This crime was committed eight months after the Domingos/Edwards double murder near Gaviota State Park, Santa Barbara and for obvious reasons a connection has been drawn. Both involved young couples, in areas overlooking the sea and the location of the crimes in both cases were strewn with .22 caliber shells, although it was believed not by the same weapon.
These early crimes have always drawn interest from the Zodiac Killer perspective, as the Bay Area murderer's first three attacks involved lone couples in isolated retreats, drawing the obvious comparisons, however here we will take these early attacks, as well as the later crimes at Lake Herman Road, Blue Rock Springs, Lake Berryessa and the final confirmed murder of Paul Stine in Presidio Heights on October 11th 1969, and see if they tell us anything about the Zodiac Killer.
The two double murders from 1963 and 1964, may or may not have been the work of the Northern California murderer but there still may be a pattern at work.
The murders of John and Joyce Swindle was a matter of yards from the seafront, as were the murders of Robert Domingos and Linda Edwards on June 4th 1963. The first confirmed attack by the Zodiac Killer at the Lake Herman Road turnout was only a 9 minute walk to the edge of Lake Herman, approximately 0.4 miles. It has been suggested the Zodiac Killer must have been familiar with the area, due to its remoteness
When the Zodiac Killer contacted the San Francisco Examiner on August 4th 1969 he made reference to the double murder of David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen, stating 'Last Christmass In that epasode the police were wondering how I could shoot + hit my victims in the dark. They did not openly state this, but implied this by saying it was a well lit night + I could see silowets on the horizon. Bullshit that area is srounded by high hills + trees. What I did was tape a small pencel flash light to the barrel of my gun'.
The Zodiac Killers next attack was at Blue Rock Springs, only 3.5 miles northwest of Lake Herman and both crime scenes within a relatively short traveling time to San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait. His final attack on a couple was on the shoreline at Lake Berryessa on September 27th 1969, a marked deviation from the method he employed during his first two crimes, but again, very close to a lake or large body of water. Lake Berryessa is situated approximately 50 miles north of Lake Herman Road, passing numerous areas on the way including the region of Napa, where he placed his call at 1231 Main Street after the attack on Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard, and it is for this reason that suggested he had earmarked this area specifically as his preferred choice of destination.
The early crimes of a serial killer are usually close to home before they extend outwards with growing confidence, but almost always they choose areas they are familiar with. It is with near certainty the Zodiac Killer had frequented Lake Berryessa previously and the location suited him perfectly due to its remoteness and seclusion, particularly advantageous during the dusk hours in September, when the majority of visitors would have packed up for the day, yet still enough light to make his grand entrance visible bedecked in his Zodiac costume.
The point being, that if the Zodiac Killer had lived south of Riverside, in the region of San Diego or Santa Barbara, before moving north to the area of San Francisco, Benicia or Vallejo, one thing tied all five crime scenes - the close proximity of water. Of course this means little on its own until we delve a little deeper and examine the recreation angle. What hobbies or types of leisure activity did the Zodiac Killer engage in that brought him close to these areas.
It is well known that 10.5 size Wing Walker impressions were found at the Lake Berryessa crime, a variant of the Jump Boot, used by military personnel, but ideal for hiking in rough and slippery terrain, with good ankle support. The Zodiac Killer also used a crossed circle logo, employed to maximum effect when he mailed us his Button Letter and Phillips 66 Petroleum Map on June 26th 1970, stating the crosshair was to 'be set to Mag N'. His directional knowledge appeared a little flawed during the commission of his two phone calls, but seemed very precise when he talked about radians and inches along the radians, as well as stating the compass dial on the Phillips Map was to be set to Magnetic North. He seemed very familiar with this concept, despite the fact radians would have meant very little to the general public, unless of course you were a very keen fisherman, hiker or hunter, or all three.
The Silva Sweden AB designed their first compass in 1928, popular for outdoor navigation with many useful features.
In 1950 Silva introduced the 'The Silva Ranger' to North America, and in 1964 'The Silva Ranger Type 15' deluxe compass with adjustable declination, clinometer and quadrant scale became available. This was a popular well constructed compass, however other variations and manafacturers were widely available from hunting, hiking and army surplus stores.
Often good compasses were fitted with a sighting mirror for plotting locations, gradiation scales in inches and millimeters, a magnifying glass, a rotating dial, and more importantly, in conjunction with a map the compass could be used to locate magnetic declination points, that is, the difference between True North and Magnetic North, believed to be approximately 16.5 degrees in 1970 when the Zodiac Killer sent us his Button Letter and Phillips Map. See video.
The Zodiac Killer also stated on August 4th 1969 when he mailed 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'.
A pencil flashlight was a useful tool, not only as the the Zodiac claimed to use as a sighting implement to focus his aim, but a tool that may have been readily available to him already, as it was often used in pursuits such as fishing and hiking. It was ideal to read maps and to manage small fishing tackle, as it could be used hands free, held in the mouth, and it also had the advantage of being lightweight and compact. The proximity of water in all these locations had the added benefit regarding the disposal of his weapon in the immediate aftermath of each crime, if indeed this is what he did.
The Ocean Beach location, the Santa Barbara coastline, particularly in view of the area of the Domingos/Edwards murders, that would barely have been known by somebody unfamiliar with the area, the Lake Herman and Lake Berryessa locations, all frequented by hikers and in particular fishermen, suggested the Zodiac Killer had prior good knowledge of all these areas and had good reason to have visited them all in advance of each murderous attack. They were his comfort zones. They were his areas of familiarity.
Of course the Paul Stine murder was the biggest deviation of all, but Presidio Heights being on the northern extremity of San Francisco, water was never far away. Washington and Cherry Streets were no more than one mile away from the coastline of Marina Boulevard.
The famous Fisherman's Wharf is situated roughly 3 miles east of the Julius Khan Playground and was developed as a tourist attraction in the 1970's and 80's, prior to this being a fishing magnet for Italian migrants. It provided good fishing, that included the now famous Dungeness crab. See on Wikipedia.
To explore the Humble Oil discussion further visit http://www.zodiackillersite.com/viewtopic
To explore the military connection further visit http://www.zodiackillersite.com/viewtopic2