Patton Oswalt Reflects on What the Golden State Killer's Arrest Would Have Meant to His Late Wife Michelle

Shortly after Joseph James DeAngelo's arrest, the actor and comedian appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers

By Elyse Dupre Apr 26, 2018 12:08 PMTags

Less than 24 hours after the Golden State Killer's arrest, Patton Oswalt appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers to discuss how his late wife's book contributed to the arrest and what it would have meant to her.

Michelle McNamara, the deceased spouse of the comedian, was a crime writer who had penned an entire novel about the serial killer, whose real name is Joseph James DeAngelo. The book, titled I'll Be Gone in the Dark, was about three-fourths finished when McNamara unexpectedly died in her sleep in April 2016. Oswalt asked investigative journalist Billy Jensen and lead researcher Paul Haynes to finish the book based on her notes and research.

"I was still neck-deep in grief and suddenly a single father and not sleeping," Oswalt told host Seth Meyers, "but I knew that I wouldn't be able to live and go on with life if this was left undone."

The book was released in February and Oswalt said it "really amped up all the interest in the case and really put a lot of focus on this." Less than two months later, authorities were able to identify a suspect. The killer's arrest seems to provide the actor with a bit of closure. 

"Not to discredit the work that the police and the lab technicians did, but it was her dream," he said. "She always said, ‘I don't care about credit. I want to know that's he 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."

In addition to speaking about the book, Oswalt read a passage from it. 

"One day soon, you'll hear a car pull up to your curb, an engine cut out. You'll hear footsteps coming up your front walk," he said, reading his late wife's work. "The doorbell rings. No side gates are left open. You're long past leaping over a fence. Take one of your hyper, gulping breaths. Clench your teeth. Inch timidly toward the insistent bell. This is how it ends for you."

"'You'll be silent forever, and I'll be gone in the dark,' you threatened a victim once," he continued. "Open the door. Show us your face. Walk into the light."

According to The New York Times, DeAngelo was arrested at his home in Citrus Hieghts, Calif. on Tuesday and charged with six counts of murder. However, the newspaper claims DeAngelo, a former police officer, is thought to have killed at least 12 people, raped at least 45 people and burglarized more than 120 homes during the 1970s and 1980s.

Oswalt alleged there were red flags from early on.

"He quit the police force when he was caught shoplifting a hammer and dog repellant and he would break into house," he said. "Literally, you're shoplifting a hammer—are you shopping at the murder store?"

However, the actor is confident the arrest will help the authorities with more cases.

"Because he's been caught, now they can start linking him to all these others cases,' he said. "There's all this new evidence."

Oswalt admitted he's been on "adrenaline and sleeplessness" since hearing about the news. Shortly after word of the arrest spread, he took to social media to post about it. In one Instagram video, he stated, "I think you got him, Michelle."


Watch the video to see his interview with Meyers.

(E! and NBC are both part of NBCUniversal).

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