Lake Herman Road and the ZODIAC– 50 years later.

I’m not one for memorials. I think that like the rest of you we want the issue addressed, the perpetrator caught. But remembering David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen has more of a purpose than merely a memorial to 2 teens “sadistically gunned down” 50 years ago December 20, 1968. Knowledge of the details helps us to shed light on just what their killer was really like.

The ZODIAC’s image has become distorted in the years since he murdered them. He has grown to the level of comic strip arch villain. But the murder of these two young kids was anything like that of the great white hunter bagging his game, like he boasted about. He hardly had the guts to take on someone who was ready for him. He even boasted in one of his poison pen pal letters to the Chronicle that there was more glory in killing a cop because a cop could potentially shoot back. ZODIAC only had the guts, if that word can be used, to shoot full of holes unsuspecting teens at petting spots.LHR_-_Betty_Lou_Jensen_and_David_Faraday

Extracting 2 pages from my upcoming HorrorScope from Chapter 2 “Sadistically Gunned” may help to convey to the reader what the crime was really like and what kind of perp could really murder kids in the manner in which they were killed.


Extract Chapter 2 “Sadistically Gunned” by Gian J. Quasar from HorrorScope.

Next morning the lead detective, Sgt. Leslie Lundblad, stood at the gravel turnout. He looked somberly at the bloodstains and white chalk outlines. His features seemed tired, perhaps just resigned to the wave of pointless violence gripping the nation. Lundblad was the old school. His thin hair was salt and pepper. Wearing his dark trench coat and fedora, he was the image of a crime noir detective. But this wasn’t some mob hit scene or sordid gin hall murder. These were two kids. Now the shadows of their presence were large dark, putrid bloodstains, and the white chalk a hollow tracing of where kids died on their first date.

    Russell Butterbach, Lundblad’s partner, looked modern. The thin lapels and tight cut of his dark suit were entirely 1960s. The thin dark tie was perfectly drab and businesslike, a sliver over his white shirt. Hands in the pockets of his narrow pants, he looked about and his eyes pondered the morbid scene more logistically. Despite his gray temples, he was a young detective. Close cut hair and dark-rimmed glasses, he represented the establishment that was, at least locally, growing more and more worried about Haight and the hippies. detLun

    What was left today was only the residue of last night’s carnage. Cold winter sunlight vanquished the cloak of horror, but the black scars of blood trickling from the empty chalk frameworks strangely symbolized life drained away. The crisp breeze from Suisun Bay seemed careless as it gently blew away the chalk, slowly erasing the violation of the rustic innocence of pastoral winter.

  Amidst the klieg lights last night the crime scene was revealed to be full of clues. The Rambler’s doors were all locked except for the front passenger side door, which was found open when the police arrived. There were two bullet holes in the station wagon, both carefully placed in the rear of the vehicle. One had shattered the rear side window; the other was in the roof of the car just above the rim of the rear passenger side door. Ten shots had been fired in all. Eight shell casings peppered over a fairly tight area by the passenger side of the car. One was found on the passenger side floorboard of the front seat; another about 20 feet away from the car. The killer had used only a .22 caliber, a small game or target practice weapon.
     Neither Dave Faraday nor Betty Lou were wearing jackets. Coupled with the location of the shell casings it was thus quite easy to put back the chain of events.   DSC09834
    The petting couple’s attacker had fired a shot through the Rambler’s roof and then through the rear window to force them to come outside. He must have ordered them out the passenger side door. They opened it, letting the warm air rush out. Betty Lou was first out, naturally, then Dave slid over and got out. Facing them was their attacker, close up now pointing the gun at them while they trembled by the open door.
     A couple of clues indicate David challenged the attacker. His class ring was found between the tip of his ring and index finger, barely held into place by both fingers. He had a lump on his cheek, as if he had taken a punch. It seems likely that David, a lightweight wrestler at Vallejo High, had tried to wrestle the gun from his attacker. This is hardly surprising. With two bullet holes in his car, David Faraday must have known what awaited them. The position of his ring, just dangling there, indicates he had clutched and pulled around his assailant’s waist.
     Sadly, he hadn’t succeeded in his struggle. The killer had pulled him to the ground. David lay there on his back, arms locked around the hulk on top of him. The killer fired the .22 into his head. Faraday’s arms fell limp over his head.
     Nothing indicates Betty Lou had tried or had time to help David wrestle the attacker, but she had stood close by. Patches of blood sprinkled the gravel between where she lay and the bumper of the car, so it was easy to follow her trail. Perhaps before he was shot, David yelled at her to run. Perhaps the killer, angrily standing up after shooting Faraday, ordered her to run in order to juice his fun. In any case, she took off.

