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Chilling Details From Suspected East Area Rapist's Former Fiancé

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – There are disturbing new details about the accused East Area Rapist, Joseph DeAngelo. We're hearing chilling testimony from a local woman who nearly became his wife.

This comes from an L.A. Times interview, which is part of a new podcast that was just released.

The Times sits down with Bonnie Colwell, who met DeAngelo at Sierra College. She discloses details about the suspect's sex life and why she feared for her own life.

Seventy-three-year-old Joseph DeAngelo sits behind bars in Sacramento, accused of being one of the country's most notorious serial killers. He's accused of carrying out 50 rapes, 13 murders, and racked up more than 100 alleged victims during the 1970's and 80's.

Bonnie Colwell is his ex-fiance. Colwell told the L.A. Times about meeting DeAngelo at the age of 18 at Sierra College. He was five years older at the time when he courted her.

Writer Paige St. John says, "To Bonnie, he was an energetic and worldly Vietnam vet".

Soon after, the two got engaged.

The article later goes on to say that after DeAngelo was arrested in 2018, her life turned upside down with media camping outside her Sacramento-area home. The article points out that one retired case investigator said that Colwell dumping DeAngelo was what sparked his violent rage.

Police interviewed her after the arrest focusing on his sexual habits to find connections to rapes by the so-called East Area Rapist.

"Did you ever feel forced or coerced? Were you ever tied up? Did he ever ask you if he could tie you up?" Colwell is quoted as saying.

According to St. John, "Each time, Bonnie answered no. But Bonnie told them sex with DeAngelo was exhausting and often painful…. Joe seemed oblivious to Bonnie's pain."

In the spring of 1971, she broke up with DeAngelo, she said. Days later, she woke up to a tap on her bedroom window. it was DeAngelo.

In the article, Colwell says DeAngelo told her, "Get dressed….We're going to Reno."

She also said, "He was pointing a gun at my face."

Colwell describes running to her father's room while fearing for her life. Her father went outside and got DeAngelo to leave his daughter alone.

In 1973, DeAngelo graduated with a criminal justice degree and began a police internship in Roseville. Less than a year after the break up, Rancho Cordova police started getting reports of home invasions.

DeAngelo was arrested at his Citrus Heights home after investigators say they matched DNA samples from the crime scenes

He is awaiting trial and has not entered a plea. Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.

You can read the entire four-part L.A. Times series here:

You can listen to full episodes of the podcast here:

[Editor's Note: This article has been updated in several places to provide attribution and links.]

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