The Golden State Killer can no longer run or hide from the consequences of his actions.
On Wednesday, Aug. 19, Joseph DeAngelo sat handcuffed in a wheelchair in a Sacramento, Calif. courtroom, where survivors and family members read impact statements to the confessed killer. One such woman was Bonnie Ueltzen, the ex-fiancée of DeAngelo.
Ueltzen attended the hearing as a guest of survivor Jane Carson-Sandler, who was bound, raped and terrorized by DeAngelo in Oct. 1976. In her statement, she requested that DeAngelo look at her while she recalled being raped as her 3-year-old son was tied up in another room. Despite the trauma she endured, Carson-Sandler said, according to The Sacramento Bee, a small part of her hopes he finds mercy in the afterlife. However, she added, "But then there's three-quarters of me that wants to say to you, buddy, just rot in hell."
She then went on to introduce Bonnie, who stood with a smile and waved to DeAngelo and the court. According to Carson-Sandler, DeAngelo had cried out Bonnie's name during the attack.
Numerous other survivors previously made the same claim, leading investigators to believe that DeAngelo and Ueltzen's split triggered his attacks in the '70s and ‘80s.
In the HBO docu-series I'll Be Gone in the Dark, Ueltzen voiced her dismay with the idea that she's somehow responsible for him becoming a serial killer. "I refuse to wear the blame for a crazy man so I don't carry the guilt for that. But, the empathy with the women that were attacked: I can't turn that off," she explained.
She also recalled their short-lived relationship, which began when they met at college in 1970. According to Ueltzen, he was one of her first serious boyfriends and though there were warning signs of DeAngelo's potentially dangerous behaviors she said, "I just had no reference to say this is going toward abusive."
When she finally reached her breaking point in 1971 and called off their unofficial engagement, Ueltzen claimed an armed DeAngelo came to her parent's home where she lived and tried to force her to marry him.
Her father intervened on her behalf, but, like the other survivors, she feared his potential return.
And though their failed engagement is pointed to by some as the reason for DeAngelo's actions, the survivors cast no blame on her in court.
In her remarks, Gay Hardwick told the court, "I've heard that he may have been abused as a child, that he experienced sad things in his life, that he had to move around a lot, that his fiancée jilted him... But a lot of people go through bad times, and they don't become serial rapists and murderers."
The same frame of thought was applied to DeAngelo's family, who the survivors described as victims of his crimes as well. "They don't deserve to live a life full of shame due to your despicable actions," Carson-Sandler said.
On Thurs., DeAngelo will be confronted by the family members of his 13 murder victims.
He will then be formally sentenced in a Sacramento meeting room on Friday. The 74-year-old is expected to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole, per a plea deal he agreed to in June.