Darlene Ferrin & Michael Mageau

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Darlene Ferrin & Michael Mageau

Post by ZodeMode on July 1st 2015, 12:04 am

Summary of the attack from zodiacciphers.com


On July 4th 1969, shortly before midnight, Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin and Michael Renault Mageau pulled into the parking lot of the Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo, approximately 6 months and four miles apart from the Lake Herman murder site. This proved, unbeknownst at the time, to be a decision that would have the gravest of outcomes, just a few short minutes later.

This calm tranquil night would soon be disturbed by the arrival of some boisterous youngsters and the sound of firecrackers, although they were soon to leave and the couple found themselves alone once again. Shortly thereafter, another car pulled into the parking lot alongside the couples car, with the headlights extinguished for a brief moment, before moving off again, heading in the direction of Vallejo.

Approximately ten minutes later the same brown car, believed to be from witness recollection a Chevrolet Corvair or Ford Mustang returned, but this time drew up to within 10 feet of the rear of their car, slightly on the right side. Only this time the lone driver exited the vehicle carrying what Michael Mageau described as a 'high powered flashlight, the type you carry with a handle' and although not known at the time, was in possession of a 9mm Luger, as he casually approached the couples car.

Michael Mageau believing the person to be a policeman, because of his demeanor, went for some personal identification, at which point the man raised the handgun and without uttering a word fired a volley of five rounds at point blank range through the window, striking Michael Mageau and Darlene Ferrin several times. Mageau stated he heard a muffled sound, surmising that the gun 'sounded like it had a silencer on it'.

During the merciless attack Mageau, in a bid to prevent further injury or blind terror propelled himself to the rear passenger seats. At this point the assailant retreated, but upon hearing Mageau start to yell returned once again to shoot both victims each twice more. Mageau then stated he grappled for the outside door handle and fell out onto the Blue Rock Springs car park. At which point the assailant sped away, 'at a high rate of speed', from the scene, in the direction of Vallejo. This would later be countered by the Zodiac Killer in a letter he sent to the San Francisco Examiner on August 4th 1969, exactly one month after this attack. In the letter the Zodiac Killer wrote 'The boy was origionaly sitting in the front seat when I began fireing. When I fired the first shot at his head, he leaped backwards at the same time, thus spoiling my aim. He ended up on the back seat then the floor in back thashing out very violently with his legs; that's how I shot him in the knee. I did not leave the cene of the killing with squealing tires + raceing engine as described in he Vallejo paper. I drove away quite slowly so as not to draw attention to my car'.

Michael Mageau went on to state; in an interview conducted at Kaiser Hospital on 6th July 1969, with Detective Ed Rust, that he thought the assailants car was the same or similar type to Darlene Ferrin's car, a Corvair, although lighter brown and California license plates.
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Richard Hoffman and Ed Rust were two of the first responding officers that night. Both having separately made their way to the scene of the crime, after reports of shooting being heard at Blue Rock Springs. When Ed Rust arrived he noticed Hoffman tending to Michael Mageau, who was lying on his back on the ground by the open door of the car, Darlene Ferrin was observed motionless behind the steering wheel of the car.

Ed Rust tried to ask Darlene Ferrin what happened, but could not distinguish what she mumbled, due to the severity of her injuries. Both were rushed to hospital, but despite Darlene Ferrin receiving extensive cardiopulmonary resuscitation from the ambulance crew that night, she finally succumbed to her multiple injuries. Sadly Darlene Ferrin was pronounced dead at 12.38 am, upon her arrival at the hospital.

Miraculously Michael Mageau, who took the initial brunt of the cold blooded attack, survived and was later at his bedside able to give a description of the killer to investigating detective Ed Rust, stating he was a heavyset man standing at about 5'8'' tall, beefy build, but not blubbery fat, possibly 195-200 pounds, short curly hair, light brown almost blond. He added that the man was not wearing glasses, but stressed that his assailant did possess a particularly large face. A description that would appear to contradict the first composite sketch of the Zodiac Killer, recalled from initial eyewitness testimony after the murder of Paul Stine at Presidio Heights some three months later. However an amended composite, of the Presidio Heights murderer, being closer to the description given by Officer Donald Fouke, appears to align more closely to the observations of Michael Mageau at Blue Rock Springs.
On July 5th at 12.40 am, approximately forty minutes after the attack, a call was received from a phone booth at the gas station of Springs Road and Tuolumne, close to Ferrin's home, where the assailant claimed responsibility for the attack at Blue Rock Springs Park and the previous Lake Herman Road murders. The police dispatcher who took the call in the early hours of July 5th 1969 was 26 year old Nancy Slover. She was to become one of only three people to speak directly to the Zodiac Killer and described his voice and tone, as though he was mocking and taunting her for shock value, claiming "it worked".

