Michelle McNamara isn't here to see the Golden State Killer be brought to justice, but those closest to the late true crime author are remembering her invaluable contributions to the case.
On Friday, Aug. 21, convicted serial killer and rapist Joseph DeAngelo was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The judge's decision marked the conclusion to a decades-long search for the man who committed at least 13 murders and 50 rapes across California between 1973 and 1986. McNamara dedicated her final years to investigating the case, and her posthumous book, I'll Be Gone in the Dark, inspired the HBO docu-series of the same name.
Comedian Patton Oswalt, who was married to McNamara at the time of her unexpected passing in April 2016, addressed DeAngelo's long-awaited sentencing on Twitter.
"The insect gets none of my headspace today," he wrote. "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."
During today's sentencing hearing, Judge Michael Bowman also acknowledged McNamara as one of the "many heroes" responsible for DeAngelo's capture.
The 74-year-old former police officer and divorced father of three was arrested in April 2018 after investigators used a genealogy service to connect his DNA to crime scenes. In June 2020, DeAngelo plead guilty to 13 counts of murder and 13 counts of kidnapping with robbery to avoid the death penalty.
In an excerpt from her book, titled "Letter to an Old Man," McNamara imagined the moment a then-nameless DeAngelo would finally face his fate.
"One day soon, you'll hear a car pull up to your curb, an engine cut out," she wrote. "You'll hear footsteps coming up your front walk... 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," McNamara penned. "Open the door. Show us your face. Walk into the light."