Method of attack:Cecelia Shepard,
age 22, was stabbed 10 times, five in the front and five in the back. Bryan Hartnell, age
20, was stabbed six times in the back. The knife had a wooden handle and a blade
approximately 10 to 12 inches long. There was no indication of robbery or sexual
molestation. There were no witnesses.
Below: Inside the Lake Berryessa evidence room:
Details: According to the police report, the couple
was relaxing on a blanket at a very remote location by the lake. Shepard noticed a man
approaching them wearing an unusual costume
and holding a gun. He appeared to be more than 6'0" tall with a heavy build. The man
claimed he was a prison escapee from either Montana or Colorado and needed money and a car to flee to
Mexico. Hartnell offered his wallet and car keys, which weren't taken. After several
minutes of conversation, the man tied the couple with plastic clothesline and began
stabbing them. Hartnell was attacked first, then Shepard. After the assault, the man
walked casually away from the scene.
After several minutes, a nearby fisherman heard the couple screaming and alerted park
rangers. By the time help arrived, Shepard and Hartnell had managed to untie their
restraints. It took nearly an hour for an ambulance to arrive, at which time both victims
were in critical condition. Just over an hour after the attack, the Napa Police Department
received a call from a man claiming responsibility for the stabbing. The call was quickly
traced to a phone booth in downtown Napa and fingerprints were later recovered. Meanwhile,
Napa County Sheriff's Department deputies
were responding to the crime scene. They found that the attacker had written a message on
the victim's car door. The message included the dates of the
Faraday-Jensen and Ferrin-Mageau attacks and was signed with a cross-circle symbol. Tire tracks indicated the killer had
parked behind the victims' car. Size 10 1/2 Wing Walker shoe prints were recovered
from the scene, indicating a suspect weighing more than 210 pounds. Detectives later
located three young women who had noticed a strange man in the general area just a couple of hours
before the attack. Shepard died
within 48 hours of the stabbing. Her funeral services attracted a huge crowd of mourners.
Hartnell recovered from his
wounds and is now an attorney in Southern California. While Bryan gave many interviews in the first few years after the attack, he
is no longer discussing the case with the news media. Many suspects were scrutinized, including serial
killer Ted Bundy. A February 1989 comparison
of fingerprints helped clear Bundy of this crime.
Conclusion: This was a bizarre and horrifying crime. A careful consideration of the
facts should dispel all myths that Zodiac was simply a super-criminal only intent on
taunting the police. Rather, he was a very warped individual who apparently had grown
bored with mere killing. He now apparently needed to implement extremely bizarre behavior
in order to achieve satisfaction.