Crime & Public Safety

‘Blessed to be alive.’ Survivor of Golden State Killer reflects on life since rapist’s arrest

Sun City survivor talks about being in the courtroom with East Area Rapist suspect

East area rapist survivors, including Jane Carson-Sandler of Sun City and Margaret Wardlow, talk about seeing suspect Joseph James DeAngelo for the first time on Thursday, July 12, 2018.
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East area rapist survivors, including Jane Carson-Sandler of Sun City and Margaret Wardlow, talk about seeing suspect Joseph James DeAngelo for the first time on Thursday, July 12, 2018.

Editor’s note: We caught up with the most interesting people we wrote about in 2018. Learn what’s new with each this week.

It was decades in the making, but if finally happened.

On July 12, Jane Carson-Sandler sat on the front row of a Sacramento, Calif. court room and got a good look at her attacker from 42 years ago.

Carson-Sandler had been the fifth victim of the the Golden State Killer, also known at the time as the East Area Rapist. A Sun City resident, she first told her story to The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette in March to bring attention to the decades-old case of the serial rapist and killer that plagued California in the 1970s and ‘80s.

But no one expected what happened next. In a shocking development, Joseph James DeAngelo was arrested for the crimes in April.

Her life has been a whirlwind since. The morning the news broke, her phone never stopped ringing.

Everyone wanted to get her reaction to the arrest. The next morning, she was on Megyn Kelly Today. She’s been interviewed by 20/20, HLN, Inside Edition, the New York Times, 60 Minutes Australia and Dr. Oz, among others. Her latest endeavor was a six-hour program for Amazon Audible: “Evil Has a Name.”

And she was there in the California court room in July, never making eye contact with her attacker. She cried before the proceedings began. But when she saw his face, the tears weren’t there.

Instead, she felt a renewed sense of rage.

Though her anger toward her attacker has returned, she said she would still welcome the chance to sit across from his jail cell and ask him questions. She’d be composed and not show anger. Though, she admits, “evil does not seem strong enough” to describe the man who raped at least 50 and killed 12.

“I’m so blessed to be alive,” she said. “When I heard their (other survivors’) stories, it was just heartbreaking. I thought, ‘Jane, you had an easy time compared to what these other women went through.’”

Quoting a sign she held outside the courtroom that day in July, Carson-Sandler said she and the other survivors feel strength now that they — not their attacker — have the power and control.

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