On The Quester Files section devoted to my investigation of EAR/ONS I have tried to be as objective as possible. But I think we can express some healthy skepticism here regarding a few controversial associations.
The first is whether EAR/ONS truly is the murderer of Brian and Katie Maggiore. The second is whether EAR is even the Ripon Court Shooter.
Personally, I deeply question that he is. Doubt does not come from any particular piece of evidence in either case. It comes from the overall pattern. Doubt certainly exists on my part due to specific clues and evidence, but most of all the nagging feeling I have comes from the big picture. EAR’s crime spree doesn’t appear to have altered in any way after the murders than it appeared before them.
In each attack after the murders, EAR goes through his routine, his laborious routine, in each victims’ home. Nothing indicates he was moving closer to murder. Nothing indicates he was more sadistic.
Yet, yet, on the other hand after EAR most definitely killed Offerman/Manning, his spiral into the ultimate crime is easy to follow. He evolves in very predictable ways. The upshot is that he clearly developed a taste for murder, once he had sampled it.
I do not think he came to Goleta the second time to kill. Rather Offerman challenged him and EAR shot him with the gun he always carried handily. He then summarily dispatched Manning with a single shot to the head and seems to have quickly fled.
After this EAR no longer strikes frequently. Once he struck sometimes 3 or 4 times a month. That pace is over. There is a difference now. Realizing he is committing the ultimate crime, he takes many more precautions. Months worth of precautions between each strike. In the interim he is probably salivating on what he has done and on what he intends to do to the next victim.
From the big picture there is no evidence EAR ever lived in southern California, not in any real way other than a trailer or perhaps part time while there for some form of business.
A few things to consider from the “big picture.” Over the next two years he racks up 9 victims. That’s 9 too many, but the math shows that they are spread over an increasingly larger span of time. Offerman and Manning were killed in December 1979 by gunshot. The next victims perish in March 1980, the next in August 1980, then a huge span to the next victims in February 1981 and then the last in July 1981. These others are all killed by bludgeon, one always found on the property and one which EAR knew was already handy.
From the pattern above, it is obvious there is no monthly striking. EAR carefully, and probably from a long distance, stalks as he is able. He then returns and kills. He strikes in Spring-Summer, late February to March, then in July/August.
Stalking from afar is underscored by the fact he vanishes for 5 years and then strikes his last time in May 1986, just a mile or so from where he had killed an earlier victim. Had he lived in LA that entire time he would have uncovered many other communities that fit his stalking and striking requirements, even incidentally.
But back to the original point here. EAR’s spiral into murder is clear. He begins with the weapon he had with him for protection and intimidation. But thereafter each victims is clearly targeted to die. It is to be a personal death, by bludgeon, after his usual terror rampage through their house. A taste was developed because he had one. He refined his evil palate to a contact form of murder. Silent. Deadly. Gunshots make noise. Bringing a bludgeon is bringing a trail of clues. Taking a bloody bludgeon with you leaves evidence in your car. This is a calculating villain whose only clues until DNA were the overall pattern of his stalking.
Now, if EAR was the Ripon Court Shooter and the Maggiore Double murderer, he certainly had a taste of three spontaneous moments at killing people. In two he had succeeded. Yet nothing changes in EAR’s modus operandi with his rape victims. He goes on completely undisturbed, same pace, same repetitious MO.
In both Ripon Court and with the Maggiore Double murders, a sketch was made of a possible perp. In each case, the young man had his hair parted on the right (and in the case of the Ripon Court Shooter we are not even sure if that sketch really is supposed to be him). But it is a fact that it was a passing but common fad, especially in the area of Del Dayo at that time. This hair fashion for men can easily be appreciated by looking at the Rio Americano 1974 yearbook online. About a third of the graduating class of men have their hair parted on the right.
Drug dealing was also a new amateur past time for some, and certain areas of Rancho and Carmichael were known pass-off areas. Gunfire in an otherwise nice middleclass neighborhood does not necessarily indicate it was EAR.
Second guessing mental changes that may have occurred in EAR gets nowhere, and they presume EAR had moved south, when nothing indicates he permanently relocated. Facts and not bygone mental metaphors are what we must concentrate on. The one fact that encourages belief that EAR had moved down south is that he no longer struck up here in between the murders down south.
It is nevertheless a fact that if EAR shot Rod Miller in February 1977 it did not lead to murder. It is equally a fact that if EAR killed the Maggiores in February 1978, it did not lead to murder of the next victims. It is only after Offerman and Manning in December 1979 that EAR turns murderer, consistent, no variation, no failed attempts. The monthly thrill he needed before is replaced by a caution that sometimes spans 6 months.
This is not the only area where interpretation and theorizing may be blinding to the actual clues. We must look at another in our next EAR 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. “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.