If the responsible was embarking on a life as a serial killer, beginning with Lake Herman Road, why didn't he simply employ the method he used in his second attack, where all nine bullets struck their target. Whether he knew that people were in the area that night, or was just lucky in finding a slender timeline between eyewitnesses, may never be known, but if we assume this was the beginning of his quest for immortality as the Zodiac Killer, one would assume he would take less risks.
Firstly, we have to question why he supposedly parked alongside the right of the Rambler, furthest from the road. Wouldn't a more calculated and foolproof strategy been, to have parked to the rear of the Rambler, effectively boxing the couple into the turnout. Secondly, the killer fired off 10 shots that night, with only 6 striking their target. It has been speculated the killer fired off an array of warning shots, two that struck the vehicle, and possibly one or two into the air. But why? The purpose of the 'exercise', as it was at Blue Rock Springs Park, was to murder the couple. The assailant could simply have shot both victims through the passenger side window, or shot them the instant the passenger door opened.
Investigators believed the couple were effectively forced out of the vehicle before being shot- but for what purpose?. According to most observers, the Zodiac Killer's actions were not that of a sadist- his murders being secondary to his primary goal- that of publicity from the crimes he committed and his incessant contact with the newspapers.
One could argue, that if the killer ushered David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen from the Rambler, he did so for a reason.
A sexual motive and robbery were soon ruled out, but this may not necessarily have been the case.
One of the first responding officers on December 20th 1968 was Russell Butterbach. He stated in the 2007 Zodiac documentary "that's where he found out about the ring (David Faraday's class ring). I noticed he had it like this (gesturing that David Faraday was holding it between his finger and thumb), holding it like somebody was trying to take it from him."
Then we have the final eyewitness, before the victims were spotted lying on the turnout floor by Stella Medeiros.
James Owen passed the turnout on his way to Humble Oil in Benicia, and stated in the police report "He definitely saw two cars, a station wagon and another vehicle, parked approximately three or four feet to the right of the station wagon. He did not see anyone in the cars or around them." Several minutes later both victims were discovered dead in the turnout.
James Owen never mentioned the Rambler door being open. So, if the killer had closed the Rambler door and forced the couple out of sight, behind the Rambler, as James Owen passed, why did somebody reopen the passenger door likely after shooting both David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen, later to be observed by investigators at the crime scene (courtesy of Ray Grant). Was the perpetrator looking for valuables, drugs or money, and had David Faraday earlier, begun the process of loosening his class ring to offer to the assailant. An action that angered the perpetrator, resulting in the close quarter execution to the left side of his head.
In a previous article we explored the idea of a connection between the white Chevrolet Impala, the drugs bust at The Cottage and the arrival of David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen shortly thereafter. Could the killer have opened the Rambler passenger door looking for the recently purchased drugs, in a case of mistaken identity, connected with the Chevrolet Impala. See here.
Many eyewitnesses gave their accounts of that night, apart from the occupant/s of the Chevrolet Impala and the 'pursuer/s' of William Crow (assuming they were separate). I wonder why?
But there was another rarely mentioned vehicle on Lake Herman Road that night, that passed the turnout only 3 1/2 minutes before James Owen heard a shot pierce the night. James Owen in his statement on the 24th December 1968 stated "just before he approached the scene a vehicle passed him in the opposite direction towards Vallejo. This occurred near the Borges Ranch." The Borges Ranch is 1.5 miles from the turnout, or about 3 minutes journey time traveling at 30 mph.
Had this vehicle been in the turnout prior to James Owen passing it, meaning that two vehicles were in the turnout, as well as the Rambler, but when things turned sour, the occupant/s of this vehicle decided to leave and head towards Vallejo. Or was this just an innocent motorist, unaware of the unfolding events that night. Either way, the occupant/s of this vehicle never came forward to report seeing the Rambler and another vehicle alongside, in the turnout, to add validity to the sighting of James Owen. Did they fear being implicated, or more importantly, did they know the killer?
What may have begun as a 'confrontation' that descended into murder, may ultimately have morphed into something completely different, some six and a half months later. The killer may not have created the Zodiac, he may have evolved into him, 'mesmerized' by the newspaper coverage he received after the Lake Herman Road double murder..