Lake Herman Rd Timeline- Taken from the Reports
The timeline of events for 12/20/68 on Lake Herman Rd is an interesting one, and includes some questionable details. One thing is sure, for being a dark, cold night on a quiet, lonely road, there seem to have been a good amount of witnesses and cars at and around the crime scene.
An examination of the timeline is in order, but I will not attempt to ‘discredit’ ANY of the witnesses, but will merely point out the approximate established times as taken from the reports, as well as details included therein.
The first, and perhaps most interesting witness, was William Crow.
At aprox 9:30 to 10:00, Crow and his Girlfriend claim that they were parked on that very spot where Faraday & Jensen would be murdered a little over an hour later. There were no other cars parked there. Crow claims that while parked at the spot checking out his girlfriend’s new car, a blue car, possibly a Valient, passed them coming from Benicia to Vallejo, and then suddenly stopped in the road and started to back up. Crow, sensing danger, quickly pulled out, and the other car followed them at a high speed before Crow was able to quickly turn off, losing the blue car behind them. The car that chased Crow apparently contained two white males.
PEGGY & HOMER YOUR-
At aprox 11:00 pm, Mr & Mrs Your passed the crime scene while out checking pipes for her Husband’s job. As they passed the pump station(the turnout), they saw Faraday’s Rambler, with a ‘boy’ sitting in the driver’s seat, with the ‘girl’ resting on his shoulder, certainly based on what she witnessed, there was no sign of foul play at 11:00pm, just a young couple parked in a quiet area enjoying their time together. Mrs Your went into detail even stating that when her headlights his Dave’s car, Dave put his hands on the steering wheel. It’s obvious that she is providing great detail here, and while Ray Grant would have you believe that the kids were kidnapped earlier, and that Mrs Your was lying, or making these details up, there is ZERO evidence to support Ray’s ‘theory’.
(FRANK GASSER & ROBERT CONNELLY) -
First statement to police on 12/21/68, The hunters claim they hunted until 11:00pm or so, and they noted the time as Connelly had looked at his watch. Time was approximate, and could have been 10:50 or 10:55pm. They stated that it took them about 3-5 minutes to walk to their truck. In his 2nd statement to police, Connelly stated it may have taken up to 10 minutes to walk back to the truck. Connelly stated that they arrived at the truck, and were there about 5 minutes when a car came in and turned around. This car belonged to the Yours.
If we assume that the hunters started walking back to their truck at Connelly’s earliest estimated time of 10:50pm, and it took them 3-10 minutes to get to their truck, they arrived at the truck about 10:53 to 11:00pm. They sat there until approximately 10:58 to 11:05pm, at which time they saw the Yours turn around. They then sat there another 5 minutes or so, until approximately 11:03 to 11:12, before they left.
James Owen estimated that he passed the scene at 11:20pm. Owen estimated that he left his home in Vallejo for work at Humble Oil at about 11pm, heading towards Benicia. Police determined that Owen’s clock was 6 minutes fast, and that he really would have left at about 10:54pm putting him on the scene at about 11:14. In fact, 11:14 appears on one of the sketches, and the sketch shows Owen’s car passing the scene, and shows Faraday’s car in it’s spot, with a 2nd mystery car parked to the right of it, which is what Owen claims he saw as he went by. Owen’s account may perhaps be more important than any other witnesses, as he is the last person to see the Victim’s car prior to it being found at aprox 11:20pm by Stella Borges, along with it’s two occupants, dead on the road beside it. In short, police think that Zodiac killed the two victims between 11:14pm, and 11:20pm, when Borges found the bodies. Also of note, Owen states that he saw no people in the cars, or anywhere around them, which would include two dead bodies on the ground. Police stated that “it takes 19 minutes to travel the distance from his home to the crime scene”, which again, puts him there at 11:14pm.
Stella Borges is the person that found the two victim’s dead, and she is the first person known to be at the crime scene following the last person to pass the scene before the couple was killed.(Owen)
Between Owen, and Borges, their accounts would lead the police to believe there was a tight 6 minute window for zodiac to strike. Borges states that she looked at the clock in her house, and it was 11:10pm. She then left the house driving ‘casually’ over the 2.7 miles until she reached the crime scene. She estimates that she arrived at the scene, 4-5 minutes later, which would be about 11:14-11:15pm.
One thing police did correct was to verify the accuracy of the clocks of the people on Lake Herman Rd that night. Some were found to be off, and police adjusted the times in their statements. It does not appear in the police reports, but James Owen told me that the police had him drive his route from that night while they accompanied him, and if memory serves, they had him do that more than once. Although the police did some things right, there are also some major issues with their investigation. For example, they allowed James Owen to question a potential witness, a co-worker of his, to see if he had driven by the crime scene the night of the murders. In addition, police asked Owen to hand over two rifles that he owned for ballistics testing, but later when they found out a rifle was not used, they never asked him for his handguns for testing.
It simply would take the greatest luck for Zodiac to slip in to the scene without being seen just prior to Owen arriving, and slip out just before Borges finding the bodies, and Owen happens to be there at that time. He should have been properly ruled out as a suspect.