The caller spoke the following words in a monotone, rehearsed fashion, "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". Despite claims by certain individuals, this call was never recorded, as police dispatcher Nancy Slover did not have the equipment at her disposal to record incoming calls at the time.

One month after the attack at Blue Rock Springs Park the killer sent the 'Debut of Zodiac' Letter and recalled his version of events in the last hour of July 4th 1969 and run up to the phone call to Nancy Slover. 'This is the Zodiac speaking. In answer to your asking for more details about the good times I have had in Vallejo, I shall be very happy to supply even more material. By the way, are the police having a good time with the code? If not, tell them to cheer up; when they do crack it, they will have me. On the 4th of July I did not open the car door. The window was rolled down all ready. The boy was origionaly sitting in the front seat when I began fireing. When I fired the first shot at his head, he leaped backwards at the same time, thus spoiling my aim. He ended up on the back seat then the floor in back thashing out very violently with his legs; that's how I shot him in the knee. I did not leave the cene of the killing with squealling tires + raceing engine as described in the Vallejo paper. I drove away quite slowly so as not to draw attention to my car. The man who told police that my car was brown was a negro about 40-45 rather shabbly dressed. I was in this phone booth having some fun with the Vallejo cop when he was walking by. When I hung the phone up the damn thing began to ring & that drew his attention to me and my car. Last Christmass In that epasode the police were wondering how I could shoot and 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 srounded by high hills + trees. What I did was tape a small pencel flash light to the barrel of my gun. If you notice, in the center of the beam of light if you aim it at a wall or ceiling you will see a black or darck spot in the center of the circle of light about 3 to 6 inches across. When taped to a gun barrel, the bullet will strike in the center of the black dot in the light. All I had to do was spray them as if it was a water hose; there was no need to use the gun sights. I was not happy to see that I did not get front page coverage.'


In 1970 police were to investigate a possible link between Darlene Ferrin and her ex husband James Phillips having been involved in the murder, but no evidence was forthcoming to implicate him of having any connection to the events of July 4th 1969.

It has been claimed that Darlene Ferrin was stalked and had been the intended target of the assailant at Blue Rock Springs Park on July 4th 1969, backed up by the claims of her sister Pam Huckaby.

Pam Huckaby stated that on that tragic day Darlene had gone over to her Mum and Dad's house and it was while she was there Darlene said to her mother 'remember that killing I told you about a few years ago, well it's gonna be in the papers tomorrow' - thought to be a premonition of later events.

Pam Huckaby also stated that the man who killed Darlene, also killed Cheri Jo Bates in 1966, with Darlene having been murdered because she was an eyewitness to the earlier crime at Riverside. She was supposed to have known Cheri Jo Bates. Pam Huckaby also claimed that Darlene knew the Zodiac Killer's second victim, Betty Lou Jensen, but there is no evidence to prove such an link.

She asserted that seventeen years later, she felt in danger of her life and suspected the Zodiac Killer was now targeting her, claiming that she found the number 187, the letters TR and the familiar crossed circle trademark sign of the Zodiac emblazoned on her apartment door. 187 means 'murder in progress', but the TR element remains unexplained. Pam Huckaby also recalls that cryptograms, notes, coffins and other bizarre items were constantly sent to her over a three year period. But her credibility has been doubted, herself stating, that the police think she is being put up to it by a movie company or unknown third parties to keep the story alive in the media.

There have been many theories down the years, that Darlene Ferrin was involved in a satanic cult and was stalked in the run up to her murder, possibly knowing her killer. But there is no evidence to support this. The police have often been accused for their lack of background investigation, but this is contradicted by investigators, who claim people close to Darlene Ferrin, continue to change and enhance their version of events as time goes by, further complicating the line of fact and fiction.

Many theories have been put forward in an attempt to locate the likely home residence of the Zodiac Killer during the period of his four confirmed attacks, presuming of course he had a fixed abode. But if he did, where was it and did he leave any clues to point us in the right direction. This has been tackled many times before under the banner of geographical profiling, but like anything, it relies heavily on a presumption of fixed residence, the killer's working pattern, traveling distances, buffer zones, the least effort principle and such like. Here we will make one preliminary assumption, based on the killer's movements directly after the murder and attempted murder of Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau at Blue Rock Springs on July 4th 1969, that in all likelihood he headed for the safety of home after the attack and examines a timeline that suggests that San Francisco was an unlikely destination. This does not entirely preclude San Francisco as a possibility for a base location, it just suggests that if he traveled home that morning, San Francisco would have seemed an odd choice, bearing in mind what we know of the events that night in the vicinity of the Blue Rock Springs Park.

After the attack, the Zodiac Killer exited Blue Rock Springs parking lot at approximately midnight and made the phone call to Nancy Slover at 12.40 am at the intersection of Springs and Tuolumne. The intervening 40 minutes are unknown. It has been stated many times that we have a missing 30 minutes, as we know the journey time to the payphone is roughly 10 minutes. This however is factually incorrect, as it makes the assumption of redundant time. If the killer for example, headed to his Benicia home and returned to the payphone, he had 40 minutes available to him, as he did if he lived en route to the payphone or right beside it. The missing 30 minutes takes a premise that 10 minutes is wasted time.

But the question still remains, he made a phone call 40 minutes after the attack, when it could conceivably have been made as early as 12.10 am. So what was the Zodiac Killer doing during this timeline. Was he disposing his weapon nearby or at home, was he parked up somewhere or just driving aimlessly around in the night.

There are good reasons to believe the killer was a resident of Benicia, as the driving time to this location for the safe disposal of the weapon and a turnaround time of 10 minutes, takes us back to the payphone at Springs and Tuolumne at exactly 12.40 am. But if he was a resident of Vallejo, a home location somewhere in the vicinity of the payphone is equally credible, particularly as some have suggested, he walked back to the Springs and Tuolumne intersection, as a means of drawing less attention to himself. It has also been noted that prime suspect Arthur Leigh Allen's residence at 32 Fresno Street was only half a mile or as little as 9 minutes walking distance from the payphone. A journey time to Fresno Street from Blue Rock Springs Park is about 10 minutes, the walk to the payphone is 9 minutes, leaving a turnaround time of 21 minutes, had the killer gone straight home to this residence.

But the question remains, if the killer was a resident of San Francisco and headed for home immediately after the Blue Rock Springs attack, where is the logic applied to the missing 40 minutes and the choice of payphone. Are we to assume he drove around randomly in the night or sat in his car for a notable period of time, made the call to Nancy Slover, then departed for San Francisco.

Whatever route you take from Blue Rock Springs Park to San Francisco, there are innumerable opportunities to make a phone call on the journey home and most, if not all, provide a much safer option than placing the call at Springs and Tuolumne. If the killer lived in San Francisco the perfect buffer zone from the murder scene and home, would be a mid point between the two locations, but based on San Francisco, the received phone call appears on the face of it an unnecessary risk. The missing 40 minutes can be explained with Benicia or Vallejo, on the understanding that his primary motive was to ditch the weapon before he placed the call. The same cannot be said of San Francisco, despite the reasoned argument that most of the Zodiac Killer's correspondence was mailed from this location, suggesting this was more likely his place of work rather than his doorstep.

Of course it would be presumptuous to exclude San Francisco based on this analysis alone, as there are other possibilities, but if the Zodiac Killer's first thought was to head home after the Blue Rock Springs attack, this choice of payphone has relevance. Had the Zodiac Killer headed across the bay, he would still have had a thirty plus mile journey ahead of him to the safety of home, seemingly in contradiction to traveling west towards the heart of Vallejo, some 40 minutes after the attack, and placing a phone call, that inherently could have been made from anywhere.
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