Sheriff’s car parked in the turnout the day after.

     The killer started pumping bullets into her right away. A single grain of gunpowder had been found embedded in Jensen’s dress by one bullet hole, indicating it was the first bullet fired when she was close enough that a grain of powder could still reach her dress. This hadn’t dropped her. She continued to dash away. With each step she took, the killer squeezed the trigger again and again. He did not chase after her. The shell casings grouped by the car prove he had remained by David Faraday’s body.
     Within the trail of blood from the bumper to where she lay there was found one of the spent bullets. It had gone through her and fallen down as she ran. This bullet was only one of three bullets that had passed through her. One exited the left breast and left a hole in the front of her dress. Another ricocheted through her body and came out at her panty elastic and lodged in her underwear. The other, the one mentioned first, had come out her stomach and fell down into the “blood splattered” path.DSC00749
     In her final moments, she could not have been running anymore. She was found face down, with her feet facing west, the direction to which she had been running. The physics of momentum cannot be violated. If she had been running she would have fallen forward with her feet facing east. Thus at the end she was only staggering, still trying to escape; the killer still shooting her. She had been shot once through the heart. This must have been the last. She fell to her knees and slumped onto her side.
     This is not indulging in the macabre for the sake of it. These are clues to the character of the attacker. The killer got the boy out of the way quickly. The girl was then shot several times until she fell. He watched, coldly enjoying shooting her as she had fought bitterly to escape, shooting repeatedly, from the beginning to the very end.

No one in Vallejo or Benicia has forgotten. Driving along the quiet rural Lake Herman Road, it is easy to find the turnout where it all began

When pursuing the case of the ‘Zodiac’ Killer one must keep focused on the real villain and not the comic strip alter ego he created in print. He was a pudgy, festering madman who loved to boast of his crimes even more than committing them.

* * *
Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress. 


The Phantom Strikes Again?

It had been a spread of 31 years. The details are fuzzy. The connecting threads thin. But there hasn’t been too many of these type of serials. There’s been the Phantom of Texarkana, the Zodiac, and one other of note. . . . and it is of this one that we have little information. Not to minimize the tragedy, but the Atlanta lovers’ lane serial killer seemed a lackluster serial. He struck over a period of a few months beginning January 16, 1977, around the Adams and West Manor Park areas of Atlanta, Georgia. He crouched next to the cooing victims’ car and fired 6 wadcutters through the window. His first two victims died. His second pair of victims were both wounded. Of his third pair of victims, one survived and one died. He struck between intervals of 28 days on the middle weekend of the months January, February, and March 1977. Then there was no more.

Publicly, all that we know is that a black guy approached and tried to get into the second pair of victims’ car first. They saw him approach, saw him reach for the handle, but the doors were locked and wouldn’t open. He backed up, knelt down and started shooting from the same position as the other victims were and would be shot from.

We have little more than that. Age, we don’t know. Height, weight, all nada.

Back then, due to the psychology of the times, police did not believe that serials continued on or even returned to their crime sprees. But time and some bad experiences have proven that many serials stop, and in one case later tried to recapture the thrill decades later– the case of BTK.

Therefore there is little information if the Atlanta PD checked back to the crimes of the Phantom of Texarkana, Texas. He struck on weekends beginning in February 1946, and continued on weekends in March, April, and May. Then he was gone. A similar murder was committed later in south Florida on October 8, 1946, but this was on a Tuesday. The Fort Lauderdale police did check with Texarkana police in this case.

In neither crime sprees did the victims see much. Only the first two victims of the Phantom survived in Texarkana. They differed as to their attacker’s description. He wore a grain bag over his head, but they saw his hands. The male victim said he believed the attacker was a tanned white guy. The female victim believed the attacker was a light skinned black man. That’s all we have.

Over 40 years have passed since the Atlanta Lovers’ Lane Murders. It is time Atlanta PD released as much information as they have on the cases so that this tragic series of crimes can finally have the light of day they deserve, perhaps the light that can finally lead to the solution.

