The trial of a former police officer suspected of being a notorious serial killer who terrorized California in the 1970s and 80s could cost taxpayers more than $20 million.
A Sacramento County official said Wednesday the county has asked the state to help shoulder the costs for prosecuting Joseph DeAngelo.
"While the current estimate is more than $20 million, it is impossible at this point to accurately estimate all costs. We anticipate the complexities of the case, including 40 years of evidence, to greatly affect the final cost," said Natasha Drane of the county's office of Governmental Relations and Legislation.
The estimate comes as DeAngelo is scheduled to appear in court Thursday. A spokeswoman for the district attorney's office could not provide details on the hearing in advance, and the public defender's office could not be reached for comment.
The $20 million estimate includes the prosecution and defense of DeAngelo, Drane said. He's been represented by a public defender since his arrest in April.
DeAngelo, 73, faces 26 counts in six counties, 13 for murder and 13 tied to rapes. The crimes began in 1975 and stopped in 1986.
In the decades following, the search for a suspect known by nicknames such as the Golden State Killer and the East Area Rapist frustrated investigators and left victims' families without answers. Finally in early 2018 investigators used DNA and a genealogical website to identify and arrest DeAngelo as the alleged killer. He has not entered a plea.
Since the statute of limitations has passed on bringing rape cases, prosecutors charged him with 13 kidnapping-related charges. He is suspected of committing 13 murders and more than 50 rapes.
The serial killer would monitor suburban neighborhoods and sneak into homes at night, authorities said. If a couple was home, he would tie up the man, place dishes on his back and threaten to kill both victims if he heard the plates fall onto the floor while he raped the woman.