On the morning of December 21st 1968, less than ten hours after the murders, James Owen gave a statement to police indicating that he saw two cars parked alongside each other in the gravel turnout, approximately 10 feet apart - yet despite the gravity of such a major event, as Mike Morford alluded, "likely with chalk outlines on the ground, he failed to mention hearing any shots 9 hours before, when he passed the scene, yet 3 days later on the 24th, Owen suddenly mentions that he heard a shot after he passed the scene, about a quarter mile up the road. Personally, I find it highly unusual that a witness would leave out a detail like that only 9 hours after the crime when it was fresh in his mind, especially a retired military guy like him who you would expect to be more detail oriented". This omission, only to be added on December 24th 1968, having now possibly read the newspapers and headlines surrounding the high profile murders, could now be perceived as embellishment, increasing his profile as a major eyewitness. The distance between both cars in his second statement had now closed to just 3 to 4 feet. Before passing the Lake Herman Road turnout that night, he had approximated the time he left his house in Vallejo, at about 11:00 pm - however, his clock was six minutes fast, so this was revised to 10:54 pm, placing him at the turnout at around 11:14 pm. He saw two vehicles with nobody in or around them in the turnout. Stella Borges passed the turnout at 11:20 pm and saw only the Rambler and the stricken victims, hence the window of time for the killer to strike of approximately 6 minutes.
It is believed that Betty Lou Jensen exited the passenger side of the Rambler first, followed by David Faraday. The young man was shot first, behind his left ear and described as a close contact wound in the police report, with powder burns present by his left ear at autopsy. It is believed at this point that Betty Lou Jensen fled across the turnout, before succumbing to five shots to the right side of her back. However, this timeline presents a problem. The close contact wound inflicted on David Faraday would act as a suppressor, trapping the propellant gases under the skin, and thereby muffling the sound. So if this is the shot James Owen heard, why did he not hear the almost immediate and subsequent five shots aimed at Betty Lou Jensen? This possibly eliminates the shot he heard as being the first one inflicted on Betty Lou Jensen, as James Owen would have likely heard five shots tightly grouped together.
The Zodiac Killer stated in the 'Debut of Zodiac' letter "What I did was tape a small pencel flash light to the barrel of my gun. If you notice, in the center of the beam of light if you aim it at a wall or ceiling you will see a black or darck spot in the center of the circle of light about 3 to 6 inches across. When taped to a gun barrel, the bullet will strike in the center of the black dot in the light. All I had to do was spray them as if it was a water hose; there was no need to use the gun sights". If this was the case, it was likely never his intention to just shoot them in their vehicle - which he didn't. And if he ordered them from the car, it is entirely plausible he entered into some form of dialogue. Had the Zodiac Killer shot the couple immediately after they exited the car, how could James Owen have seen two vehicles with nobody in or around them. They must have still been alive at this point in time, but hidden from view. James Owen made the statement on December 21st 1968, referring to the car parked nearest to the road, as "a 1955 or 1956 station wagon, boxy type, neutral color". Is this possible, without seeing the occupants, especially considering Peggy and Homer Your clearly recollect they saw the couple in their Rambler, even describing what they were doing inside the vehicle.
We have come to believe that the Zodiac Killer was right-handed and the detail in the police report appears to back this up.
If we consider the possibility that the Zodiac Killer had hidden the couple from view between the two cars, we can note that the chalk outline of David Faraday is facing south, but his body, the majority of the bullet casings and the final resting place of Betty Lou Jensen are present on the east-west axis, suggesting that once David Faraday was shot, the Zodiac Killer stood still and fired at Betty Lou Jensen as she ran westwards.
It also seemed unnecessary for Zodiac to have ever placed himself so close to David Faraday by choice, considering this was apparently Zodiac's first murders and he was supposedly using a pencil flashlight attached to his weapon to aid his sighting from distance. The obvious choice was to remain at a safe distance, that he exhibited at Blue Rock Springs, Lake Berryessa and the blind shooting at Presidio Heights, where Paul Stine was oblivious to the attack until it was too late.
Had the Zodiac Killer, being right-handed, grabbed David Faraday from behind and placed the gun to his head, the wound would be on Faraday's right ear, not left. This would suggest they were face to face at the time the gun discharged its deadly contents. David Faraday would then naturally try to grab the gun with his left hand and as the Zodiac forced the gun towards David Faraday's head, the class ring became dislodged from his ring finger. In the brief struggle, Zodiac's free hand strikes the right side of David Faraday's face, accounting for the swelling on his right cheek. Of course, any impact with the ground may also be responsible for the swelling, but either way, this melee was brief - and from the moment the couple stood up after being hidden behind the vehicles, to the shot to David Faraday's head, was as little as 30 seconds - the shot James Owen may have heard. At this point the Zodiac Killer's preconceived plans changed. Betty Lou Jensen having little time to react - maybe frozen by fear - now became the target of the Zodiac Killer. After a brief dialogue or taunt from the killer, Betty Lou Jensen was ordered to run, James Owen was now further along Lake Herman Road and the next five shots were beyond audible range. However, if the second statement of James Owen is incorrect, then the events of the Lake Herman Road double murder would be thrown wide open once again.