One Year After Arrest in East Area Rapist Case, Sacramento County Faces ‘Unprecedented’ Trial Costs

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SACRAMENTO — It was exactly one year ago that a team of law enforcement officers made an arrest in the notorious Golden State Killer, East Area Rapist cold case — a murderous crime spree spanning four decades.

It may be the most high-profile trial since O.J. Simpson and when the case goes to court Sacramento County is going to need help paying for it.

“Words like magnitude and enormity don’t do it justice. Quite simply, a case like this hasn’t been seen before,” said Deputy District Attorney Morgan Gire.

In a rare show of unity, the attorneys defending suspect Joseph DeAngelo and the prosecutors trying to convict him were at the same table asking the state for help.

Gire said when all is said and done, the cost of a trial could total $20 million.

“Everyone knew this day would come. We just didn’t know what it would look like when it did,” Gire said. “And now that it’s here, we’re gonna need to do something about it because Sacramento County alone can’t bear the entire cost of this.”

“This is like unprecedented, so we need to help out as a state legislature,” said Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove.

Cooper introduced a bill requesting the state pay a large portion of trial costs to cover witness travel, investigations and evidence analysis, among other things.

“If they don’t get reimbursed, that money is coming from elsewhere,” he said.

Public defender Steven Garrett, who will represent DeAngelo, said without state help his job will be nearly impossible.

“You cannot handle a case like this without adding to resources, you just can’t,” Garrett said. “We may be expecting 1.5 million pages that they’re going to give us.”

Pages full of material from crimes dating back 40 years, including more than 100 burglaries, 50 alleged rapes and 13 murders, are all up for re-examination once DeAngelo stands before a jury.

Wednesday, the assembly bill passed through its first committee unanimously. It may be more difficult to get it through the Appropriations Committee, where it will be decided how much the state chips in.


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