Author of I’ll Be Gone In The Dark Michelle McNamara’s widower Patton Oswalt responded to Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., more commonly known as the Golden State Killer, pleading guilty to over a dozen felony charges in order to avoid the death penalty and be sentenced to life in prison on Monday. In addition to this, DeAngelo waved his appellate rights and will have to pay restitution to his victims in an amount that has yet to be determined. 

Oswalt tweeted, “The most important people at the #GoldenStateKiller hearing today are the survivors. All present, all staring directly at that zilch of a human being, and he can’t return their gaze. That’s what I’m focusing on.”

The court hearing was held in a Sacramento State ballroom in order to abide by California’s social distancing rules due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to Oswalt, survivors and victim’s family members from DeAngelo’s cruelty were also present. 

McNamara had died in April 2016 and is known for coining DeAngelo’s nickname of Garden State Killer in both her novel and her blog about his crimes. McNamara had died before her book was published and before DeAngelo was arrested in April 2018.

Although there is some debate over the matter, many believe that the reason police were able to catch DeAngelo was because of all the research that McNamara had conducted. One Twitter user wrote, “NO? I’ll Be Gone In The Dark didn’t help? GTFOn #GoldenStateKiller @pattonoswalt YES, it did!”

To this Oswalt responded, “It did, but #MichelleMcNamaradidn’t care about getting any shine on herself. She cared about the #GoldenStateKiller being behind bars and the victims getting some relief. She was Marge Gunderson in FARGO, not Chilton in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.”

McNamara’s life and novel are now the subject to a 6–part HBO series titled I’ll Be Gone In The Dark after her book.