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Speaking following the arrest of ex-cop Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, who is accused of killing 12 and raping at least 45 people between 1976 and 1986, Jennifer Carole said it felt “surreal”.
However she said she believed that the serial killer was a narcissist who would be revelling in the attention following the high profile arrest in Sacramento, California.
Jennifer was 18 when her father Lyman Smith and stepmother Charlene were bludgeoned to death by the prolific serial killer known as the Golden State Killer or the Original Night Stalker.
Speaking to Sun Online from her home in Santa Cruz, California, she said: “It feels a lot like when my dad was murdered just because so many things are happening and I’m not able to keep up.
“It’s been surreal. I never thought we’d actually get a person.
“I always knew we had the guy because of the DNA but we just didn’t know who the guy was.
“I’m incredulous that he was caught – that we have a human being who is still alive.
“To help me cope I always imagined he was dead just to manage my feelings about it.
“But it turns out he may have been very much alive and living in an area where I went to college and where my family live in Sacramento. It’s mindblowing.”
DeAngelo, a former police officer, was arrested after police matched discarded DNA evidence from his Sacramento area home with genetic evidence from the crimes, Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten said.
He has been charged with six counts of murder and is being held without bail.
Mum-of-one Jennifer, who works in Silicon Valley, said she is now hoping DeAngelo confesses – and the families are spared the trauma of trial.
She also says if he is found guilty she doesn’t want the death penalty – rather she wants him to “know what it’s like to be afraid 24/7”.
“There’s two things I want now – I want him to confess and I do not want him on death row.
“On death row he gets a private room – and I don’t want that – no way.
"He should have to go into general population, so he can learn what it’s like to be afraid 24/7. He doesn't get to be in a private room I don’t care how old he is.
“He needs to be afraid every minute of every day and learn what terror is really like.”
Describing her dad as community-minded and hard-working, Jennifer also hopes that people remember the victims – and not just focus on the killer.
“One of the things that I’m angry about is that this man doesn’t have just one moniker but three and he’s going to think it’s awesome that he’s the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker and the Golden State Killer,” she said.
“I get upset about this because the attention becomes all about the murderer and it's like wait a minute he changed my life and he changed so many lives.
“I suspect he is going to revel in this. He had a lot of arrogance during the crimes and he’s got away with it for a long time.”
Lyman and Charlene were found bludgeoned to death in their home by Jennifer’s 12-year-old brother in 1980. Charlene had also been brutally raped.
“When dad and Charlene were murdered it was so violent and so intimate,” she explained.
“They were bludgeoned to death. I imagine that their blood splatter would have gone on him – that’s how close you have to be to bludgeon someone to death.
“I’ve often thought what causes that much rage and what demons he has inside him – I don’t care but I’m interest.
“I know he’s a narcissist, everything about him from the way he did these crimes and then how he taunted some victims afterwards, the way he got away with it.”
Jennifer said that after spending decades looking over her shoulder, wondering whether the killer was out there – and even sleeping every night with a bat next her bed, she now feels safer.
She also praised detectives – who arrested DeAngelo after matching discarded DNA evidence from his home with genetic evidence from the crimes.
Jennifer said: “We’ve had some remarkable law enforcement involved on this case over the decades and they’ve stood true and I feel so good for them today and I feel so good for the rape victims that they know finally that they are safe."
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