Betty Lou Jensen & David Faraday
December 20th, 1968 – Lake Herman Rd.
The first “official” victims of the Zodiac were Betty Lou Jensen (16) and David Faraday (17), who were attacked on December 20th, 1968.
The couple were on their first date. They were supposed to attend a Christmas concert at Hogan High School, about three blocks from Jensen’s home.
Instead the couple visited a friend before going to a local restaurant and then driving out to a secluded turnout that was the local Lovers’ Lane. They arrived at the gravel turnout on Lake Herman Road at approximately 10:15 PM, where David parked his mother’s Rambler.
A little after 11:00 PM, a woman driving by named Stella Borges spotted their bodies and called the police.
When the police arrived, they found Betty Lou dead at the scene from 5 gunshot wounds in her back, and David later died from a single gunshot to the head.
The weapon used was a .22 caliber pistol. It’s believed to have been a J.C. Higgins, Model 80 with a 10 round clip.
Darlene Ferrin & Mike Mageau
July 4th, 1969 – Blue Rock Springs Park
7 months after the first attack, the Zodiac struck again. On the night of July 4th, 1969, another young couple was attacked at Blue Rock Springs Park, just four miles Northwest of the Faraday and Jensen murders.
Darlene Ferrin (22) and her friend Michael Mageau (19) had driven to the Blue Rock Springs Park where Darlene parked her Corvair in the parking lot. Shortly after, another car pulled up and the occupants were laughing and setting off fireworks to celebrate Independence Day. The other car soon drove off.
A little while later another car pulled up behind Darlene’s car and stopped. The driver waited for a moment, then drove off. Within a few minutes the car returned and parked. The driver of the car got out and shined a bright light in their car as he walked up to the passenger window.
The young couple first thought it was a police officer, but the man was pointing a gun at them. Without warning he began firing, hitting both Darlene and Michael multiple times each.
He then turned and started walking back to his vehicle. Michael cried out in pain and the man returned, firing several more shots at the two victims.
The attacker then got back in his car and drove away. Later on, he called the Vallejo Police Department from a pay phone just a few blocks from the station.
The dispatcher that night was Nancy Slover, and when she answered the call, the man spoke in a slow monotone voice. He sounded like he was reading from a script as he said:
“I want to report a double murder. If you will go one mile east on Columbus Parkway to the public park you will find the kids in a brown car. They were shot with a 9mm Luger. I also killed those kids last year. Goodbye.”
Darlene Ferrin died from multiple gunshot wounds, but Michael Mageau survived with wounds to his leg, back, and jaw.
Michael was able to describe the gunman when interviewed by detective Ed Rust of the Vallejo Police Department. He described the assailant as a white adult male, “short, possible 5″8″, was real heavy set, beefy build…not blubbery fat, but real beefy, possibly 195 to 200 [lbs] or maybe even larger… short curly hair, light brown almost blond… with a large face.”
Cecelia Shepard & Bryan Hartnell
September 27th, 1969 – Lake Berryessa
Less than 2 months after the second attack the Zodiac Killer struck again. This time it was a little further North, in the Napa Valley wine country.
On September 27th, 1969, Bryan Hartnell, 20, and Cecelia Shepard, 22, were picnicking near Lake Berryessa when they were attacked by a man wearing an executioner’s mask with a circle-cross symbol on it.
He approached them on the shoreline and held them at gunpoint, saying he was only going to rob them. He tied them both up then suddenly stabbed both of them multiple times with a 12 inch knife.
After he stabbed them, he walked back up the hillside to Bryan’s Karmann Ghia and wrote a message on the car door. He used a black marker and drew the circle and cross symbol. Below that he listed the dates of the two previous shootings and a line that said “Sept 27 69 6:30 by knife.”
At 7:40 PM, the Napa County Police Department received a call from a phone booth just a few blocks away. Officer David Slaight answered the phone and the caller spoke in a slow monotone voice, saying “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.”
The officer asked the caller to provide his location, but all he heard was the caller’s voice getting further away saying, “I’m the one who did it.”
Cecelia died of her injuries a few days later, but Bryan survived.
Bryan described the killer as a white male, between 5’8” – 6’, dark brown hair and a little heavy set. He had a distinct way he talked that couldn’t quite be described.
October 11, 1969 – Presidio Heights
Less than a month after the third attack, the Zodiac struck again. On October 11, 1969, cab driver Paul Stein’s body was discovered in his cab where he had died from a gunshot wound (9 mm) to the head.
The murder happened at the corner of Washington and Cherry Streets, in an upscale neighborhood in San Francisco called Presidio Heights.
Three young witnesses had watched the murder from across the street and had called the police.
According to the witnesses, the killer was last seen standing at the driver’s side door, using a piece of the victim’s blood stained shirt to wipe the surface of the cab. Maybe trying to wipe away any fingerprints.
Two SFPD Officers Eric Zelms and Donald Fouke were responding to the dispatch call when they passed a white male that was walking away from the scene. Unfortunately they had been told the suspect was a black male so they didn’t pay much attention to him.
The 3 young witnesses described the suspect as a white male, 35-45 years old, 5’8” reddish brown hair, crewcut, heavy rimmed glasses with a Navy blue or black jacket.
Officer Fouke later described the guy they had passed as a white male, in his early forties, 5’10″, 180-200 lbs, medium heavy build. Light colored hair, crewcut. Wearing glasses and dressed in dark blue jacket. The suspect walked with a shuffling lope, slightly bent forward.