‘Visalia Ransacker’ panel at COS writes new chapter 1975 Richmond murder

Visalia Heritage presents part II of a series on Visalia Ransacker following the release of a true crime book hinged on the murder of Donna Joe Richmond

VISALIA – The second part of “Inside the Visalia Ransacker Investigation” panel discussion was held on College of Sequoias campus after the release of “12/26/75 (Twelve Twenty-Six Seventy-Five)”, a book centered on the Donna Jo Richmond murder that took place on the title’s date.

At the panel discussion, presented by Visalia Heritage on Thursday, July 7, investigator/attorney and author Tony Reid presented his book with former Visalia Police Department Sgt. John Vaughan. Reid outlined a general summary of the book’s contents, and specified instances in his investigation that portrayed inconsistencies of detectives while highlighting his and Vaughan’s investigations.

Reid and Vaughan additionally brought attention to other unsolved murders that they believe can be accredited to Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., the Golden State Killer. 

“We had about half the time that we needed,” Reid about the panel said . “I had hoped to get through a lot more information, it’s a lot to present. And I hope that the book accomplishes the goal, to get the information out there.”

Reid’s book includes a deep investigation into the homicide of Richmond and posits the belief that despite maintaining his innocence, Oscar Clifton was wrongfully convicted and given a death sentence for the murder.

The book highlights  information, other potential crimes and potential errors in a recent review. Additionally, the book specifies the exact reasons why Clifton was mistakenly convicted and what evidence remains for DeAngelo as a suspect in the Richmond murder. Reid states that the details of exculpatory evidence and official misconduct make this possibly, “the most consequential wrongful conviction in recent times.”

Ried didn’t stick to the Richmond case that has been practically settled for decades, he noted at the panel that Vaugn and himself have kept an either on the 1974 Jennifer Armour killing in 1974. 

“That is a case that should have been solved,” he said. “It still could be solved, but nobody seemed to care. I do. I know [Tony] does.”

The book, published on July 1 by Genius Book Publishing in Milwaukee, Wis., was written by private investigator/attorney and author Tony Reid, and is also an adaption of the podcast “12/26/75”. 

Prior to the book’s publication, Reid and producers of the “12/26/75” podcast raised questions about the investigating officers’ bias towards Clifton and the prosecution’s interest in convicting Clifton. Their presentation of the facts also opened up the possibility of Richmond’s killer was Exeter police officer Joseph James DeAngelo after his arrest as the Golden State Killer, a moniker encompassing the Visalia Ransacker, East Area Rapist and Original Night Stalker spanning 10 years across half the state.

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