Why such discrepancies?

General Discussion of the case history and details.

Why such discrepancies?

Postby WildernessMedic » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:50 pm

Hi folks. Why are there such drastic discrepancies in regards to Z’s description? Tall, beefy, crew cut hair, short, with a belly and curly hair. The obvious answer is that he disguised himself. But I don’t think you can disguise height. And weight wld be hard without someone picking up on that. Like the sketch that doesn’t include the crew cut, that favors Kayne compared to the others. Z said he looked different when doing his “thang”, but I think the differences are drastic. I’d like to hear others explanation. I suspect perception is reality. So maybe that explains some of it. Tks! -Wildmedic
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Re: Why such discrepancies?

Postby Richard Grinell » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:21 pm

Eyewitness testimony is dependent on the person involved and the circumstances while encountering the suspect. Michael Mageau was blinded by a flashlight, saw only a side view and was being riddled with bullets, so it's understandable his description may be heavily flawed. But he stated at his bedside to investigating detective Ed Rust, that "he was a heavyset man standing at about 5'8'' tall, beefy build, but not blubbery fat, possibly 195-200 pounds."
The Berryessa perpetrator was wearing a hood standing for the most part on an incline, and Hartnell being so tall, admitted he was a bad judge of height. In the interview at the hospital he stated "Maybe 5-8 or maybe 5-10, 6 feet, somewhere in there", so not much use at all - all we have is dark brown hair visible by the eyelets of the mask, 200+ pounds, and age based on voice, which is not realistic.
The three teenagers stated "A white male, 25-30 years old, 5'8" to 5'9", stocky build, reddish-brown hair worn in a crew cut."
Donald Fouke stated "WMA, in his early forties, 5'8", heavy build, reddish-blond, crew cut hair." in police report.

Actually, all four eyewitnesses at some point said 5'8", so there would be no discrepancy. The weight was around 200lbs or stocky, so little discrepancy there. A quick haircut between Berryessa and Presidio, takes care of the hair. The only real differences are Bryan Hartnell went up to 250 lbs, but the costume may have influenced that, and Donald Fouke added 10 odd years. The massively fluctuating descriptions are blown out of proportion. But we have to remember eyewitness recollections are only a guide and notoriously unreliable.

http://www.zodiackiller.com/HartnellInterview5.html
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Re: Why such discrepancies?

Postby Tahoe27 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:31 pm

There is also Mageau saying light brown, almost blond, curly hair. It's really Berryessa that throws things for a loop. Hair dye, grease, and wigs aside.

I also remember reading at one point Mageau stating he judged height by the car they were in...so he had something to go by. And since his attacker was in a t-shirt, there was no guessing his build.
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"...they may be dealing with one or more ersatz Zodiacs--other psychotics eager to get into the act, or perhaps even other murderers eager to lay their crimes at the real Zodiac's doorstep." L.A. Times, 1969
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Re: Why such discrepancies?

Postby WildernessMedic » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:46 pm

All great points. And that’s what I meant by “perception is reality”. Just depends on what they perceive I suppose.
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Re: Why such discrepancies?

Postby Mikecat66 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:08 am

Studies have shown eye wittiness are the worst. This sketch looks like everybody. I have heard he had a widows peak hair line, I don't see it. Dark out the glasses and it's DB Cooper.
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Re: Why such discrepancies?

Postby Boo! » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:12 pm

Eye witness testimony is unreliable so that's probably where most of the discrepancies come from. Not from elaborate disguises at each murder.

The most common description from 3+ witnesses is a man of around 5'8" to 5'10" in height. My money would be on this being accurate enough, so we aren't looking for either a short or overly tall suspect ;)

The other most common descriptor seems to be a guy with light brown / redish hair, possibly somewhat curly. I don't think Brian could have got enough of a good look at the hooded Zodiac to accurately determine the culprits hair. Even so the description he gave could be in the same ballpark.

It seems Zodiac had his hair cut very short at the time of the Stine murder. Officer Fauke still noticed the red tint in the hair, unless by some miracle that was somebody else and not Z.
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Re: Why such discrepancies?

Postby ksshocker » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:48 pm

In the BTK case he was seen at least a half dozen times and they were different everytime.
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