On Monday, Joseph James D’Angelo is expected to plead guilty to more than 50 charges of murder, rape, kidnapping and robbery. By doing so, the man known as the Golden State Killer will avoid the death penalty.
The brother of one of the victims says this plea deal will still, at least, put the accused killer behind bars for the rest of his life.
Ron Harrington said despite the decades of mental torment, this was a decision based on practicality.
"You park it away in your brain and you don’t want to visit it. Every time you do it takes a toll," he said.
The year was 1980. The crime incomprehensible. His younger brother Keith and his newlywed wife Patty were on the cusp of their medical careers. She as a pediatric nurse. He as an emergency room physician.
According to investigators, Patty had been raped. She and Keith were both tied up with macrame rope. Both were bludgeoned to death.
"My dad found them two days later and my dad was never the same," Ron said.
Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.
Authorities say nothing was taken from their Niguel Shores home.
Then a break came. DNA from the Harringtons' murder was tied to the murder of 18-year old Janelle Cruz of Irvine.
A decade later, prosecutors say it was again DNA that had connected the same suspect to a crime spree that spread across six California counties.
Prop 69 was born of the Harringtons' belief they could find their brother's killer through DNA.
"The whole purpose was the more DNA you got into the system, the more likely this case was going to be solved and it solved so many cold cases. It also exonerated the innocent," he said.
But it was DNA from a relative who led prosecutors to Joseph James D’Angelo, uncovered through a genealogy website. Ron Harrington remembers seeing the accused for the first time.
"Totally surreal. You could feel the evil," he said.
Monday Ron will again be in court, expecting to hear the man known as the Golden State Killer plead guilty to the murder of his brother 40 years after the crime.
Ron says he is still in favor of the death penalty.