Bryan Hartnell Interview Message Board: Cecelia Shepard and Bryan Hartnell: Bryan Hartnell Interview

By Tom Voigt (Admin) ( - on Monday, December 16, 2002 - 08:02 pm:

I've posted the entire 12-page interview Bryan Hartnell gave investigators shortly after he was attacked by the Zodiac.

Here's a link.

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Monday, December 16, 2002 - 10:57 pm:

Thanks for the Christmass gift, Tom. Its always a rich experience to read original source material.

By Warren (Warren) ( - on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 - 07:47 am:

Wow! and I am sending a donation. That is one incredible story.

By Zander Kite (Zk) ( - on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 - 02:42 pm:

I shall also contribute, but after the Christmass rush. If I'm not mistaken, there was some argument over whether Zodiac mentioned Montana or Colorado. At any rate, I'll accept this interview as evidence that Zodiac refer(r)ed to Montana, possibly even Deer Lodge.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 - 05:28 pm:

Yes, Message Board, there really is a Santa Claus!

Thanks, Tom!!!

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 - 10:34 pm:

Zodiac Composite Contest!

It is clear from Tom's generous post that this is the best firsthand description of Z we have seen to date. (Unless we've dated Tom and are privy to his entire collection.) I propose that a prize be awarded to whoever can come up with the best likeness of Z at Berryessa based on victim Brian Hartnell's description.

If you were to draw a picture of Zodiac from Hartnell's description alone, based on Hartnell's words only, what would Z look like? And why?

I'll post the prize, to be announced 1/1/03. All entries must be posted by that date. Winner to be announced when I have tallied the results of comments on each post and calculated the degree to which they comport with my own prejudices and agenda, unless Tom wants to endorse the contest and take over the judging.

You may use a quote from Hartnell not included in this interview if and only if (1) it is a verifiable, direct quote, and (2) you supply the complete context/source to all other contestants, by posting on this thread.

Hints, helpful and otherwise, will be posted at random.

Hint No. 1: how many times does Hartnell use the word "hood"?

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Wednesday, December 18, 2002 - 04:08 am:

That Prize wouldn't be a Razor would it?

Don't think we are going to come away from this with a hell of a lot more than the "very little" that we already have.His weight estimate is interesting though.He describes him as "Stout" and puts the weight between 225 and 250lbs.We have heard reasonable arguments that the "windbreaker" and general sloppiness of his attrire could put this estimate on the high side.
An interesting remark though (perhaps)is that he said that Zodiacs pants/trousers were "tight".
Given that the windbreaker came below the waistline I am assuming that this observation related to the "fit" around the legs.I would therefore be inclined to conclude that Hartnell's
guess wasn't all that far out.He did spend a lot of time trying to study this individual and think he would have noticed if the weight distribution was way off.
Either way I would be inclined to put Zodiacs height as taller than 5f8'.How much,I don't know.
If the guy is carrying this weight then 5ft 8 makes him a little more than "Stout".On the flip,in these circumstances,if Zodiac was much lighter I think the height would have to go up for Hartnell to put him that heavy.

By Warren (Warren) ( - on Wednesday, December 18, 2002 - 07:43 am:

After re-reading the interview, I just cannot get the picture of Homer Simpson out of my head.

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Wednesday, December 18, 2002 - 11:22 am:

Excellent idea on the Razor, maybe signed by William of Occam. Interesting observations on height and weight. Remember the rules, however: based on Hartnell's words.

Great image!

Hint no 2.: Just exactly how did Hartnell see Z's hair?

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) ( - on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 12:33 am:

What if Foukes and Zelms had pulled over the white man they saw? They may have both been shot to death. Or this case may have been solved on Oct 11, 1969.

After reading the Hartnell interview, I wonder what if Hartnell had acted on his assumption that Zodiac's gun was empty? Hartnell and Sheppard both may have died. Or this case may have been solved sept 27, 1969.

Its amazing, frustrating and many other emotions to think one event could have changed so many things. Hartnell must carry this with him even to this day.

