Centering on the Carquinez Straight

General Discussion of the case history and details.

Centering on the Carquinez Straight

Postby ksshocker » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:31 am

Kim Rossmo is a Canadian criminologist who examined the Zodiac crimes in depth, giving a detailed account of the killer's possible movements after each crime and a likely location to the most notorious murderer in US history, employing the art of geographic profiling. It is an extremely interesting and thought provoking analysis, using the logic of the human mind, that involves 'the least effort principle', 'comfort' and 'buffer zones', along with a fair sprinkling of common sense, to reach inside the mind of the Zodiac Killer and examine why he did, what he did, during his brief but nonetheless devastating ten month reign, that struck fear into the heart of Northern California and beyond. See Zodiac-Killer-geographic-profile-by-Kim-Rossmo-Ph-D.
In two previous articles 'The Lost 20 Minutes' and 'East to Benicia', two different base locations have been identified as the possible residency of the long sought after Zodiac Killer, but this time we will predominantly be examining his logical exit routes away from each of the murder sites using the premise that the Zodiac Killer would immediately head for a secure or safe location after each crime, usually home, to destroy or dispose of any incriminating evidence transferred during the commission of his evil acts. This article will back up the 'East to Benicia' article, in so far that his likely residence may possibly be in the Benicia area or slightly further south, in the region of Martinez CA or Concord CA.
The Zodiac Killer's movements directly following the shooting of David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen on Lake Herman Road appeared the most telling, The Zodiac Killer was estimated to have left the gravel turnout at 11.15 pm, the same time Stella Borges left her ranch. If the Zodiac Killer had turned west to Vallejo he would have passed Stella Borges, however she reported passing no vehicles, lending weight to the hypothesis the Zodiac Killer headed east in the direction of Benicia or beyond. It would then be just a short journey over the Benicia-Martinez Bridge; (officially known as the George Miller Memorial Bridge), to the immediate towns beyond the Carquinez Strait.
The Zodiac Killer also appeared, on the face of it, more familiar with the Lake Herman Road and Presidio Heights areas, as opposed to Blue Rock Springs Park and Lake Berryessa regions, as he reveals in his correspondence with authorities. In the San Francisco Chronicle letter mailed on July 31st 1969 he refers directly to Lake Herman Road, even pointing out that Betty Lou Jensen's feet were facing west, which indeed was correct. In the 'Debut of Zodiac Letter' mailed on August 4th 1969 he recalls 'Last Christmass In that epasode the police were wondering how I could shoot + hit my victims in the dark. They did not openly state this, but implied this by saying it was a well lit night + I could see silowets on the horizon. Bullshit that area is surounded by high hills + trees'.
His final confirmed murder, that of Paul Stine on October 11th 1969, portrayed the picture of a man confident in these surroundings. Committing the crime in a built up area, close to 10.00 pm at night and escaping from the scene, showed distinct elements of pre-planning and a knowledge of the area. However in both of the Zodiac Killer's phone calls to police after Blue Rock Springs Park attack and Lake Berryessa, his directions were questioned on both occasions. He fails to mention Blue Rock Springs at all, only Columbus Parkway, stating 'I wish to report a double murder. If you will go one mile east on Columbus Parkway to a public park, you will find the kids in a brown car. They have been shot by a 9 mm Luger. I also killed those kids last year.... Good-bye'. In his Chronicle letter he only refers to Blue Rock Springs as 'near the golf course in Vallejo'. If it were the case that his knowledge of Lake Herman Road and Presidio Heights were greater, then his two southernmost crimes were possibly the areas he frequented the most, although all are punctuated by lakes or expanses of water. Indeed, Blue Rock Springs is only four miles from Lake Herman, the greatest distance any major body of water lies from any of the crime scenes. If the Zodiac Killer resided in Benicia, Martinez, Concord, Lafayette or somewhere around the vicinity of Walnut Creek, then his knowledge of Lake Herman Road would logically be greater. This may suggest ease of access both to the Benicia and Vallejo areas, as well as to San Francisco via the Oakland Bay Bridge, where he may likely have worked or at the very least traveled to mail the majority of the Zodiac letters. It is only a 37 mile journey from Martinez to Presidio Heights and only 27 miles from Walnut Creek..However there was unaccounted time from the commission of his crime at Blue Rock Springs, to the placing of his first phone call to police dispatcher Nancy Slover of approximately 40 minutes. The short journey to the phone booth at Springs and Tuolumne was approximately 10 minutes journey time, therefore it has justifiably been theorized that the Zodiac Killer used this time to go home first, stash his weapon, remove any incriminating evidence, before readying himself and venturing back out to place the phone call, placing himself under far less risk of detection than being exposed in a public area carrying the smoking gun.
If this chain of events were the likely scenario, and the Zodiac Killer lived in the southern regions of Benicia or Martinez, then the maximum window of 40 minutes would exist to travel home and return to the payphone. The journey time from Blue Rock Springs to Martinez is roughly 18 minutes and the return journey to the payphone is 17 minutes, with a 5 minute turnaround, making this southernmost destination the furthest possible round trip to account for the 12.40 am call.
