In my decades long pursuit of investigating mysteries, I have had to shift only in minor ways when tackling new genres. The same investigative method is used of course, the same Rules of Circumstantial Evidence, etc.– just a different object. But when I shifted to Cold Cases I had to adapt. Things just don’t work in the same way logic does in academic pursuit. Well, logic works, but YOU have to learn how to work the system. . . . it is not a malleable system either. . . well, a little. And I think a few just worked it rather righteously.
To my knowledge no jurisdiction has held a special, coordinated news conference over an old, cold case. And, yes, this includes something as popular as ZODIAC. But with last week’s major press conference on The East Area Rapist there was no precedence. When one understands the case, EAR may stack up as worse than other serial killers, but as popularity goes in the mainstream few still know and even less appreciate what an evil marauder he really was.
Only one place can truly appreciate this: Sacramento. More than 30 victims here of his raping, terrorism, sadism, and perhaps even murder. Yes, again, it is true the rapes cannot be prosecuted. The pathway to prosecuting the Maggiore Double Murders may be chancy, but Sacramento took the lead in getting this case more attention. Again, only Sacramento could. I think this is largely due to Ann Marie Shubert, the DA. I do not know her, but I know she is quite passionate about cold cases, and many DAs are not.
For many people, the inclusion of the FBI is hard to figure. The short answer: Brian Maggiore was in the Air Force, and this brings them into play. The arguments over how clear are the clues and evidence that EAR was, of the two men present on La Gloria, the one who shot them are not necessary to go into here. Personally, I believe he was one of them, but legal eagles have their own strict rules to follow. . . . but we aren’t there yet. From an investigative approach, the clues are there that EAR was one of the two on the street. That makes him fair game in an investigation.
Knowing what these rules are, and knowing the pitfalls of trying to work the system, causes one to swell with esteem for what Sacramento and the FBI are now doing.
To appreciate the following I preface that the 3 jurisdictions with a clear path to prosecuting are: Ventura County, Santa Barbara Co., and Orange County. Here EAR turned murderer. DNA proves it was him.
The two composites on the right were the first produced of the two men on La Gloria, suspects in the Maggiore double murder. The first composite is the humanized version of the one that fit EAR’s description.
I turned two persons of interest in to Ventura Co. Homicide last year. A good detective told me what he was going to do. First, he wanted a bit of a dissertation on why I suspected them. I gave it, I gave it, I continued. He cut me off. “I get it!” Then he said he’d run them both through CODIS. I said for one, which I thought could have been one of the two men on La Gloria the night of the double murder, there would be no DNA. It would take investigating up here. He flat out said he wasn’t going to tread in another jurisdiction. And in truth there was little he could do.
Here is the great advantage of the FBI.
True, they are not street investigators. But they don’t need to be. They facilitate. With the FBI adamantly declaring jurisdiction, The Feds are around to cross borders. What Ventura could not do, The FBI can. A person is turned into one jurisdiction, the FBI can contact Sacramento’s field office and the men in blue ties start working here. I didn’t have this last year. I had jurisdictions that remained within themselves. Ventura told me that the task force meets only rarely now (then).
With the FBI involved, the playing field is different and broader. The field offices can collate and cooperate. This was not the way it was before. If EAR is identified, the counties down south will no doubt be given the free passage to take it a step further, but this will not happen as easily without the FBI using its own jurisdiction and field offices to pursue ALL reports of persons of interest across the country.
So one can wonder how much Sac. Co. can really prosecute, or just really if the FBI could get a charge to stick for the Maggiore Double Murders, but as it stands there is reason to believe EAR was one of the two men out there that night so long ago February 2, 1978, and that is legitimate reason to investigate and facilitate the follow through of every lead that comes in.
Remember, more than one original investigator in Sac thought EAR may have had an accomplice, at least on occasion. Two men were certainly seen in relation to the Maggiore Double Murder. EAR had to fence some of the stuff he stole. Who would he have used? On some occasions, just maybe, there may have been someone standing by who perhaps didn’t realize just how much EAR was doing in the house. On some occasions he spent a short time (uncustomarily) in the victim’s house. On these nights, was someone waiting outside for the goods?
. . . But that is for another post.
The FBI’s staunch and public entrance into this case is an enormous sign of progress, and I think all those involved worked the system rightly and with the best of very unprecedented intentions.
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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. “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.