Patton Oswalt was supposed to talk about his new series, A.P. Bio, on Late Night with Seth Meyers Wednesday night—but, as sometimes happens, a breaking-news event brought up something far more pressing. Police have arrested the man they believe to be the Golden State Killer—the subject of Ill Be Gone in the Dark, the best-selling true-crime account by Oswalts late wife, journalist Michelle McNamara. The Golden State Killer was a serial rapist and murderer whose crimes terrorized California in the 70s and 80s. McNamaras book, as Oswalt told Meyers, re-ignited interest in the case. “She always said, I dont care about credit; I want to know that hes in jail,” Oswalt said. “And now hes caught, the bracelets are on, and it feels like this thing that she wanted so badly is now done.”
On Wednesday, Sacramento police arrested former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo, charging him with two counts of murder. McNamara, who died in 2016, certainly generated public interest in the long-unsolved case, though law-enforcement officials have brushed off the notion that her work played a role in DeAngelos arrest. Her inner circle feels differently: as one longtime friend of McNamaras told The Washington Post, “Im going to try not to be angry, but theyre taking all the credit.”
After McNamaras death, Oswalt vowed to make sure that her unfinished book was completed and published. “I knew that I wouldnt be able to live and go on with life if this was left undone,” Oswalt said. McNamaras colleagues Billy Jensen and Paul Haynes helped him achieve that goal. “They were the ones who found a way to finish it and put it together,” Oswalt said. “And now, because [the killer] has been caught, now they can start linking him to all these other cases.”
Oswalt also congratulated McNamara on Wednesday with an Instagram post—a video of himself in which he said, “You did it, Michelle. The cops are never gonna say it, but your book helped get this thing closed.”
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