Former police officer suspected of being serial killer is charged with murder

A former US police officer suspected of being a serial killer tied to dozens of killings and sexual assaults in the 1970s and 1980s has been charged with murder, California authorities said.

Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten said his office charged Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, with two counts of first-degree murder in the 1980 killings of a couple.

Mr Totten said prosecutors will seek the death penalty against the former police officer.

Authorities in Sacramento County have also arrested DeAngelo on suspicion of murder in the killings of married couple Brian and Katie Maggiore in 1978.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said DNA helped solve the case.

She said dozens of people committed their professional lives to the search and spent hundreds of hours seeking "justice for these victims and their families".

The attacker who became known as the "East Area Rapist" is accused of at least 12 murders, 45 rapes and dozens of burglaries across the state.

- AP

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