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East Area Rapist Suspect Appears in Court Without Wheelchair

SACRAMENTO -- The accused East Area Rapist's entrance into court Monday morning was the most notable part of an otherwise brief hearing.

Despite a crush of cameras, there were no photographs of Joseph DeAngelo in court, just a sketch of the first time the public has seen him on his own two feet. It is notable because he previously came to court in a wheelchair, appearing weak despite neighbors describing him as strong and active.

On Monday, DeAngelo shuffled into the detention box in the courtroom, saying nothing, staring blankly at times and, as shown in the sketch, conferring with his attorney in low tones at the end of the hearing.

"He seems so old and feeble," said DeeAnne Helton.

Helton said she is family friends with loved ones of Brian and Katie Maggiore, the Sacramento County couple DeAngelo is charged with killing. She was reluctant to speak on camera, saying her appearance Monday was about showing support for the victims.

"We spent a lot of time with the family, with Katie's parents and Katie's brothers. It’s just interesting, after 40 years I just never thought this would be solved," Helton said.

Several others connected to the victims attended the hearing. Most didn’t want to speak on camera.

But one, who told FOX40 she was a friend of the daughter of East Area Rapist victim Cheri Domingo, held up a paper collaged with images of other victims.

Despite the large crowd, DeAngelo's hearing lasted just minutes and ended without him entering a plea. The next hearing date was scheduled for May 29 and both parties agreed more time was needed to review court documents.

DeAngelo's attorney told FOX40 that she does not anticipate that he will enter a plea at the May 29 hearing because she doesn’t think she will be finished going through what she expects to be a large amount of discovery.

Meanwhile, there are still motions pending before the judge about how news outlets can cover the trial. The defense has asked to bar media coverage while the media has moved to have the arrest and search warrants unsealed. The prosecution, defense and attorney for the media will all make their cases in front of a judge, who will rule on how the East Area Rapist case will be covered in court going forward.