With just a cursory glance at the police report, it becomes immediately apparent that if we take it at face value, either the eyewitness recollections are incorrect, or a strange sequence of events occurred that night, heaping more suspicion onto the white Chevrolet Impala than ever before. Raymond Grant has emphasized these points in his book 'Zodiac Killer Solved,' and whether you agree or disagree with his overall take on the Zodiac murders, he does make some incredibly insightful and valuable points. Firstly we will focus on the white Chevrolet Impala and take the initial eyewitness testimony at face value.
Bingo Wesner, a local sheepherder, also stated in the police report "he was checking his sheep at approximately 10.00 pm and he observed a white Chevrolet Impala Sedan parked by the south fence of the entrance to the pumping station. He also observed a red Ford pick-up truck with wood side boards in the area."
Instantly we see, that despite the police report stating these two coincide, there is a one hour discrepancy. Raymond Grant believes that Robert Connelly's estimate of 9.00 pm is out by one hour, it should be 10.00 pm, and the facts bear this out.
If the white Chevrolet Impala had parked in the turnout just prior to 9.00 pm, and had remained there throughout until 10.00 pm, then the account of William Crow is patently false. He stated in the police report that "He and his girlfriend were in the Lake Herman Road area between 9.30 pm and 10.00 pm on 12/20/68. He was driving his girlfriend's sports car and he was testing it out and adjusting the motor. He was parked in the open area by the pump station and he observed a blue car, possibly a Valiant coming down the road from Benicia towards Vallejo. They passed his location, stopped in the middle of the road and he saw the white lights of the reverse come on and the car started backing up towards them. Mr Crow put the car in gear and took off at a high rate of speed and the car followed him at a high rate of speed. They did not attempt to gain on him, but when they got to the turn off towards Benicia, William Crow turned towards Benicia and the other car went straight ahead. The subjects were both Caucasians and there is no further identification on the car or the subjects." If the white Chevrolet Impala was there, then clearly William Crow based on this account failed to notice it for upwards of 30 minutes, and considering he was parked in the turnout, that doesn't seem likely.
This being the case, it highlights the significance of a white Chevrolet Impala circulating the area in and around the turnout that night. If Robert Connelly's recollection of a white Chevrolet Impala being present in the turnout at 9.00 pm was correct, which appears unlikely, then the Chevrolet Impala would have parked in the turnout sometime prior to 9.00 pm, leaving at some point before William Crow arrived at 9.30 pm. It would then return, spot William Crow and his girlfriend just before 10.00 pm, chase them down the road, before returning to the turnout and being spotted by Bingo Wesner at 10.00 pm. But on both occasions, just prior to 9.00 pm and 10.00 pm, the occupants of the white Chevrolet Impala would had to have vacated their vehicle, because Robert Connelly and Bingo Wesner implicitly stated the vehicle was unoccupied.
If the Chevrolet Impala contained our killer or killers, then it could be argued they were coasting the area by foot and by car, searching for victims by whatever means. Raymond Grant highlights this important period of time in 'Zodiac Killer Solved', involving a 'holding area'. I won't elaborate on his explanation, as it wouldn't be fair to reveal potent sections of his book without permission. If he chooses, he can outline his ideas in the comments section below. However it does address this critical timeline of events.
This above example of the timeline appears extremely convoluted, and the police report "information from Bingo Wesner that when he came out of the gate at 10.00 pm he saw the same Impala and also saw the red pick-up truck go by," makes much more sense, bearing in mind William Crow's testimony of a light colored Chevrolet chasing him down the road just before 10.00 pm. The three recollections coalesce around 10.00 pm that night. This critical period would suggest that the occupants of the white Chevrolet Impala spot William Crow, chase him along the road, return to the turnout and vacate their vehicle just prior to 10.00 pm. At which point Robert Connelly and Bingo Wesner spot each other and the unoccupied Chevrolet.
Her account raises questions. For her account to be correct, the white Chevrolet Impala driver would had to have returned to the turnout just prior to 10.00 pm, after chasing William Crow, the occupants would then have to vacate their vehicle so that Robert Connelly and Bingo Wesner saw it unoccupied. They would then had to have returned to their vehicle minutes later, driven away, without passing Helen Axe's vehicle, to be replaced in the turnout by the Faraday Rambler by 10.15 pm.
