Victims of a notorious California serial killer may get a renewed chance to seek up to $70,000 in compensation for their emotional trauma or financial losses under pending legislation.
A budget bill being considered this week would extend the time for victims to file for benefits. Lawmakers have until Friday to approve a budget.
Normally victims have just three years to file with the California Victim Compensation Board for crimes that in this case happened decades ago.
The budget bill would open a new window for victims to file claims after 72-year-old former police officer Joseph DeAngelo was recently charged with being the so-called Golden State Killer responsible for 12 slayings and nearly 50 rapes in the 1970s and '80s.
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Victims who have emotional trauma or monetary losses because of his arrest would have until Dec. 31, 2019, to apply for compensation.
The board has received inquiries from 25 victims and expects more, said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the state Department of Finance. A tip line created by Sacramento County has received "many calls from previously unknown victims who were victimized during the period," he said, with the board projecting that 50 direct victims and 12 family members would be paid.
The money comes from restitution, penalties and fees paid by offenders.
The new deadline was proposed by the board and the state of California "in recognition of the difficulties that victims may experience in receiving benefits from our program given the delay in the identification and apprehension of the Golden State Killer," board spokeswoman Janice Mackey told The Sacramento Bee.
The amount of money victims could receive "depends on the emotional harm and pecuniary losses that are claimed and approved by the board," Palmer told the newspaper.
The maximum reimbursement for each application is $70,000.