CONFIRMED ZODIAC KILLER VICTIMS
Darlene Ferrin & Mike Mageau
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Killed: Ferrin, July 5, 1969 (Saturday)
Wounded: Mageau, July 5, 1969 (Saturday)
Case number: 243146
Time of attack: Approximately 12:10 a.m.
Place of attack: The parking lot of secluded Blue Rock Springs Park on the eastern outskirts of Vallejo, Calif.
Method of attack: Darlene Ferrin, age 22, was shot five times. Mike Mageau, age 19, was shot four times. The weapon was a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. There was no indication of robbery or sexual molestation. There were no witnesses.
Details: Ferrin was married and worked as a waitress at Terry’s Restaurant. Mageau was single and worked as a laborer. Ferrin’s husband, Dean, was initially a suspect in the murder, however, was ruled out once it was established he was working as a cook at Caesar’s Restaurant at the time of the murder. Ferrin’s first husband, James Phillips Crabtree, was also briefly a suspect. According to surviving victim Mageau, he and Ferrin had parked at the isolated location to talk. A car, possibly a light-brown Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Corvair, pulled into the lot just a few feet away. A man with a flashlight exited the vehicle and approached them. There were no other cars in the parking lot. Thinking it was a police officer, the couple had their identification ready. Without warning, the man began firing at the couple. After five shots were fired, the man walked slowly back to his car. Mageau screamed in pain, at which point the man returned and fired two more shots into each victim. It was at this point that Mageau got a look at him. The man was white, 5’8″ to 5’9″, in his late 20s to early 30s, stocky build, round face, and brown hair. No conversation between the victims and the man occurred. Approximately 45 minutes later, the Vallejo Police Department received a call from a man claiming responsibility for the attack. He correctly identified the weapon used as a 9mm and also took credit for the Faraday-Jensen murders of Dec. 20, 1968. For the next few weeks, the investigation went nowhere. Then, on July 31, 1969, letters were sent to the Vallejo Times-Herald, San Francisco Examiner, and San Francisco Chronicle. The letters claimed to be from the killer of Faraday, Jensen, and Ferrin. Details were included that only the killer could have known. And each letter contained one-third of a cipher that, if solved, supposedly contained the killer’s identity. While the killer hadn’t yet given himself the name “Zodiac,” this marked the beginning of a letter-writing spree that would go on for more than five years.
Conclusion: In 1991, Mike Mageau identified Arthur Leigh Allen as being the shooter. This identification was the result of Mageau being shown a photo lineup by George Bawart of the Vallejo Police Department. When Bawart asked Mageau why he had never identified Allen in the 20 years Allen had been the top suspect, Mageau said that he had never been shown any pictures of suspects and he had only been asked if he recognized certain names. If Mageau’s statement is true, it’s probably the biggest law-enforcement blunder of modern times.
(NOTE: Zodiac’s letters detailing the Faraday, Jensen, and Ferrin murders can be found on the Zodiac Letters page.)