* * *
Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

The 2 Fingers of ZODIAC

As anyone who has followed the case of the ‘Zodiac’ Killer knows, Sherwood Morrill, then Questioned Documents Examiner in Sacramento, said that ZODIAC’s hand printing was so distinctive that he could identify it merely from a bank deposit slip.

After 50 years, it is not as easy as that. Much as happened since then. Let’s touch on a couple of points. Morrill3

The case of the ‘Zodiac’ Killer may with retrospect seem so clear, but contemporarily it was not. Few believed that ZODIAC, the letter writer, and the killer were one and the same at the end of the summer of 1969. Jack Stiltz, the Chief of Police of Vallejo, was notably publicly skeptical. Within this context we can understand why ZODIAC reemerges after his break to write on the car door of his victims at Lake Berryessa on September  27, 1969. It is proof. Here there is no question that the letter writer and the killer were both at the scene of the crime.

It is often overlooked today, indeed perhaps just forgotten, that The ZODIAC was by no means considered the same as the killer until his writing on the car door of the Karmen Ghia confirmed he and the letter writer were the same.

The skepticism was over because, once again, ZODIAC’s printing was so distinctive it was apparent to all merely by looking at the car door. It is unquestionably the same printing as on the nasty poison pen letters to the S.F. Chronicle.

The car door negated the theory that ZODIAC used any kind of fancy method of disguising his printing at his desk or table or upon whatever surface he wrote his horrid missives.

But. . . RedPhantomBody-July-8-1974

Since Lake Berryessa and Morrill’s confidence, a letter was received– the notorious Red Phantom Letter of 1974. It is believed to be from ZODIAC– the envelope’s address’ printing confirms it more than the printing on the card inside. The printing on the card is somewhat different, however, than the usual ZODIAC schrift! Not only does the perfect grammar and spelling prove that ZODIAC went way out of his way to sound like an uneducated punk in his earlier letters, to some extent it did show he could disguise his printing . . .disturbingly even on the side door of a car.

Of course, even earlier than this it was evident ZODIAC was capable of careful printing– the letter to Melvin Belli on December 20, 1969. Averaging all 3 styles, I would imagine that the Red Phantom Letter comes closest to the casual scribbles of ZODIAC. Careful printing seldom reflects how any of us naturally write, so forget the Bell Letter style. The slanted scribble– i.e. his usual– probably won’t be blatantly noticeable in his casual, daily printing. In going over 50 year old hand printing, I have kept all this in mind.

We must remember one other fact . . .

The ZODIAC knew, of course, that printing was the only evidence that could lead to him. He couldn’t foresee DNA from stamps, and we don’t really know as yet whether he licked those at all. He shot people, taken by surprise, and this left no evidence but shell casings and bullets. He stabbed a pair, but this left no traceable evidence.

SFPD has insisted they have his bloody fingerprints lifted from Paul Stine’s cab, but the other jurisdictions doubt these are truly his prints and not contamination by bystanders.

From the Red Phantom Letter  I have operated on the assumption that he disguised his printing– I will find no “r” that is like a dash, no slanted “d,” no bad grammar, no misspellings.

For 6 years I have sought this from one man, and hopefully soon it will be over. But this article does give you an idea of how hard it could be to identify ZODIAC’s printing, especially 50 years after-the-fact. ZODIAC was a strange amalgam between careful gameplaying and clumsy perpetration. After 50 years it is the gameplaying side of ZODIAC’s murder spree one must deal with. Here he was very clever.

* * *
Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

HorrorScope–2019– The Crimes and Seasons of the Zodiac Killer

HorrorScope has been delayed more than once, and I’m sorry I get people frustrated with delays, but I am adamant that I have a contemporary sample of “Beard’s” hand printing before the announcement is officially made that the Zodiac Killer has been identified.  There is family involved, and there are several other reasons in addition to this why it is necessary to have contemporary hand printing.

It will be shared here first, with more in HorrorScope plus other contemporary pics of ZODIAC. Please be patient. Despite all the hype of DNA, there is none in perpetration from The Zodiac Killer. Even if it is lifted from stamps, it is not in perpetration. Hand printing, once again, is in perpetration. Obtaining a sample is truly a necessity for more than just presentation purposes.  