Although this gives us a further problem. Are we to believe the Zodiac Killer, after murdering Darlene Ferrin and seriously injuring Michael Mageau would traverse the Vallejo and Benicia areas, over the Carquinez Strait to home and then return all the way back to the payphone at Springs Road and Tuolumne. It appears to make the 'least effort principle' look like hard work, and criminals are like the rest of us, in some aspects at least, that the easier option is the preferred choice. Despite the fact the Zodiac Killer seemed determined to place the phone call, obviously the least time he was in the public spotlight, not only carrying a murder weapon for one part of the journey, but heading back to an exposed intersection, the better.
The thought of the Zodiac Killer heading towards the Benicia area and beyond, reaching the safety of home, then making the choice to place himself back into the firing line and return to the close proximity of the crime for a second time, would make even a madman look irrational. As explained in the 'East to Benicia' article, a further option exists.
If he lived in Benicia or somewhere in that region, as his movements suggested after the Lake Herman Road double murder, then knowing the phone call would place him at greater risk, it is conceivable to believe he discarded the weapon before making the phone call to Nancy Slover, but not at home, in his mind reducing the risk of being stopped carrying the 'smoking gun'. So the next thing to do is examine his possible movements during this timeframe.
He was familiar with Lake Herman Road, and in near isolation, dark and free from prying eyes, it would have been a perfect disposal site for his weapon, particularly bearing in mind Lake Herman was situated near to his first murders. A round trip from Blue Rock Springs to Lake Herman, with time spent to exit his vehicle, possibly remove his gloves, change clothes, wipe down the weapon and toss the evidence into Lake Herman, before returning to the payphone at Springs Road and Tuolumne, in total 10 miles, would have taken approximately 30 minutes, obviously dependent on time spent at the lake, however nearer the time of 12.40 am, the time the call was logged. Any stop by police now would have held far less risk.
Picture
.....Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Northern California.....
Paul Stine was brutally murdered in his taxicab during the evening of October 11th 1969 at the intersection of Washington and Maple Street. The Zodiac Killer's last known movements were north up Cherry Street and towards the Presidio.
After killing Paul Stine the logical approach, considering he may well have been covered in blood, would have been to return to his waiting vehicle and get the hell out of San Francisco as quickly as possible. So presuming his apparent knowledge of the obscure Lake Herman Road and his movements towards Benicia after the double slaying of David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen, what was his likely exit route away from San Francisco.
After the murder police vehicles would have converged towards the Presidio Heights area from the southerly, westerly and easterly directions, so the least time he spent in San Francisco from a safety aspect, would have been the most preferable option. If his vehicle was located somewhere near the Jackson and Maple Street intersection, then the obvious choice would have been to remove himself from any contact with approaching vehicles, by accessing West Pacific Avenue, creating this buffer zone between him and the police. His next logical step to depart the San Francisco area in the fastest time possible, would have been the Golden Gate Bridge, past the Sausalito area, towards and across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and the 20 mile journey back from Richmond to Martinez. Another interesting aspect of the Martinez and Concord areas is concerning the Modesto Abduction of Kathleen Johns on March 22nd 1970, if you believe this to be a Zodiac crime. After she entered the assailant's vehicle, he drove her around through the the countryside of Tracy, CA before she made her escape across a field. The route from Modesto to Tracy and on to Martinez, Benicia and Vallejo is virtually a direct route as the crow flies. The route also passes by Mount Diablo, a location that featured prominently in the Button Letter he mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle on June 26th 1970, as well as the Little List Letter on July 26th 1970. The suggestion here is that after abducting Kathleen Johns he was unlikely to head away from home, but again travel toward safety, yet create the necessary buffer zone between the crime location and his residence. On this occasion Tracy CA would provide a 57 mile buffer zone to Martinez.
Finally and probably the most controversial crime attributed to the Zodiac Killer, was the costume driven attack on Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard on September 27th 1969. This would be the furthest the Zodiac Killer would ever travel in search of a victim.
His phone call to police dispatcher Dave Slaight, again appeared to show little in depth knowledge of the area, although in all likelihood he had probably visited the area at least a few times from a recreation standpoint, possibly fishing being one of his pursuits, when he wasn't out murdering people. After brutally stabbing both victims he made his second phone call from 1231 Main Street in downtown Napa, stating "I want to report a murder, no, a double murder. They are two miles north of Park Headquarters. They were in a white Volkswagen Karmann Ghia" and after a brief pause uttered the words "I'm the one that did it". However the location of the attack is only 0.7 miles north of Park Headquarters. The simplest route back from Napa is California State Route 29, past American Canyon, directly through to the bay area, north of the Carquinez Strait. This would provide easy access to and from the Lake Berryessa region.
Placed altogether, the movements of the Zodiac Killer after the Lake Herman Road murders, his direction of travel in the Modesto Abduction, as well as the direction taken from Lake Berryesssa to Napa, including the 'buffer zone' phone call at the mid point, before continuing on to the Benicia region or beyond, and his logical exit route from Presidio Heights, centers the focus squarely in the region either side of the Carquinez Bridge. But who said murderers make sense.
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Re: Centering on the Carquinez Straight

Postby CuriousCat » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:30 pm

Quite a post there.

I've always leaned more to him being from Benicia or somewhere just across the straight. Perhaps even Walnut Creek due to it's locality in relation to Mt. Diablo.

Where ever he was from, he was certainly familiar with the area. He had to know about that small pull off area on Lake Herman rd. and he would have only known that by driving by it a lot, probably at night if he knew he could find people parking there.

But then, it's possible that spot was happenstance. I've wondered if he was out hunting that night but that wasn't his original choice. It's possible he had been to Blue Rock Springs or the Lake Herman recreation park but no one was there and the parking spot was a last chance. Also, it's believed he left towards Benicia which lends to him being from there or from that direction.

Also, him referring to Blue Rock Springs as "the public park" might indicate he didn't know the name like a local would. It's an easy drive down Lake Herman rd from Benicia to BRS, the road ends at Columbus Parkway just south of BRS. After the attack, it's back down Columbus Parkway a short distance to Springs road. Stop somewhere for a cup of coffee and then make the phone call, then just a very short distance from where he made the call is Benicia RD, take that back to Benicia and you don't have to go near the crime scene.

Things just seem to point to Benicia, or back that direction.
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Re: Centering on the Carquinez Straight

Postby ksshocker » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:55 pm

Sorry about the length it was a copy and paste. Myself I thought the story was interesting since my POI lived in Concord and worked in Vallejo. Would have drove close by the two lovers lanes practically every day.
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Re: Centering on the Carquinez Straight

Postby traveller1st » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:49 pm

In those situations you should highlight the part you've pasted in and then click the 'Quote' button. I say should but it's not a rule, just a suggestion. It makes it easier to read.
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Re: Centering on the Carquinez Straight

Postby Marshall » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:20 pm

I've always thought that the single biggest clue to where Zodiac was based is the recollection of Mageau, saying Z pulled in behind them, then sped off and returned to start shooting. We know from LHR with all the traffic around the crime scene, that Z pulled alongside his victims and, once the coast was clear, shot them fairly quickly. So why did he have to leave and come back at BRS? Obvious guess would be, to get his gun.

If someone could estimate how long it was between the time Z left and came back, and guess with some accuracy the speed at which he may have been driving, one could come up with an approximate maximum distance Z could've gone before returning. If one then used a compass to draw an arc from that distance (an arc rather than a complete circle, assuming Mike told them which direction Z went), and then, along that arc, focused on the area toward the LHR area, I think that would be a pretty good guess.

Making the phone call was not dangerous for Z, once he had gotten rid of the gun and possibly changed his clothes and washed his hands to remove gunpowder residue (if he was aware of such a thing.) Assuming both victims were dead, he had little to fear after making his clean escape from the crime scene.

But later, when Mike survived to tell the tale of Z's return trip... that may have prompted Z to choose his next target (either LB or PH depending on your preference) in a completely different location.

By the way, I've always believed Z tossed his gun shortly after his attacks at LHR and BRS. He never used the same gun twice, so no need to keep them. Someday maybe some sleuth with a metal detector will find one of them in a ditch along Lake Herman Road...
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Re: Centering on the Carquinez Straight

Postby joku » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:16 pm

Marshall wrote:I've always thought that the single biggest clue to where Zodiac was based is the recollection of Mageau, saying Z pulled in behind them, then sped off and returned to start shooting. We know from LHR with all the traffic around the crime scene, that Z pulled alongside his victims and, once the coast was clear, shot them fairly quickly. So why did he have to leave and come back at BRS? Obvious guess would be, to get his gun.


Personally I've always felt him leaving and then coming back was a matter of gathering courage. Maybe he wasn't fully confident the first time around. So he left. After driving up Columbus Parkway for a moment there'd be enough built up emotion (probably anger and self-loathing) and he'd get the gut to do it and turned back. The fairly robotic manner in which he acted would speak for this - basically get out of the car, shoot, get back in the car, drive away.
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Re: Centering on the Carquinez Straight

Postby texas21 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:17 pm

joku wrote:
Marshall wrote:I've always thought that the single biggest clue to where Zodiac was based is the recollection of Mageau, saying Z pulled in behind them, then sped off and returned to start shooting. We know from LHR with all the traffic around the crime scene, that Z pulled alongside his victims and, once the coast was clear, shot them fairly quickly. So why did he have to leave and come back at BRS? Obvious guess would be, to get his gun.


Personally I've always felt him leaving and then coming back was a matter of gathering courage. Maybe he wasn't fully confident the first time around. So he left. After driving up Columbus Parkway for a moment there'd be enough built up emotion (probably anger and self-loathing) and he'd get the gut to do it and turned back. The fairly robotic manner in which he acted would speak for this - basically get out of the car, shoot, get back in the car, drive away.


If, and this is conjecture, Zodiac know one or both the victims he might first have gotten close enough to be sure of his target. Then, given the number of people in the area and the limited time available, he might have made a quick drive out and back to make sure nobody was coming. The first two attacks are characterized by speed and overwhelming force.
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Re: Centering on the Carquinez Straight

Postby sandy betts » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:30 am

I think that he left Blue Rock and returned as soon as he grabbed his gun from the trunk of his car, loaded it and went back to shoot them. I don't believe that he ever lacked the courage to kill. He knew that with all of the fireworks going on , he stood a better chance of getting away before the police would arrived
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Re: Centering on the Carquinez Straight

Postby CuriousCat » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:35 pm

sandy betts wrote:I think that he left Blue Rock and returned as soon as he grabbed his gun from the trunk of his car, loaded it and went back to shoot them.


Good thinking there Sandy. Most likely if he was driving around looking for someone to kill he didn't have his gun in the seat beside him in case he got stopped and searched, especially if he had it fitted with some sort of homemade silencer, which I don't discount though I find unlikely. Also, with Mageau saying he "had a large face", I wonder if he wore some sort of mask. Driving back down the road to retrieve those items from his trunk would be a good explanation.
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Re: Centering on the Carquinez Straight

Postby sandy betts » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:25 pm

Thanks, that was the first thing that came to my mind when I heard he left and came right back. I do not discount the description that Mike M gave of the shooter back in 1969. ( Not his much later ID-ing of Art Allen).
When Darlene's sister asked Mike M on the "Now It Can Be Told" TV show, rather told him "I know you know who killed my sister!"
His answer was, I don't remember "their" names!!!!!!


I can't be the only ones who heard him say that? That show has to be someplace on the internet.
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