Premiered on June 28, 2020, on HBO, I’ll Be Gone In The Dark is an American true crime documentary series directed by Liz Garbus, Elizabeth Wolff, Josh Koury, and Myles Kane.
It revolves around Michelle McNamara as she writes a book about and investigates the Golden State Killer, more often known as EAR/ONS (East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker.) As episodes progressed, we finally have reached the end of the story. The end of the East Area Rapist
Episode 05: Review
Joseph James DeAngelo
“When you commit a brutal crime and then vanish, what you leave behind isn’t just pain but absence, a great supreme blankness.”
The last episode of I’ll Be Gone In The Dark revealed the truth about the East Area Rapist aka Original Night Stalker aka The Visalia Ransacker. The 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo, or I should say a monster, ultimately pleads guilty.
It’s scary how a former police officer, father to 3 daughters, and a husband could commit such heinous crimes – leaving someone scarred for the rest of their lives. “This pathetic old man is the monster?” Jennifer Carole, the daughter of murder victim Lyman Smith asks.
The episode features a short interview with the serial killer’s family members and former fiancee Bonnie. Yes, it’s the same Bonnie whose name he said while sobbing after raping a woman “I hate you, Bonnie. I hate you,” he said.
“So many of the things we did together, he pushed me toward fear” – Bonnie Colwell
“I refuse to wear the blame for a crazy man so I don’t carry the guilt for that. But, the empathy with the women that were attacked: I can’t turn that off,” Colwell said.
Former Fiancee Bonnie Colwell told in her interview how DeAngelo eventually turned abusive and dangerous and Bonnie didn’t feel safe with him. She eventually had to break her engagement with him since it was becoming a painful burden to carry. She broke it off after refusing to help him cheat in a class. Two weeks later, in the wee hours of the morning, he tapped on her bedroom window, held up a gun, and demanded that she accompany him to Reno so they could marry. Her father intervened and DeAngelo left. Colwell never saw him again.
DeAngelo’s nephew Wes Ryland said in the interview: As a child one day he woke up at midnight and saw a man in a ski mask who told him to go back to sleep in a hoarse voice. Ryland’s childhood home was in Rancho Cordova, very close to a number of the attacks, causing Ryland to have the horrifying notion that perhaps his uncle used the house as a safe haven to evade capture. He says it feels weird to know that someone you have known your entire life could have done this.
He also talks about her mother, DeAngelo’s sister, who was raped by two men while DeAngelo’s family lived in Germany. She was 7. DeAngelo witnessed the assault. “The very thing that happened to my mother is the very thing my uncle did to other women,” he said.
Liza Ortiz in her interview said that she can never digest the fact that the man she considered a surrogate father, the one who taught her to drive and shoot a gun, the one she has some of her best memories with is a rapist, a killer and a ransacker. She wrote him a letter after he was arrested a part of which said “You were a good dad. That is the one thing I know to be true,” it reads in part. “I hope you did care about me because my heart is forever broken.”
By the end of the episode, a card notes that in June 2020, DeAngelo pleaded guilty to 26 charges, including 13 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of kidnapping. He also confessed to all of the East Area Rapist attacks. In exchange for his guilty pleas, he received 11 consecutive life sentences.
Watch Episode 6 of I’ll Be Gone In The Dark here.