Soon it will be 50 years since ZODIAC officially started his crime spree on December 20, 1968.  None of my delays have been designed to dovetail on that. Since 2012 I’ve stalked the same individual until finally enough evidence fingered him. I’ve wanted this out of the way years ago. But ultimately, you’d be surprised how hard it is to get hand printing from 50 years ago. 

Soon . . . fingers crossed.

* * *
Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

Unloathed Villains. . .

“Unsung” didn’t seem appropriate for the subjects of this blog post, so I think “unloathed” can take its place. These are the villains of gross crimes that we have forgotten about. For whatever reason the crimes never remained within the public consciousness. Either there wasn’t enough evidence to confirm a serial killer was responsible, or, sadly, the MO was so common that the details of the murders weren’t really that newsworthy.

Let’s have a look at what awaits us in the cold case files.

Home invasion strangulation.

Surprisingly, there are more of these than you might imagine. And they are spread out over the whole country. But there are some occurring in California that may be the result of a traveling serial killer. Some killers do travel extensively. The victim is a woman home alone, of course. There is evidence of some thievery, not much, or none at all. Rape may have happened first. The home invasion murders which have never been connected can be divided between strangulation and bludgeoning. Of the two the former has the best chance to be solved. If the evidence was maintained, then touch DNA can possibly be retrieved. Otherwise it is the old bulldog method of the ferret cells.

Strangulation is a cool, that is not heated, way to knock off a victim. Close contact– prolonged, tactile. It is a particularly vicious way to murder. There is a chance to catch these creeps. A number of murders from the 1980s have caught my attention and I will begin to introduce them in following blog posts.


There is the ubiquitous method of disposal– dumping a body in the woods or off a rural roadside in the boonies. A variation of this method should attract our attention.  There are a number of cases of young girls whose bodies were found dumped off rural roads . . . but the uniqueness here involved forensic evidence indicating they had been poisoned first.  The first happening of this in California was actually a facet of the Sonoma Coed Murders in the early 1970s. But there was evidence in that horrid case that two killers were simultaneously afoot with no connection to each other. The poisoned girls were much younger and did not show the telltale signs of the actual Coed Killer (bondage fetishes). In the late 1970s this unique MO moved south to the San Diego area.

There is a lot from the late 1970s and 1980s in San Diego that has captured my attention, and some of it may winnow down to a single serial remarkably similar to the East Area Rapist.

The Case of the Statewide Stalker

For a while I grew up in El Cajon and Bonita– I learned to drive down in SD in the decadent ’80s. I know the areas firsthand and I know the era. San Diego was a party town. It was affluent– the capital per capita in the 1980s of BMW, Mercedes, and Ferraris. San Diego is the center for all the suburbs. Even radio stations based in the suburbs will announce themselves as El Cajon, San Diego (or Chula Vista, National City, take your pick) rather than El Cajon or La Mesa, California. It was a city that coveted its reputation as “America’s finest city.” The news didn’t like to disturb that image. The idea of the Satan Crescent coming down from the LA area to Fallbrook was not mentioned. Few knew that San Diego PD had an “occult squad” for investigating church ransackings, road kills, and reports of occult powwows in houses.

Behind-the-scenes of the idyllic there was much mystery and tragedy.

As my series of posts on the potential of “2 EARs” has indicated, there is most likely the existence of another perp whose MO was starkly similar to the one used by the accused J.J. DeAngelo. You might call him the hairier EAR. The evidence was so clear that it naturally inspired confusing theories about accomplices, etc, but these seldom became public. Those behind-the-scenes like me kept quiet and sought another perp. He was only a probability. The Original Night Stalker clouded his image and he in turn hampered all those trying to identify the ONS.

The great interest that the EAR/ONS case created allowed the release of much information on suspect sketches and home invasion attempts. Within this massive dossier it became apparent, just from location, POI sketches, and eventually the details in murders, that there was another home invader who hit corner houses. With the arrest of DeAngelo, we are left with the residue of this evidence, and this helps hone the appearance of this other “unloathed” villain– the Statewide Stalker.

This creep I now pursue, now free of the confusing bits of clues and evidence which the Original Night Stalker’s crime spree added to the mix. There is consistency in MO and even appearances some times. The first part of the chase is the hardest– establishing that these crimes can be connected.

