It was a rewarding day for Patton Oswalt after Sacramento police arrested Joseph James DeAngelo in connection with the infamous Golden State Killer case that dates back to the 1970s. Oswalt’s late wife, Michelle McNamara, had been following the case for years and was writing the book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer when she died in 2016. Oswalt and others helped finish the book, which was published earlier this year and quickly went to the top of the New York Times bestseller list.
On Late Night with Seth Meyers, Oswalt read a portion of the Afterword, “A Letter to an Old Man,” which McNamara wrote to the killer. It described the authorities’ catching up to him, something she hoped would happen in real life. On Wednesday, it seemed that those words had come true.
A Letter to an Old Man
Oswalt read, “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, like they did for Edward Wayne Edwards 29 years after he killed Timothy Hack and Kelly Drew in Sullivan, Wisconsin, like they did for Kenneth Lee Hicks 30 years after he killed Laura Billingsley in Aloha, Oregon. 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. Open the door, show us your face, walk into the light.”
Oswalt added, “And that’s what he did today.”
McNamara coined the term “Golden State Killer,” and many people credit her for renewing interest in the case. But Oswalt made it clear that his late wife didn’t want credit, she only wanted justice. He told Meyers, “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.”
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