A six-part documentary series based on the late Michelle McNamara’s book about the violent predator she dubbed the Golden State Killer premieres at 10:07 p.m. Sunday evening on HBO.
The premiere comes one day before Joseph James DeAngelo is expected to plead guilty in a Sacramento courtroom to 13 murders, including four in Orange County from 1980-86.
“I’ll Be Gone In The Dark” mixes exclusive original recordings and excerpts from McNamara’s book, read by Oscar-nominated actress Amy Ryan. It also includes extensive archival footage and police files as well as exclusive new interviews with detectives, survivors and relatives of DeAngelo.
Sunday evening’s premiere episode, “Murder Habit,” details how McNamara found a new obsession in 1998 with the East Area Rapist, connects with like-minded sleuths and trades facts, photos and leads.
The episode is directed by Liz Garbus, who directed the 2015 documentary, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” which received an Oscar nomination for best documentary feature and won an Emmy for outstanding documentary or nonfiction special and a Peabody Award.
McNamara died April 21, 2016 at age 46 from an accidental overdose of multiple prescription medications. Her widower, comedian Patton Oswalt, and true crime writers Paul Haynes and Billy Jensen completed her book, “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer.” It was published in 2018 and reached The New York Times Best Sellers list.
McNamara’s research on the book was referred to in a motion filed Thursday by Assistant Orange County Public Defender Scott Sanders seeking more evidence in an attempt to overturn the 2008 conviction of Lynn Dean Johnson for the 1985 rape-murder of 19-year-old Bridget Lamon.
Sanders, who uncovered the evidence while looking into confidential informant scandals, alleged sheriff’s officials have a double standard when it comes to releasing evidence in the Golden State Killer case and his defense of Johnson, a 64-year-old convicted sex offender.
In January 2016, some sheriff’s officials allowed McNamara to walk off with 37 boxes of Golden State Killer evidence, Sanders said. The evidence remained in a playroom she used in her home.
“Instead of taking everything back (after McNamara died), they let it stay with another guy till the end of the year,” who helped finish the book, Sanders told City News Service.