The Story Of Sharon Huddle, The Lawyer Who Was Married To The Golden State Killer

Published April 14, 2024
Updated May 21, 2024

Sharon Marie Huddle was married to Joseph James DeAngelo for more than 40 years. But did she know he was the Golden State Killer?

Sharon Marie Huddle

Public DomainOne of the few known photos of Sharon Marie Huddle, the wife of Golden State Killer Joseph James DeAngelo from 1973 to 2019.

In 1973, a young California woman named Sharon Marie Huddle married a man named Joseph James DeAngelo. They would remain married for the next 46 years — during which time he committed a vicious series of rapes and murders that now make him one of the worst serial killers in American history.

During the 1970s and ’80s, DeAngelo raped at least 51 women and murdered at least 13 people across California, ultimately earning him the nickname the “Golden State Killer.” All the while, the Golden State Killer’s wife Sharon Marie Huddle lived with him and helped raise their three children.

Reportedly, the couple grew distant as early as the 1970s and remained somewhat estranged even before separating in 1991. Nevertheless, Sharon Marie Huddle didn’t divorce Joseph James DeAngelo until 2019, one year after he was finally captured. To this day, questions remain about how much Huddle may have known about DeAngelo’s crimes.

“My thoughts and prayers are for the victims and their families,” Huddle said after his capture. “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 virtually everything that Sharon Marie Huddle has publicly said about her ex-husband, who received a combined 12 life sentences in August 2020. Years afterward, much remains unknown about her life alongside one of history’s most chilling predators.

This is the harrowing story of Sharon Marie Huddle, the wife of the Golden State Killer.

Sharon Marie Huddle’s Early Life — Before The Murders Of The Golden State Killer Began

Sharon Huddle Wife Of Joseph James Deangelo

Public DomainThroughout Sharon Marie Huddle’s 45-year marriage to Joseph DeAngelo, she had no idea he was living a double life as the Golden State Killer.

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 named Joseph James DeAngelo.

Golden State Killer Wife Sharon Marie Huddle

HBOBetween Sharon Huddle’s marriage to Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo in 1973 and their separation in 1991, he raped and murdered dozens of women.

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 Joseph James DeAngelo and Sharon Marie Huddle had only just begun.

The Disturbing Crimes Of Joseph James DeAngelo Begin

Joseph DeAngelo

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s OfficeSharon Marie Huddle married Joseph DeAngelo in 1973, the year he joined the Exeter Police Department.

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 well as the Golden State Killer 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.

Inside Sharon Huddle’s Life As The Wife Of The Golden State Killer

Sketch Of The Original Night Stalker

Wikimedia CommonsA sketch of the Original Night Stalker released by the FBI.

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.

Sharon Marie Huddle didn’t know it, but investigators and true-crime author Michelle McNamara always reckoned the killer was a police officer.

Shoe Prints Of The East Area Rapist

Public DomainSize-nine shoe prints were commonly found at the Golden State Killer crime scenes.

“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.”

Golden State Killer Case

Johanna VosslerVisalia Police Captain Terry Ommen reviewing evidence in the Snelling murder case in 1996.

Sharon Marie 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.

What Happened To Sharon Marie Huddle After Joseph James DeAngelo’s Arrest

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.

Golden State Killer Joseph Deangelo

Sacramento County Sheriff’s OfficeSharon M. Huddle divorced her husband one year after his 2018 arrest.

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 Marie 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.

The Golden State Killer’s Ex-Wife Breaks Her Silence

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 Marie 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.

Marco Margaritoff
A former staff writer for All That’s Interesting, Marco Margaritoff holds dual Bachelor's degrees from Pace University and a Master's in journalism from New York University. He has published work at People, VICE, Complex, and serves as a staff reporter at HuffPost.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Margaritoff, Marco. "The Story Of Sharon Huddle, The Lawyer Who Was Married To The Golden State Killer.", April 14, 2024, Accessed June 19, 2024.