Court filing indicates suspected East Area Rapist hopes to avoid trial

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- Accused of 13 murders and more than 50 rapes, suspected Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo is finally set to answer for his alleged crimes -- but according to a court filing from his defense attorney, he’s now hoping to avoid a trial.

A dismissal motion filed in Sacramento County court late Monday says he would plead guilty to his charges in exchange for a life sentence to put the death penalty off the table.

“It might be best to just resolve now," attorney Mark Reichel, who is not involved in the case, told FOX40. "The cost not just in money but in time and happiness that will be drained out, that never comes back."

Reichel pointed to the $20 million this lengthy trial is expected to cost taxpayers as one reason to take a plea deal. He added that, at 74 years old, DeAngelo would likely die of natural causes before facing the death penalty.

“Right now, we have a governor who has imposed a moratorium on the death penalty. There will be no death penalty executions in California under the current governor,” Reichel said. “There’s a very good chance the next governor of California may take the same position.”

But Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, said the victims deserve their day in court if they want it.

“Just think about it, if that was your daughter, your mother, your sister that happened to years ago and you missed all that time with them by them being a murder victim, how would you feel?” he said. "So, we got to think about victims here. It's not always about the suspect."

Cooper wrote a bill to reimburse counties for the cost of the trial, shifting the burden to the state, but it failed in committee last year. He’s reintroducing the bill ahead of the planned trial.

In a letter sent to victims, the Public Defender’s Office asks for their input, writing, “We would like to reach a resolution to the case that avoids a trial, satisfies all parties and provides a more immediate resolution to the case.”

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office would not comment on the case, saying nothing has changed since sending out their letter of intent in April, saying that they would seek the death penalty.

DeAngelo is expected back in court on March 12.

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