'I'll Be Gone in the Dark': Where is the Golden State Killer Now?

I'll Be Gone in the Dark has been airing over the past few weeks on HBO, with the true-crime documentary series spooling out the story of writer Michelle McNamara and her consuming hunt for the so-called 'Golden State Killer'. McNamara died of an accidental overdose in April 2016, however, meaning that she never got to see the biggest developments in the case that had so obsessed her.

The HBO show so far has seen a progression of the perpetrator's crimes, and the names that he has gone by changing as his misdeeds gradually worsened.

First coming to the police's attention as serial burglar 'the Visalia Ransacker,' he then became known as the 'East Area Rapist,' before he started committing murders and gained the monicker 'Night Stalker'/'Original Night Stalker.' Eventually, however, the police realized these were all the same person and he became known to police under the very uncatchy title of 'EARONS' (East Area Rapist Original Night Stalker).

However, in an attempt to gain publicity around his crimes and try to find him, McNamara coined the name Golden State Killer for the then unidentified murderer. However, in the years since her death, this killer has been named and is in the process of being brought to justice.

golden state killer trial
Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. pleads guilty to multiple crimes after being identified as the 'Golden State Killer' Getty

Just a few months after McNamara died accidentally, traction began to develop in the case. In June 2016, two months after McNamara's death, the FBI held a press conference to announce a $50,000 reward for the capture of the Golden State Killer.

The book version of I'll Be Gone in the Dark was published in February 2018 after McNamara's partner Patton Oswalt assembled all of her work about the killer. Just under two months after this date, police charged 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. with eight counts of murder, and the Golden State Killer finally had an identity.

Though police denied that McNamara had helped them solve the case, many have credited the writer with keeping attention on the hunt for the killer. As Oswalt wrote on Twitter at the time: "The cops will NEVER and HAVE NEVER credited a writer or journalist for helping them solve a case. But every time they said #GoldenStateKiller they credited the work of #MichelleMcNamara and #IllBeGoneInTheDark."

On June 29, 2020, DeAngelo pled guilty to 13 counts of murder and 13 counts of kidnapping. He was not, however, charged with the rapes due to a plea deal the killer made and the statute of limitations in California.

Though he was not charged with all of his crimes, they were read out in court, with DeAngelo admitting to committing them in front of a number of victims and families of victims.

DeAngelo is currently waiting to be sentenced, which will happen in August. Per Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday, speaking to CNN, he is likely to serve 11 consecutive terms of life without parole along with 15 concurrent life sentences and additional time for weapons charges. He will, however, not receive the death penalty as part of his plea deal, which saw him plead guilty to avoid it.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO.