Patton Oswalt is honoring his late wife, Michelle McNamara, after Joseph DeAngelo was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Friday, August 21.
The decision marks the end of a five decades-long case of the so-called Golden State Killer, who committed at least 13 murders and 50 rapes across California between 1973 and 1986.
McNamara spent about 10 years researching the case that culminated with her writing the book — I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, which was about three-fourths finished when she suddenly died in her sleep in April 2016.
Emotional tribute: Comedian Patton Oswalt, 51, paid tribute to his late wife, Michelle McNamara, after Golden State Killer, Joseph DeAngelo, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Friday, August 21
It was almost two years to the day after McNamara’s death when police arrested former police officer-turned-serial killer and rapist DeAngelo, now 74, using a genealogy service to connect his DNA to a number of crime scenes.
Oswalt, who had been married to McNamara for about 11 years at the time of her passing, addressed DeAngelo’s long-awaited sentencing on Twitter.
‘The insect gets none of my headspace today,’ he wrote with obvious emotion.
‘I’m thinking of the victims, and the survivors, and the witnesses and crusaders and investigators. And of course Michelle. Go forward in peace, all of you.’
Oswalt also had some harsh words for DeAngelo, who committed at least 13 murders and 50 rapes across California between 1973 and 1986, among other crimes
Decades-long search: DeAngelo, a 74-year-old former police officer, was arrested in April 2018 with the help of a genealogy service that connected his DNA to a number of crime scenes
With the help of crime writer Paul Haynes and investigative journalist Billy Jensen, Oswalt went on to finish his wife’s book. It ended up being published posthumously in 2018 and then debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times’ nonfiction bestsellers list.
It turns out her long and arduous research and writing played a role in police eventually making an arrest.
‘Her book and the article that led to the book really amped up all the interest in the case, and really put a lot of focus on it,’ Oswalt revealed during an appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers after DeAngelo had been detained.
‘It was her dream…She always said, “I don’t care about credit. I want to know that he’s in jail and now he’s caught.” The bracelets are on and it feels like this thing that she wanted so badly is now done. Just feels amazing.’
Before her untimely death in 2016, McNamara spent about 10 years researching the case that culminated with her writing the book — I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
On June 29, 2020, DeAngelo pleaded guilty to multiple counts of murder and kidnapping.
Due to California’s statute of limitations on pre-2017 rape cases, the divorced father of three could not be charged with any of the rapes in the 1970s, but he was charged with 13 related kidnapping and abduction attempts.
As part of a plea bargain, DeAngelo was spared the death penalty.
McNamara’s life and work on the case was showcased in the true-crime, six-part documentary — I’ll Be Gone in the Dark — that premiered on June 28, 2020 on HBO.
It included recordings of McNamara’s own words and excerpts of her book, as well as archival footage, police files, and interviews with survivors.
Passion project: Crime writer Paul Haynes and investigative journalist Billy Jensen helped Oswalt finish his wife’s book on the case, which went on to debut at No. 1 on The New York Times’ nonfiction bestsellers list in 2018; the couple are pictured in December 2011