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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 nine 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.
Below: Darlene Ferrin's sister, Pam Huckaby, confronts Mike Mageau:
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", 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 at
the Zodiac Letters page.)