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Joseph James DeAngelo

'Golden State Killer' lawyers fight to keep documents sealed

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Defense attorneys for the man suspected of being the 'Golden State Killer' argued Wednesday that prosecutors' search and arrest warrants should not be released publicly.

The Associated Press and other news outlets have filed a motion to unseal the information related to the April arrest of Joseph DeAngelo, a 72-year-old former police officer. He is suspected of committing at least a dozen murders and more than 50 rapes across California in the 1970s and '80s.

DeAngelo's public defender, Diane Howard, argued that making the documents public would result in media coverage that could taint witnesses and jurors, leading to an unfair trial. Prosecutors first moved to seal the warrants, arguing their release could hinder the ongoing investigation.

Howard's motion provides fresh, if limited, details about what type of information prosecutors put forth to obtain the arrest warrants. They include details on rapes DeAngelo allegedly committed, which can't be tried because they are past the statute of limitations, she wrote.

Also included is a statement attributed to an unidentified homicide victim, witness statements from decades ago, theories on DeAngelo's alleged methods and evidence items, according to the motion.

"Publicizing this information will affect the reliability of witness testimony and the fairness of the trial," Howard wrote.

The affidavits do not include extensive information about the use of genealogical websites used to link DeAngelo to the case through DNA, she wrote.

Attorneys for the news outlets argued unsealing the warrants could provide additional details about the techniques used to identify him. Their motion also cites the longstanding right to access court records and the immense interest in the case.

A hearing on the news outlets' case is scheduled for Monday.

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