Sharon Marie Huddle was married to Joseph James DeAngelo for more than 40 years while he killed over a dozen people. But it remains unclear whether she knew he was the Golden State Killer.
“My thoughts and prayers are for the victims and their families. The press has relentlessly pursued interviews of me. I will not be giving any interviews for the foreseeable future. I ask the press to please respect my privacy and that of my children.”
This statement is currently everything Sharon Marie Huddle has publicly said about her ex-husband Joseph James DeAngelo, better known as the Golden State Killer. As the former wife of a man who pleaded guilty to 26 charges in a raping and killing spree, it’s only natural to avoid further publicity.
Joseph James DeAngelo was ultimately charged with 13 counts of murder, with additional special circumstances, as well as 13 counts of kidnapping for robbery. He received a combined 12 life sentences in August 2020.
As chronicled in true-crime author Michelle McNamara’s book I’ll Be Gone In the Dark, the Golden State Killer raped and murdered countless California women for years, and was never caught. Meanwhile, the Golden State Killer’s wife raised three children with him.
If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like to be married to a serial killer — look no further then the story of Sharon Marie Huddle.
Sharon Marie Huddle’s Early Years
Not much is known about Sharon Marie Huddle, other than her being born in 1953 and practicing family law as an adult. A quick internet search yields critical reviews of her law firm and complaints about her allegedly cruel interpersonal behaviors. Objectively, one is left with only the facts.
As a student at California State Sacramento, Huddle laid the academic foundation of her career in family law. It was here that the 20-year-old aspiring attorney met her future husband, a dashing Vietnam veteran and former Navy officer studying criminal justice.
Sharon Huddle and Joseph DeAngelo tied the knot in 1973, the same year he joined the Exeter police force. The Sacramento Bee profiled him as a promising new police hire, and cheerfully announced his fall wedding at Auburn First Congregational Church.
It only took a year for unsolved burglaries in Visalia, a town 11 miles from Exeter, to start terrorizing the people who lived in the area. And the marriage between DeAngelo and Huddle had only just begun.
The Golden State Killer’s Wife
Dubbed the Visalia Ransacker, the criminal robbed about 100 homes in Northern California from 1974 to 1975. The following year, a meticulous criminal nicknamed the East Area Rapist used similar methods to break into suburban homes to rape 50 women across a three-year period.
As his crimes escalated to murder in Southern California, so did the confusion amongst authorities. The serial killer was dubbed the Original Night Stalker as he targeted couples, tied them up with ligatures, and often raped the women before shooting or bludgeoning his victims.
Since the burglaries, rapes, and murders were spread out geographically, authorities attributed the varying crime sprees to different people. But it was one person all along — and Sharon Huddle was living with him.
DeAngelo was, by all accounts, a trustworthy and reliable man. He’d been awarded numerous medals for his 22-month service in Vietnam, where he purportedly lost a finger. He was educated and respected authority, as evidenced by his job as a cop.
Huddle didn’t know it, but investigators and true-crime author Michelle McNamara always reckoned the killer was a police officer.
“It was a lot more than a hunch,” said Wendell Phillips, a former Sacramento sheriff’s deputy involved in the case. “There was no doubt he was either military or law enforcement or both.”
By the time the couple’s first daughter was born in September 1981, the East Area Rapist had already committed 50 rapes — and the Original Night Stalker was steadily racking up his body count. He’d terrorize Southern California until 1986.
Sharon Huddle’s husband began working for the Save Mart grocery chain in 1989, and held the job for 27 years. The FBI publicly announced its renewed efforts of tracking the Golden State Killer in 2016.
“He was a mechanic,” said a Save Mart company spokeswoman. “None of his actions in the workplace would have led us to suspect any connection to crimes being attributed to him.”
Huddle and her husband reportedly slept in separate bedrooms by the 1970s and separated in 1991, though they remained technically married for years. Huddle had apparently purchased a second home in Roseville, but the pair appeared to share parenting duties amicably.
Today, one of their three daughters is an emergency room physician, while another daughter is a graduate student at University of California in Davis. The third daughter and Sharon Huddle’s granddaughter were both living with DeAngelo when he was arrested.
Joseph James DeAngelo’s Wife Today
Joseph James DeAngelo reportedly told officers raiding his home on April 18, 2018 that he had a roast in his oven before he was taken into custody. Prior to the arrest, investigators had used DNA from his car door handle and discarded tissues to match him to the crimes using an online genealogy database.
McNamara’s true-crime book I’ll Be Gone In the Dark, which has since been made into an HBO documentary, posited accurately that DNA would help crack the case. Sharon Huddle, meanwhile, either remained unconvinced of her husband’s guilt or made a curious decision not to divorce him until a year after his arrest.
“The DA’s office can subpoena her,” said attorney Mark Reichel, explaining that dissolving the marriage union rids Huddle of previous legal rights. “She loses her right to say no. She can’t talk about communications but she can talk about observations. ‘He wasn’t home this night. This night he came home with these clothes.'”
“She can really be a domestic diary of daily activities of this person.”
DeAngelo’s sister described him as “the kindest, gentlest man with his children,” and said she was shocked and in disbelief, hopeful investigators were wrong about him. His neighbors, meanwhile, had long thought of the man as “cantankerous,” with some even dubbing him “Freak” for his outbursts.
Sharon Marie Huddle, however, long remained silent even after DeAngelo was arrested. She only truly broke her silence after DeAngelo pleaded guilty in June 2020.
For the subsequent sentencing hearings in August, Sharon Marie Huddle submitted a written statement:
“I will never be the same person. I now live everyday with the knowledge of how he attacked and severely damaged hundreds of innocent people’s lives and murdered 13 innocent people who were loved and have now been missed for 40 years or more.”
But not once during the statement did she refer to DeAngelo by name. Surely, even after decades, Sharon Huddle can’t bring herself to fully confront the terrifying things her husband did.
After learning about Sharon Marie Huddle, the woman who was married to the Golden State Killer, read about Paul Holes, the man who helped catch this elusive murderer. Then, learn about 11 prolific serial killers most people have never heard of.