There is only one thing harder than solving a serial killing and that is to prove there is a serial killer afoot, especially hard 40 years after-the-fact, and when the MO was not starkly unique.

“He” broke into corner houses, stalked, no doubt raped, and turned to murder in the 1980s as well. If he struck in other states I do not know yet. I place “he” in quotes not because I think it might have been a woman but because as it stands there is no concrete proof all the crimes were done by a single serial. I will be introducing the cases here and on Q Files and note what may link them together.

* * *
Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

Wigging EAR–

Sketches and accounts taken from eyewitnesses of a perp in perpetration are, based on the context, considered of higher value than those descriptions of a “suspicious” person seen in the general vicinity of a crime before-the-fact.

Although there are plenty of the latter kind of sketches and descriptions concerning the crime spree of the East Area Rapist, there are a few of him in perpetration. These will be considered here in light of this series of posts entertaining the clues there was more than one East Area Rapist initially.

The actions of EAR were usually so identical in the house of each victim that along with a physical description the investigators were relatively certain there was a single perp in most of the cases. But the crime spree of EAR is broad and deep. It lasted several years and it covered enormous territory. There is ample reason to suspect that more than one crime event and/or incident in the thick dossier of EAR was erroneously attributed to him because of a similar MO.

This is not without precedence. The recent solution to the Gypsy Hill Murders around San Mateo (1976) revealed there were two unconnected perps with similar MOs– excessive slashing. Ironically, it was a murder in Reno that bore a starkly different MO that helped identify the “Slasher.” Despite the radically different MO, DNA in the Reno case matched the perp in the San Mateo area. Circumstances had caused him to drastically change his MO in Reno, but he had smoked a cigarette and thus left DNA that matched in two of the San Mateo rape/murder cases. Nevertheless, one of the Gypsy Hill Murders was committed by another perp who used a similar MO as the one commonly used by the “Slasher.” DNA was able to distinguish him, and he too was arrested. Until that time all the Gypsy Hill Murders were considered connected, and there was no connection considered in the Reno case because it was distant and very different. The wonders of DNA!

Unfortunately, we have no DNA in the Sacramento EAR cases– about 30 cases bearing a similar MO but no easy scientific way to dissect if there is more than one perp. We have at best the radically different but consistently different description of the amount and color of hair on the perps’ arms and legs– light and sparse on one and thick and dark on the other.

On a few occasions, there is the description of longer head hair– collar length. It does with the perp that has the light hair on arms and legs. This last trait alone matches the accused J.J. DeAngelo. Yet he was a police officer with a short haircut. As such we must proceed on the assumption he used a wig, at least in a couple of cases. This article will delve into the paradoxes involved in trying to collate the evidence.

To begin:

The Ripon Court Shooter. He was seen in perpetration, February 17, 1978. He was a particularly violent swine who shot a youth (Rod Miller) for chasing him across the street from their backyard. The girl of the family fit as a type EAR liked to rape. The sketches below were based on this perp from the eyewitnesses– Rod and his father Ray.

The problem with using the Ripon Court Shooter to I.D. EAR is that he was only suspected of having been EAR. He was a prowler lurking in the backyard. No more until he shot young Rod in order to escape.

If this was J.J. DeAngelo obviously he had to be wearing a wig.  And the identikit of the Ripon Court Shooter does appear a bit like DeAngelo. He was a photographic chameleon. A slightly different angle and he looked like another person. He did not have a hooked nose, but can appear to have one in some photos.DeAngelo-cop2

I would like it to be as easy as that. I would like to move on and simply believe DeAngelo wore a wig. However, more things come into play here.

Not long before the arrest and charging of J.J. DeAngelo the SSD dug up an old 1973 case in Rancho Cordova.  This incident happened 3 years before EAR had started his crime spree. The perp was aggressive and violent. The sketch taken here from the victim revealed a remarkably similar perpetrator to Ripon Court. It is highly unlikely this perp could have been DeAngelo who was a police officer now about 4 hours away in Exeter, California, near Visalia.

Please see The Sarda Way Incident

The similarity and to an extent the MO is striking. Such a prowler was also afoot within the week before the EAR attack Nos.29/30 on College View Way. When did DeAngelo have time to do door-to-door daytime prowling? And wearing a wig in daytime might look obvious.

