Joseph DeAngelo, the man suspected of being the notorious Golden State Killer, will appear before a state judge on Monday. But rather than be in a courtroom, he’ll be in a California State University–Sacramento ballroom, standing before socially-distanced victims and family members.
With over 150 victims and relatives expected to attend, prosecutors sought a room that would be large enough to accommodate them and promote social distancing,The Sacramento Bee reported. The ballroom can hold 2,000 people.
DeAngelo is expected to take a plea deal to avoid the death penalty, victims’ relatives told ABC News.
DeAngelo, now 74 years old, is accused of committing 13 murders as well as multiple rapes and burglaries in the 1970s and 80s, terrorizing communities from Northern to Southern California.
DeAngelo, a former police officer, eluded law enforcement for decades, until he was arrested in Sacramento County in April 2018.
DeAngelo became the first public arrest obtained through genetic genealogy, a new technique that takes the DNA of an unknown suspect left behind at a crime scene and identifies him or her by tracing a family tree through his or her family members, who voluntarily submit their DNA to public genealogy databases.
This allows police to create a much larger family tree than using law enforcement databases, such as the Combined DNA Index System, aka CODIS, in which an exact match is usually needed.
Since DeAngelo’s arrest, over 150 suspects have been identified through genetic genealogy.
ABC News’ Jenna Harrison and Annie Pong contributed to this report.