After they left Sheron’s house at 9:00 PM, no one else saw them until 10:15 pm when one of her former classmates, Helen and her boyfriend were driving by a turnout on Lake Herman Road, and saw the Rambler. Apparently she recognized both victims and the car. They didn’t see any other cars in the turnout. According to the police report “When she went by about 10:15 pm the car was facing in towards the gate and when she returned about 15 minutes later after having gone to the end of the road and then came back, the car was turned around and the front was facing the field a little to the side.”
Around 11:05 PM, Peggie Your, her husband Homer and their children were returning from Sacramento. Homer was working for a construction company doing a job on Lake Herman Rd, and he wanted to check on some of the pipe lines. Peggie said as they were driving West on Lake Herman Road, she saw the vehicle with the victims sitting in the front seat. The car was parked on the East side (left) of the turnout. It was a cold night (in the 20s) and there was no frost on the Rambler (but it had been sitting there for at least an hour). They drove past the turnout to the bottom of the hill and turned into the road way on the right, going into Marshall Ranch.
As their car got to the gate, they observed two white males standing by the gate on her husband’s side of the car. The youngest of the two guys (approximately 28) was carrying a rifle. A red pickup with white wooden sides was parked about 40 feet ahead of their car. At this point they observed an older man get out of the truck. The older man shined a flashlight into their car. Peggy told her husband there was a guy with a gun and she wanted to “get the hell out of there”. The two men didn’t say anything but just stared at them. They turned around and headed back East on Lake Herman Road. When they drove by the station wagon was still parked in the turnout. She kept looking back but didn’t see any headlights on the road behind them. As they drove past the entrance to Humble Oil, she observed a long dark car stopped at the gate. A guard was leaning over talking to the driver. She said that the car had a long speedometer indicator light that gave off a greenish glow. (could this be the dark car observed parked next to the Rambler?)
Robert Connelly & Frank Gasser
The white males were Robert Connelly (27) and Frank Gasser (69). They had been in the area hunting racoons since about 9:00 PM. They left the area around 11:00 pm and saw the Rambler, parked at the crime scene, but they didn’t see anyone in the car. That may have been because the seats were reclined, which is how they were found when the police arrived. Interestingly, they reported seeing the Rambler on the West side (right) of the turnout, near the bank slope.
The next person to see the victim’s car was a retired Air Force enlisted man, James Owen. He was working as a supervisor at Humble Oil Company and was on his way to work on the graveyard shift. He left home around 10:55 PM and it takes about 19 minutes to go from his house to the crime scene. That puts him at the crime scene at approximately 11:14 pm. When he drove by he saw the victims car, and another car parked next to it, on the East side (left) of the turnout. According to the police report, he said:
“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.”
In a second interview on the 24th of December the police report states: “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. He stated as he traveled approximately one quarter of a mile beyond, he thought he heard a shot.”
He also said “just before he approached the scene, a vehicle passed him going in the opposite direction toward Vallejo. He could give no description of the vehicle. This occurred near the Borges Ranch”
(Interesting!, was the killer ducking to avoid being observed or was he not in the car?).
James told the police they may want to check with Mr. Prentiss? that lived at the apartments on the end of Spring Road. He said the guy may have driven by last because he also worked the graveyard shift at Humble Oil. James checked with his friend the next day but he said he did not drive to work on Lake Herman Road that day.
At approximately 11:20 PM, Mrs. Stella Borges drove by the turnout and spotted the victims bodies. She drove into Benicia and flagged down Captain Daniel Pitta and Officer William Warner at approximately 11:25 pm.
Mr. Bingo Wesner, a local sheep herder, arrived at the crime scene around 8:00 AM the next morning and was questioned by police. According to the police report, he tended sheep in a nearby field and at approximately 10:00 PM the previous evening he was checking his sheep and observed a white Chevrolet Impala parked by the South fence of the turnout. He also saw the red truck of the raccoon hunters in the area. He did not see the victim’s vehicle.
Also around 9:30 or 10:00 PM that night, William Crow and his girlfriend were out test driving his girlfriends sports car. They were parked in the turnout facing the road and they noticed a Blue car, possibly a Valiant, coming from the direction of Benicia. Just after it passed the turnout, it braked hard and started reversing back to the turnout. Fearing something bad was about to happen, William left the area immediately, heading in the direction of Benicia at a high rate of speed. The other vehicle followed them, tailgated and according to one report, flashing their lights. In an interview with police, Mr. Crow said:
“I sped up. The car behind me also sped up, and at one point as I was looking over my shoulder, the car behind me came up on my side with its right front fender near the driver’s rear quarter panel and appeared to be moving toward making contact. I shifted to a lower gear and hit the gas. There is a fork in the road where one continues toward Benicia and the other more towards the freeway toward Vallejo. The other car was clearly chasing me and I waited until the last moment and then turned off. The larger car behind me could not make the turn. I went down approximately two hundred yards and stopped in the middle of the road. The other car had stopped shortly after the turn-off. Each of us sat there in the road. Again, youthfully stupid, I yelled about kicking his —. After some moments, the other car turned around in the roadway and went back down the road from which we had come. I kept making macho statements, but not totally without some sense about me, I drove home. I did not see the car again. I could not see the passenger seat, but the driver was a man with short hair and glasses. I did not see his specific facial features”.
In his first interview with police, the report states that he said the car was a blue Valiant. But according to Crow:
“I never told the sheriff who interviewed me that the car I encountered was a Valiant. As I recall, as I was attempting to describe the car, the sheriff came up with a “Valiant”. In the years that have passed, when I have shared the events of that night, I have described the car as a four-door light-colored Chevy”.