Sarda Way Suspect-adjusted

This isn’t enough to declare the Ripon Court Shooter was another perp, the same jacket job who was afoot in 1973. DeAngelo was around the East Area yet at a relative distance in Auburn in the foothills during the Ripon Court Shooting. For DeAngelo to be the Ripon Court Shooter, once again, he must have been wearing a wig. Therefore the Sarda Way perp was somebody else– a violent and uncouth home invader that looked similar.

However, it is also not that easy. A perp believed to be EAR was described in perpetration at Victim 17, and she saw his dark blond hair sticking out under the brim of his ski mask. This matches the shoulder length or collar length hair often reported in a canvass of victim neighborhoods before-the-fact. This matches the collar-length hair on the Ripon Court identikit. She also saw the light colored and sparse hairs on his legs. DeAngelo had such sparse leg hair.

If this is DeAngelo, why wear a wig in perpetration? In prowling a neighborhood, it is logical. It effectively disguises his strict haircut (not common for the 1970s unless in the military or a cop) and it makes him look younger. But he doesn’t intend to be seen in perpetration. Wearing it as a disguise under a disguise (ski mask) presupposes he believes he will be seen. Why would he start doing that here?

It is a fact that EAR’s face was seen in perpetration for the first time with Victim 15 in March 1977. As a cop, DeAngelo might have known that a sketch was done of what the victim had seen. It shows a man with no hair sticking out under his ski mask. The perp appears to have short hair. Did he fear that if he made a mistake again, he might be seen? EAR-adjusted3

The attack on Victim 17 (April 1977) was only a month after the attack where EAR’s face had finally been seen. Did he wear the wig even under his concealing ski mask just in case he made a mistake and was seen again?  

How then to explain why he already wore a wig in February before his face had been seen in March by Victim 15? There is, as it is obvious, no consistent way to explain the reports of collar length hair as merely a wig to use as a disguise. If DeAngelo is the perp at these crime scenes he wore it off and on for a variety of reasons.

The circumstances of the Maggiore Double murders on February 2, 1978, were so at odds with the MO of EAR that the case was not connected for over 20 years. EAR and hence now DeAngelo is considered a viable culprit in the murders. The sketch here of a “suspicious” man seen retreating down Las Casas Way is that of a short-haired man with a police haircut. It can be argued it is a likeness of DeAngelo. The murder of the couple was never considered premeditated. So if this was done by EAR, we must assume he was only prowling. Obviously, if the sketch purporting to represent DeAngelo/EAR is the murderer then he wore no wig here.image_large-Maggiore suspet

So just when did DeAngelo wear a wig? If he ever did, it was in February 1977 for prowling the Ripon Court area, but not at Victim 15 in March 1977, and then for his attack on Victim 17 in April 1977. So, basically, off and on over a two month period.

The similar MO of the Sarda Way perp and the Ripon Court perp, plus their similar appearance, must be coincidence.

So what is easiest to bring continuity here? Well, just chuck the Ripon Court perp. There’s no skin off the nose in doing so. He’s somebody else. There were a lot of nutcases on the loose in the 1970s. Then how to explain that EAR was seen in perpetration only two months later and he had collar-length dark blond hair? If DeAngelo, a wig is involved. But its use is not consistent nor often. Or this is a case that is very convoluted.

In just this short series we have touched on the clues and evidence which suggest more than one EAR. It is often hard to sort out which is DeAngelo, the accused. One has to opt for explanations rather than deducing them.


* * *
Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

EAR No. 35– The Case of “Mr. Hairy Butt”

I jump ahead to EAR case No. 35 occurring in Davis, Calif, on June 24, 1978. I do so because of the description of the perp and of a “suspicious” person seen before-the-fact.

First, the description of the perp. EAR was here described as having a noticeably hairy backside. The rules of circumstantial evidence, plus scientific method, and hence the criterion of logic, allow us one inference from a set of circumstances that can be established as fact. What can one infer from a hairy backside? Well, I would infer his legs were also hairy. The victims do not report hairy legs, however, at least from what Shelby presents. This is another observation. What can we infer from this? He shaved them.

This inference does not stand alone on the merits of clues at No. 35. There are more observations and classifications that come into play in the greater EAR crime spree from the observations here. At Victim 16, EAR was described as having wide thighs and it felt as if he shaved his legs– to the victim the hair felt “abrasive” like stubble. The EAR with the hairy backside at Victim 35 in Davis on Rivendell Street was also described as having “big thighs.” What do we infer here?

