combined into a single trial.
“I believe this is unprecedented, certainly in our state,” said Tony Rackauckas, the Orange County district attorney.
Prosecutors said they had not yet decided whether to pursue the death penalty, which is legal in California, against Mr. DeAngelo.
The man known as the Golden State Killer, the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker terrified large swaths of California in the 1970s and 1980s with a rash of brutal, sadistic murders and rapes.
After three decades of fruitless investigations, Mr. DeAngelo, 72, was identified earlier this year through the innovative use of a genetic database.
Investigators have DNA evidence that was preserved from crimes linked to the Golden State Killer for three counties in Southern California, as well as Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay Area. There is no DNA evidence for the crimes that occurred in the Sacramento area.
Although for years they had no suspect, investigators had long suspected that one person was responsible for the string of murders because of DNA matches at crime scenes. The breakthrough in the case came after they created a fake profile with a sample retrieved in 1980 and pretended to be someone researching family history.
A web of distant relatives eventually led them to Mr. DeAngelo, a former police officer. They searched Mr. DeAngelo’s trash and found a tissue with DNA that investigators said matched their crime-scene sample. In April, the authorities surprised Mr. DeAngelo at his home and brought him into custody.