Golden State Killer victims' family, families of other crime victims criticize Newsom at victims' rights rally

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Victims' rights rally: OCDA, crime victims' families criticize governor
The top law enforcement officials in Orange County joined the families of crime victims - including family of victims of the Golden State Killer - on a victims' rights march through parts of Santa Ana.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- The top law enforcement officials in Orange County joined the families of crime victims on a march through part of Santa Ana.

The event, held as part of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, "Honoring the Past. Hope for the Future," is an opportunity to honor victims and listen to survivors tell their stories of how they are moving forward and reshaping their lives - and how they continue to fight for victims' rights.

"Now, it's year 38, we're now going on year 39, so we're just seeking justice," said Ron Harrington, whose brother and sister-in-law were victims of the Golden State Killer.

Newlyweds Keith and Patti are believed to be the first Orange County victims of the serial killer. Ron has waited decades to see an arrest. Joseph DeAngelo is awaiting trial after his arrest last year, but Harrington is concerned about what might come next.

"Now all of a sudden, the governor interjects this moratorium, completely inconsistent with what he said before he was elected governor," said Harrington.

Much of the rally focused on Gov. Gavin Newsom's decision to suspend the death penalty in the state last month. Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer spoke directly to him.

"Your protection of these vicious and most brutal sadistic and torturous murderers does not give you the moral high ground," said Spitzer.

He says that belongs to the victims and their families, like the parents of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi, who were killed by death row inmate Daniel Wozniak.

"What some of these guys did to the victims? They belong somewhere worse than death row," said Steve Herr, Sam's father.

The governor's office sent this statement to Eyewitness News:

The Governor sends his heartfelt condolences to survivors families. These families deserve our state's respect. The Governor sat down with more than a dozen survivor families as he was making his decision on the death penalty. Some told him they strongly supported the death penalty and while others strongly believed the state shouldn't take another life in the name of their loved one.

Ultimately, the governor decided he couldn't continue a system that discriminates against defendants who are mentally ill, minorities, or can't afford expensive legal representation. And he couldn't continue a system where innocent people have been sentenced to death. 164 death row inmates nationally - including 5 in California -- were later exonerated for their crimes after being sentenced to death, and the National Academy of Sciences estimates that 1 out of every 25 people sentenced to death in America are wrongfully convicted.