For years, residents in the quiet California neighborhood of Citrus Heights didn’t bat an eye at Joseph James DeAngelo — the 72-year-old former cop who was arrested and outed Wednesday as the alleged Golden State Killer.
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He seemed, for the most part, like your typical grouchy old man — living in the cleanest house, with the neatest, most well-kept yard, and a “quirkiness of getting mad,” according to neighbors.
Several people told The Sacramento Bee that DeAngelo resided with his daughter and granddaughter, and was known to have “temper tantrums.”
“Not at anybody, just (expressing) his self-frustration,” explained Natalia Bedes-Correnti, who lives just a few houses down from the alleged murderer and rapist.
“Usually because he couldn’t find his keys.”
Little did everyone know, at the time, was that the ex-police officer was allegedly hiding a dark secret.
According to cops, DeAngelo spent eight years brutalizing women — and sometimes men -— from different cities across California. He is allegedly responsible for 12 murders, 45 rapes and more than 120 break-ins between 1976 and 1986.
“It’s terrifying to think this man could have hopped the fence and come into my backyard. I have children,” said Beth Walsh, who lives behind DeAngelo. “I’m glad to know they caught this guy.”
Walsh and several others told the Bee that the accused East Area Rapist retired two weeks ago, and had been planning on doing a lot of fishing. They described him as a “regular guy” with a mean streak.
“I can’t even believe, I can’t even believe it,” said resident Corey Harvey of DeAngelo’s alleged past.
The ex-Auburn and Exeter cop often did good deeds for his neighbors, including building a new fence for Walsh and her husband. But some described his behavior as off-putting — and even disturbing at times.
“We used to just call him ‘Freak,’” said Bedes-Correnti.
“I had the creeps about this guy for a long time,” added Eddie Verdon, another neighbor who allegedly caught DeAngelo snooping around his property.
Longtime resident Grant Gorman grew up behind the alleged killer, and claimed to be deathly afraid of him when he was younger.
“This guy just had this anger that was just pouring out of him,” Gorman said, noting how he avoided DeAngelo and his daughter at all costs.
“I felt sorry for her,” Gorman added. “He’d just be yelling at nothing in the backyard, pacing in circles.”
The 5-foot, 10-inch septuagenarian appears to have spent most of his life in the suburbs and foothills of Sacramento, according to the Bee.
He was reportedly injured while serving in the military and is said to be missing a finger.
Kevin Tapia, who also grew up behind DeAngelo, claimed he was painstakingly diligent — and extremely paranoid about his boat. He told reporters that DeAngelo had permanent markings on his driveway to outline where to park it.
“No one thinks they live next door to a serial killer,” Tapia said. “But at the same time I’m just like, he was a weird guy. He kept to himself. When you start to think about it you’re like, I could see him doing something like that, but I would never suspect it.”
With Post wires
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