ZODIAC Mistake # 3

It’s really ZODIAC’s No 1 mistake, but I am not going chronologically.  It made me stick to my suspect and follow the trail. My person of interest had a short career in the Air Force. Though he made officer, he was separated under his 4 years at only 1st Lieutenant. He didn’t make Vietnam. He remained for most of his career at Lackland AFB, where wing walkers were the standard issue.

He was separated at the hospital, for reasons I cannot as yet entirely satisfy myself.

But he did have one accomplishment– the small arms EXPERT ribbon. The requirements are outlined thusly:

“Qualification as expert with the pistol (M-9/M-11) requires 41 hits out of 45 rounds on target, with at least 25 hits within a 10-inch circle on the torso of the target and six hits within a six-inch circle on the head of the target.”

This was not his mistake. The mistake was in shooting up Betty Lou Jensen as though she was the torso of a target. Solano County investigators were a little taken aback by the grouping of the bullets in her back. They followed a circular pattern, a grouping one would see in target practice. I won’t show the morgue photo here, but this is an outline someone did on the web.


Considering the one in her heart had to be the last one, The ZODIAC shot in a tight pattern, probably pulling to the right. The result of his nasty little pencil flashlight? Possibly. But it remains essentially a 10 inch grouping as that required in formal military marksmanship training, the grouping also being essential to achieving the small arms Expert ribbon, the highest rank of military marksman.

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For 25 years 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. “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.


3 thoughts on “ZODIAC Mistake # 3

  1. Was your POI ever stationed at Malmstrom AFB in Montana? I ask since at the Lake Berryessa attack, Zodiac told his victims that he was an escaped convict from Deer Lodge, Montana. The Montana State Prison is there, so the Zodiac had enough familiarity with that area to make up a credible lie about it, hence my belief that the Zodiac was stationed at Malmstrom AFB at some point (it’s about a 2 hour drive from Malmstrom to Deer Lodge).


  2. You make a comparison between the a 10″ grouping of shots on Jensen’s back and the Expert Markmanship standard of a grouping within a 10″ circle. What is missing in both cases is the distance from which these shots must be made.

    We really don’t know the distance Jensen was from her killer when these shots were fired. We can say she was far enough away to not leave powder burns, etc… which would indicate that he was probably 6′ or more from her when firing

    Variations in distance could effect how closely the wounds in her back were from one another.

    What was the standard distance for the Air Force markmanship test?

    In your estimation, how far from Jensen was Zodiac when he fired these shots?

    Would his “electric gun sight” have made an inexperienced and inaccurate shooter seem highly skilled?


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