Arts & Sciences

Arrest of Golden State Killer suspect confirms Brandman adjunct’s suspicions

Duane WilsonBrandman University criminal justice instructor Duane D. Wilson said the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo Jr.  in connection with the deaths and rapes attributed to the man known as both the East Area Rapist and Golden State Killer was an astounding development.

Wilson is the author of the novel “Terror at 3 A.M.,” a fictionalized portrayal of the events and the kind of person Wilson had long thought responsible for the 40-year crime spree. Brandman adjunct turns to fiction to raise awareness of PTSD

“My long-held suspicion that the rapist had both a military background and, very likely, training in police work, is now proven to be accurate,” said Wilson. “My purpose in writing the novel was to twofold: First to keep the crime series in the public mind, and second to stress the need for programs to treat veterans who suffer from PTSD.”

News reports say DeAngelo, arrested on Wednesday, April 25, served in Vietnam and worked as a police officer. The crime spree includes 12 deaths and 51 rapes between 1974 and 1986. 

Wilson, a veteran who served in the 4thInfantry Division and worked as a police officer, shares his experiences in the online courses he teaches for Brandman, most recently applied criminology. He said the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder is documented in many Vietnam veterans.  He said a U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs report estimates between 15 to 36 percent of men serving in combat zones during the war suffer PTSD.  

“I believe DeAngelo, the alleged, suffered from this mental disorder.  And, the lead character in my novel is a fictionalized portrayal of the terror one man with PTSD can bring to society,” said Wilson.

Wilson praised the investigation and law enforcement officers throughout the state who worked to solve the crime. “This is an incredible display of criminal justice at its best.  The community should feel a keen sense of closure with the arrest of DeAngelo,” he said.

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