CITRUS HEIGHTS — Accused of 13 murders and 50 rapes, suspected East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo has been behind bars in Sacramento for nearly 10 months.
As he awaits what’s expected to be the largest trial in California history, he’s facing a different legal issue.
“There is now a divorce pending, which means they are no longer legally married and that’s significant,” said attorney Mark Reichel.
Court records show DeAngelo’s estranged wife, Sharon Huddle, filed for divorce last year.
Reichel says the effect of that change in marital status could be huge for the trial.
“I think this is a treasure trove for the prosecution now,” Reichel told FOX40. “She can really be a domestic diary of the daily activities of this person.”
Reichel says if the couple remained married, the defense could stop Huddle from testifying against DeAngelo. Now she can, with limitations.
“The DA’s office can subpoena her. She loses her right to say no,” he said. “She can’t talk about communications but she can talk about observations. ‘He wasn’t home this night. This night he came home with these clothes. This night he took the truck.'”
The couple married in Placer County in 1973, just before the East Area Rapist crimes began in Sacramento.
“We’ve been neighbors with him for 20 years,” said DeAngelo’s neighbor Natalia Bedes Correnti.
Neighbors began questioning the timing of the split.
“Why she stayed married to him is kind of interesting,” Bedes Correnti said.
They said DeAngelo lived in a Citrus Heights home without Huddle up until his arrest.
“We haven’t seen her in many, many years,” Bedes Correnti told FOX40. “So, we know they were separated for a long, long time. So she hasn’t been around.”
Now DeAngelo’s house appears to be empty as the 73-year-old remains locked up in the Sacramento County Jail.
Huddle has a family law practice. FOX40 went by to see if she’d like to speak but no one was there.
The only time the public has heard from Huddle was in June of last year when she released a statement asking for privacy.
The former couple has a divorce hearing next month. DeAngelo’s next court appearance is on April 10.