We infer the perp at No. 35 is the same creep at Victim 16. We inferred (in earlier posts) that this perp was the same as at Victim 1 and 7, where the perp was described as having thick, dark (and lots) of hair on his arms and legs. Did he shave those very hairy arms or, at least, legs, before the strike at Victim 16? The question is inductive, of course, but the facts do stand.

I do not know how hairy J.J. DeAngelo’s backside is, naturally, and I am not  particularly eager to find out. He is the accused EAR, but this series of blog posts is designed to examine the possibility there was more than one perpetrator labeled under the East Area Rapist moniker. In the last blog post The Case is Made for 2 EARS I quote one of the original detectives on the case, Richard Shelby, who wrote that around April 1977 he could make a case for two suspects. The attack on No. 16 was April 2 just before he presented this theory to his superior, Lt. Root.

The dividing line between these two suspects always appears to be the amount and color of the hair on arms and legs.

And indeed the abrasive stubble on the perp’s thighs at No. 16 calls attention to that particularly hairy perp at Victim 1 and 7, but not Victim 3, where the perp had little hair on legs and arms. Not stubble. Sparse hair. Soon at Victim 17, April 15, 1977, the victim would also report light hair on the perp’s legs and arms. Not regrown stubble. It was not coarse. His eyes were brown. The perp at Victim 7, the “hairy guy,” had dark-blue eyes.

Descriptions of EAR in action were so thin that Victim 17’s eyewitness account tipped the scales in favor of an EAR with dark blond collar-length hair, with light hair on arms and legs. Shelby still believed in blue eyes, however, because this was supported by ephemeral information. For example, reports of a young, dark blond man had been seen a number of times in victims’ neighborhoods before-the-fact. This had led Shelby and others on the task force to believe EAR was in his early 20s with shoulder-length dark blond hair. When such a guy was seen yet again by a neighbor of Victim 16 (in jogging clothes but acting suspiciously in the neighborhood), Shelby writes that he was sure she saw the face of EAR. This must soon have been reinforced by Victim 17 seeing EAR’s dark blond hair sticking out under his ski mask. This meant collar-length hair once again.

Obviously, no one in the neighborhood of Victim 16 saw EAR at all. A young dark blond guy with blue eyes description doesn’t fit DeAngelo, even if wearing a wig, and it doesn’t fit the alternate hairy EAR at Victim 7. Yet the details gleaned from the victim while EAR was in perpetration inside the house do favor the latter– the “thick, abrasive hair,” as if he had shaved his very hairy legs.

What did this alternate EAR look like? Presumably, he is the one who inspired the original estimation (November 4, 1976) of a perp with shoulder length dark hair. But we don’t know what he looked like.

Seen near 35
Davis sketch, June 1978.

Back to No. 35 now for the sketch. There is a composite from Davis of a “suspicious” person– not in perpetration, so there is some limit to its use. He is a radical contrast to the young, dark blond dude. This composite is of a guy with curly, dark brown hair. Such a description is rare, but it also occurs at another very significant EAR related crime. Because of this other significant sighting it becomes an observation within the greater context of observations of the entire EAR crime spree that must be addressed. Let us touch on this case.

The assault on Victim 35 occurred in June 1978. Earlier that year in February such a man was also seen standing in the shadows of night on West La Loma Drive in Rancho Cordova, behind where a duplex had just suffered an attempted break-in. The neighborhood had also suffered a storm of EAR-type prowling signs, some of a graphic nature. On the night he was seen, February 2, and only 10 minutes after he was seen, Brian and Katie Maggiore would be murdered nearby. The perp’s face was not seen in any circumstance that could be called perpetration because it was too dark for the first witness and the second witness Karl Nollsch saw him with a ski mask concealing his face. We have only the before-the-fact image of a man standing in the shadows with brown, curly hair.

image_large-Maggiore suspet
The features do suggest DeAngelo

A month later a witness came forward and inspired a sketch that is not of a curly-haired man, however, but of a man with a short un-mussed haircut,  and it has been used to connect DeAngelo to the crime. DeAngelo, of course, was a cop with a similar haircut, though he parted his on the right. This short-haired man was seen after-the-fact a couple of blocks away and apparently was the man seen earlier with a gun in his pocket and holding a bundle in his hand which could have been the ski mask he had removed by this time.

