Michelle McNamara was working on a book about the Golden State Killer's crime spree when she died unexpectedly in her sleep in April 2016

By Gabrielle Chung
August 21, 2020 07:53 PM
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Michelle McNamara and Patton Oswalt
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Patton Oswalt is paying tribute to his late wife Michelle McNamara after Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo — whose crimes she was tirelessly investigating at the time of her death — was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

On Friday, the 51-year-old comedian shared two photos of McNamara on his Twitter following DeAngelo's long-awaited sentencing, writing, "The insect gets none of my headspace today. 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," he added.

Oswalt, who has since remarried with Meredith Salenger in 2017, was married to McNamara when she died unexpectedly in her sleep in April 2016 at age 46 from a combination of prescription medications and an undiagnosed heart condition. The couple shared daughter Alice, 11.

At the time of her death, McNamara was trying to uncover the identity of the Golden State Killer while writing a book about his horrific rape and murder spree that terrorized Californians in the 1970s and '80s.

The book, titled I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, was published posthumously and became a no. 1 New York Times bestseller. Earlier this year, HBO premiered a docuseries of the same name based on McNamara's work.

RELATED VIDEO: Patton Oswalt Shares What the HBO Docuseries 'I'll Be Gone in the Dark' Would Mean to Late Wife

“Michelle was a mother, she was a wife, she was a sister, and a daughter, and that she has also become a superhero for many in terms of her commitment to solving unsolved crimes,” I’ll Be Gone in the Dark director Liz Garbus told PEOPLE in July. “I guess I wish she could have made that balance, of work, and life, and the pressures that she put on herself to solve the case. I wish that she would have had a smoother time with that. And I think a lot of women can relate to those competing pressures.”

“We worked with Patton over the course of a year-and-a-half, and I think grief goes through different stages," Garbus said of the series' production process. "And I even saw him being able to talk about stuff over that period of time that would have been harder at the beginning. So I guess he went on his own journey alongside us.”

DeAngelo, 74, was arrested in 2018 after law enforcement compared the Golden State Killer's DNA found at one of the crime scenes to the genetic profiles publicly available via a genealogical website.

Joseph James DeAngelo
Randy Pench/Sacramento Bee/Tribune News Service via Getty

After pleading guilty in June to the 13 murders and other crimes, the former police officer and mechanic was sentenced to 11 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole — plus another life sentence and an additional 8 years — by a Sacramento judge on Friday.

Before his sentencing, DeAngelo briefly spoke to the crowd of law enforcement, district attorneys, rape victims and family members of his victims.

"I’ve listened to all your statements, each one of them," he said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "And I’m truly sorry to everyone I’ve hurt."