Raymond Grant, understandably takes the position that Helen Axe likely saw the white Chevrolet Impala, not the Faraday Rambler. It returned to the turnout just shy of 10.00 pm, the occupants vacated the vehicle, and according to Bingo Wesner was 'parked by the south fence of the entrance to the pumping station'. A short time later, circa 10.15 pm, Helen Axe passed the turnout and viewed the Chevrolet Impala in the same position as viewed by Bingo Wesner, also 'facing in towards the gate.' Unless of course we contend that the Faraday Rambler arrived just before 10.15 pm and parked in the identical position as the Chevrolet Impala previously, as viewed by Bingo Wesner.
Fifteen minutes later, at approximately 10.30 pm, Helen Axe had returned up Lake Herman Road, by which time the occupants had returned to the Chevrolet Impala and repositioned it facing the road. It is a plausible line of investigation and is merited by the details of the case. The scenario presented by Raymond Grant would indicate that the white Chevrolet Impala had a much more pivotal role in the proceedings on December 20th 1968 than first imagined, and place this vehicle in the turnout much closer to the murders than ever before. The question is, how long did it remain in the area.
This presentation just scratches the surface of Raymond Grant's Lake Herman Road timeline, and I have attempted to skirt around the issues presented in 'Zodiac Killer Solved', without giving too much away. To read the full story...
ZODIAC KILLER SOLVED ON AMAZON
The white Chevrolet Impala, if it contained the assailant or assailants, may have been observed by not only Robert Connelly, Frank Gasser and Bingo Wesner, but also William Crow and Helen Axe, in what can only be described as suspicious behavior, in an isolated, cold and dark turnout for at least 30 minutes. Bearing in mind the murders happened as little as 40 minutes later, and the last person to drive past the turnout before the murders occurred was James Owen, his testimony is crucial. In the police report dated 12/21/68 he was unable to furnish a description of the vehicle alongside the Rambler, so ruling out the Chevrolet Impala is not possible. He stated "he saw two cars parked near the entrance to the pumping station. He stated the car parked nearest was a 1955 or 1956 station wagon, boxy type, neutral in color. The other was parked to the right and abreast of the station wagon. The cars were about ten feet apart. He stated he could not give a description of the make or color of the other car." But he added an extra crucial detail in his 12/24/68 interview: "He did not see anyone in the cars or around them". Earlier in the night Robert Connelly, Frank Gasser and Bingo Wesner all observed an unoccupied white Chevrolet Impala parked in the turnout. Fast forward 75 minutes, and the same scenario, but this time two unoccupied vehicles and apparently nobody in the turnout. If this was the Chevrolet Impala, then its owners certainly appeared to have a habit of exiting their vehicle in a desolate turnout, on an extremely cold and dark night. But does this indicate a connection.
If Helen Axe and her boyfriend had passed the Lake Herman Road turnout and Chevrolet Impala at 10.30 pm, heading towards Vallejo, this vehicle may have pulled out and tracked the couple along the road, in not identical but similar fashion to William Crow and his girlfriend. If the occupants were searching for courting couples, they may have been waiting for the couple to possibly park up, but it failed to materialize. Traveling from the turnout to Columbus Parkway takes about 4 minutes. This would place the Chevrolet Impala at the intersection of Lake Herman Road and Columbus Parkway at approximately 10.34 pm, aligning perfectly with Stan, who observed the same make and model of vehicle "at approximately 10.30 pm."
Three courting couples may have been targeted that night, with David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen the unlucky victims. The attack at Blue Rock Springs Park and Lake Berryessa may have employed similar tactics.
The Chevrolet Impala with two persons, according to Stan, was last seen "driving from Lake Herman Road on to Columbus Parkway, heading towards Blue Rock Springs." Had the occupants traveled to the Blue Rock Springs parking lot to lie in wait for unsuspecting couples, seemingly unsuccessfully, before heading back towards Lake Herman Road sometime around 11.00 pm. An approximate journey time of six minutes would have the Chevrolet Impala returning to the ill fated turnout just after the Yours and raccoon hunters had left the Marshall Ranch and just prior to James Owen passing, on his way to the Humble Oil graveyard shift. The rest is well documented.
Raymond Grant's has highlighted some important overlapping timelines in the Lake Herman Road eyewitness recollections. His book 'Zodiac Killer Solved' covers all the 'Zodiac' crimes, with a different slant to the conventional understanding perceived by most, but without doubt punches holes in many widely held misconceptions.