Fifty years ago a couple were brutally gunned down while fleeing for their lives from a remote beach in Santa Barbara, south of Goleta State Park, situated next to Highway 101 and approximately a five hour drive from Vallejo, California.
The couple were Robert Domingos (18) and Linda Edwards (17), who had on Senior Ditch Day June 4th 1963 decided to go sunbathing on a remote beach, accessed via a decline trail off the main highway, where they left their 1957 Pontiac.
He apparently coerced Linda Edwards to tie the hands of Robert Domingos, but after freeing himself and a possible brief altercation with the assailant, the young couple ran for their lives. Unfortunately it was a brief bid for freedom, as they were cut down by a succession of bullets. The killer then approached the position they fell and finished his cold blooded execution of the defenseless couple.
For reasons known only to the killer, he then proceeded to drag the bodies to a nearby shack, where he placed Linda's body on top of Robert's, cutting open her bathing suit with a knife, before attempting to set fire to a tarpaulin covering on the door of the shack, testified by scorch marks and strewn matches on the floor. Evidence in this crime was carelessly left at the scene, that included spent and unspent ammunition and the cut lengths of rope, by all accounts an excess required for the binding of two victims. This may have been the case during the Lake Berryessa Attack, if we believe that the unidentified mystery man that stood viewing the three girls sunbathing prior to the attack on Cecilia Shepard and Bryan Hartnell, was indeed the Zodiac Killer and had no predetermined number of victims in mind.
Interesting though was the unspent ammunition - 22 Caliber Western Super X long rifle.
The murders of Robert Domingos and Linda Edwards have not widely been accepted as Zodiac Killer victims, probably due to the time period and location, however, many parallels exist between this case and the Zodiac Killer attack at Lake Berryessa. They were a lone couple on a remote beach, approached from above with a gun, the killer had prepared lengths of rope, he was in possession of a knife, robbery and a sexual motive was not the overriding factor, and a military connection was a real possibility. The murders of John Franklin Hood (24) and Sandra Garcia (20) on Saturday 21st February 1970, approximately 28 miles south, near Santa Barbara Cemetery also showed similar hallmarks to the above cases.
The Zodiac Killer may have twice previously indicated that the Lake Herman Road double murder may not have been his first brutal crime, stating in the Los Angeles Times Letter mailed on March 13th 1971 "I do have to give them credit for stumbling across my riverside activity, but they are only finding the easy ones, there are a hell of a lot more down there." and on the typed Confession Letter mailed on November 29th 1966 he boasted "She is not the first and will not be the last."
To view five interesting videos, extensively covering the Domingos/Edwards case click here.