For the details, please see The Maggiore Double Murder Case on The Quester Files.

The young jogger was very keen, as you can see from his account– he even noted that although he did not see the dog the Maggiores were walking he did hear the chain. He places this curly-haired man in the shadows, and this was 10 minutes before the Maggiores were murdered. Who was he? He never came forward to explain to the sheriffs why he was there.

Two people never came forward to account for themselves– the man who is the subject of the sketch with the short hair, and this guy with the curly, brown hair.

DeAngelo has been tagged as the guy with the short hair. The DA’s office has no DNA, but they are preparing a case to convict DeAngelo as the Maggiore double murderer. This blog post is neither yay nor nay regarding this. I am only acknowledging some hurdles to convictions.

As with the case of Victim 17, the prosecution is going to have to show that DeAngelo was in a position to make all the hang-up phone calls that had been made to the neighborhood prior to the night of the murder . . .prior to and especially on the night of the murder. The calls came in at 8 PM each night. The last call the night of the murder was also at 8 PM. The break-in on Capitales must have been within 30 minutes of the last 8 PM call. DeAngelo could not have made it from Auburn in that amount of time. DeAngelo would need a local lair, not just for this night but for all the others. One can say DeAngelo called from a phone booth, but these calls had been happening over weeks if not months.

Please see Moments in Crime

During this well-documented prowling glut, “EAR” struck in Stockton (No. 23), No. 24 (La Riviera), No. 25 (Foothill Farms), No. 26 (Carmichael), No. 27 (La Riviera), No. 28 (Foothill Farms), Nos. 29/30 (Carmichael), most of these cases noteworthy for being hell and gone from previous comfort zones. Nos. 29/30 (January 28, 1978) were only a few days before February 2, 1978, the night the Magiorres died.

When did a married fulltime cop living in Auburn have the time to do all of this?

The prosecution must account for why one witness saw a revolver in the back pocket of a man fleeing the scene (though on another street) when EAR was known to have used a shoulder holster on occasions. Indeed, as a cop DeAngelo would have had a number of holsters and would have been completely safe wearing one casually for his off duty weapon.   

The man with curly hair was seen behind the area where the duplex had received the attempted break-in. He was in the bushes under the tree. Then 10 minutes later the murders occur. They did not occur in a random area of the neighborhood. The confrontation between Brian Maggiore and his killer took place in front of the house on La Gloria that had received the last hang-up call that night. It would seem likely that after the failed break-in the perp went to his next target. The curly-haired guy’s position on West La Loma fits with where the perp would need to be if moving from Capitales to La Gloria. He waits in the shadows until the people walking the dog pass.

The prosecution must especially account for this curly man in the bushes and why the night of the crime he was described quite differently than the sketch of the supposed perp made a month later.

The prosecution must also account for the growing evidence there was another EAR. DeAngelo has been thought guilty of being the Maggiore killer because he is believed to be the sole East Area Rapist, and the EAR has been believed to be the killer. But this belief came more than 20 years after the crime. EAR was never linked back then. This is a sore point. The possibility of two home invasion rapists/thieves using similar MOs is more than a little problem. Here another man is seen on the night of the murders who matches a “suspicious” person seen at another EAR crime. It’s not just a random unidentified man. This other EAR case (No. 35) is where the perp is described once again as “hairy”– the dividing line that sets apart two perps.

This other case (35) wasn’t nearby so that it might be the same innocent bystander. It was in another town 40 minutes away.

The idea that the perp did have a local lair in Rancho in order to make the phone calls does favor the short-haired man being the perp– the sketch claimed to represent DeAngelo. DeAngelo had connections to Moraine Circle and it was to this location where the short-hair man on foot was seen to be retreating. The assailant at EAR Victim 8 on nearby Los Palos seemed to do the same thing as much as 1.5 years earlier. Is this enough to confirm the short-hair man as the killer?

The dark brown curly-haired man is going to have to be explained in relation to the Maggiores, the break-in, and DeAngelo’s schedule will have to be proved to permit the phone calls and the excessive stalking in Cordova Meadows over the same period EAR was prowling over the East Area and Stockton and committing attacks 23-30.

There is also the problem of prowling inconsistencies. It comes down to wigs and no wigs. We must look at this in our next post.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.