SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A judge ruled today that prosecutors can collect DNA, fingerprints and body photographs of the former policeman accused of being California’s Golden State Killer.
Attorneys for Joseph DeAngelo, 72, had asked the court to halt the search, arguing the warrant it relied on should no longer be valid because it was granted before his arrest.
But Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet sided with the district attorney and said that courts have repeatedly allowed the collection of such evidence because it’s not a form of testimony and would not harm DeAngelo’s right against self-incrimination.
“There’s no basis to stop the execution of the search warrant,” he said.
DeAngelo, appearing in court in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffed to a wheelchair, said nothing. He has not entered a plea.
He was arrested last week and identified by prosecutors as the man responsible for at least a dozen murders and more than 50 rapes across California in the 1970s and 1980s. Prosecutors said they used DNA and a genealogical website to identify DeAngelo, decades after the case had gone cold.
It was unclear when prosecutors will collect the new evidence. They had planned to do so on Wednesday but the defense attempt to prevent them halted that.
Diane Howard, DeAngelo’s public defender, declined comment as she left court. Deputy Sacramento County District Attorney Thienvu Ho declined to answer questions about why prosecutors needed the DNA, fingerprints and photographs of DeAngelo’s entire body.
The search and arrest warrants for DeAngelo that contain legal arguments and case details justifying why investigators want to gather the evidence are shielded from public view.
The Associated Press and other news organizations have filed a motion to unseal them, which could provide additional details about the DNA techniques prosecutors used to identify him.
A hearing is scheduled for May 14.