After the accused Golden State Killer allegedly butchered Manuela Witthuhn, the fiend relentlessly tormented her husband with harassing phone calls for 30 years.
“We would get calls, creepy breathing calls,” David’s second wife, Rhonda, told Radar. “One time we had
a call where he said, ‘I’ll kill you,’ or ‘I’m going to kill you!’”
Manuela was just 28 years old when she was bound, raped and brutally bludgeoned to death in the home she shared with David in Irvine, Calif., in 1981.
Rhonda was a friend of the couple and married David years after Manuela’s tragic murder.
The nerve-jangling phone calls stalked David for 30 years and became so disturbing that they moved to another home, Rhonda said.
When she heard recordings of DeAngelo’s voice on television after his arrest on April 25, Rhonda said she was firmly convinced authorities had the right man.
“I know it’s the same person!” she said. “I heard that voice on those phone calls for years — and they were not empty threats. They were very real.”
Authorities in Sacramento, Calif., believe DeAngelo, a former police officer, is responsible for 12 murders, 45 rapes and 120 residential burglaries between 1976 and 1986 — and count Manuela as one of his victims.
But for years, cops kept Manuela’s husband, David, on their suspect list.
“It wasn’t bad enough that David’s wife was murdered,” said Rhonda, 66. “But his dignity was taken away by being accused of doing it.”
A cloud of suspicion hung over David until 2001 when DNA tests finally cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Sadly, David died of natural causes in 2008, still haunted by Manuela’s cold-blooded killing, according to Rhonda.
“It destroyed him,” she said. “David started to drink heavily because he didn’t know how to handle the anger he was left with.”
“He was such a gentle soul. It was inconceivable to him that anybody could do what happened to Manuela to another human being.”
But Rhonda called DeAngelo’s recent arrest a “big relief.”
“I just wish David was here to see that Manuela is finally getting justice,” she said. “I think he would just cry.”
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