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) ( - on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 12:38 am:

Actually nevermind that. I must skipped over the page that showed Zodiac did have bullets in there. :(

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 12:45 am:

Don't worry about it, Ryan...there's a lot of new stuff to absorb.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) ( - on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 06:28 pm:

On page 5, Hartnell clearly tells Sgt. Robertson that "The doctor says there's six in the back, six wounds on my back." So much for Penn's assertion that Hartnell was stabbed seven times, which he claimed was reported in The Napa Register (it wasn't). Another instance of altering facts to support one's theory.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 07:56 am:

At the bottom of page 7, where Brian and the officer are specifically discussing Z's physical description, Brian asks the officer, "How tall are you?" The officer responds, "I'm about 5'11"." Then, on page 8, in reference to Brian's observation of the officer's height, Brian says, "He [meaning Z] could be about the same."

I've always found this to be somewhat curious for the simple fact that one could easily interpret that to mean that the Zodiac could have been as tall as 5'11". When you combine that with Foukes' testimony [he put Z at 5'10"], one has to wonder why the composite, with regard to height, relies on Mageau's and the 3 teens' testimony rather than Hartnell's and Foukes'?

To be honest, this is one of the reasons why I have my doubts about the viability of the SFPD composite, even without having to discuss whether or not the composite is a rendering of Zodiac's disguise.


By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) ( - on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 03:28 pm:

Is there that big of a difference between 5'8"-5'11"? I could see some people just writing that off and putting either 5'8" or 5'11". While I don't see a huge difference in 3 inches (no jokes please), at the same time it does hurt credibility ala Hines and his disregard for other reports of Zodiac's description by simply narrowing it to 40-45 years, 5'9" and 165 pds just because it fits his suspect.

Maybe the SPFD did not have as much confidence in the man Foukes saw because the man he saw was someone who resembled the description who happened to be in the area. Was that Zodiac for sure? As far as Hartnell's description, the hood may have been altered to make his head appear a bit taller.

SPFD may have viewed Mageau and the 3 teens description as more credible because the man they saw was definitely the shooter and he was not disguised like LB.

Not saying I 100% agree with this, those are simply possibilities to explain this discrepancy.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Saturday, January 04, 2003 - 07:28 am:

"Is there that big of a difference between 5'8"-5'11"?"

I think so. It's easy to find out for yourself with a little bit of experimentation. I did it for myself and was convinced that a 3-inch height differential was easily discernable. I think people are more able to distinguish general characteristics [height, weight, race, gender] than specific ones [age, facial features, hair color and length, color of eyes, etc.], unless it is a detail/feature that is readily noticeable to anyone [tattoo, wart, one eye, missing nose, etc.].

Look at it this way; many Allen detractors dismiss him outright because of the height that was posted on the SFPD composite. Is that reasonable? I certainly don't think so.

As for Foukes, I'd be skeptical if it were coming from only one source, but the fact remains that it is coming from two: Foukes and Zodiac. If either of them had mentioned the encounter without the corroboration of the other, I could easily dismiss it, but not as it stands at present.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Saturday, January 04, 2003 - 08:45 pm:

Scott, I tend to think that height estimations in general are more subject to error based on viewing angle, proximity of comparable standards of reference, and other conditions that affect perception, whereas estimations of weight rely less on these influencing factors present at the time of observation and more on the witness's experiential frames of reference, namely their conscious and subconscious recall of people of comparable appearance.

The Hartnell interview at the hospital yielded a weight approximation of 225 to 250. Mageau told officers that the suspect was 195 to 200, or even larger, with a round face. These weight estimations, irrespective of height, suggest that the suspect was of heavy build. While some will point out that bulkiness of clothing at Berryessa could account for an erroneous estimation, Hartnell did say that the suspect wore a thin, light-weight cotton windbreaker. And the soil-compaction tests did suggest a weight consistent with Hartnell's description, however unreliable some posters regard the testing process to have been.

Add to that the "lumbering" gait of the man seen walking away from the scene by Foukes, along with his weight estimation, and all verifiable witnesses, from BRS to LB to PH, have described him as stocky/overweight, again, irrespective of whatever height they approximated. It is understandable, however subjectively, for proponents of suspects who are neither stocky nor noticeably overweight to rationalize away these witness reports, whether through "bulky" clothing or other manner of disguise, or by dismissing their accuracy as unreliable.

I am 5'10", and I wouldn't be at all surprised if brief witnessing of my presence resulted in height approximations from 5'8" to 6', and perhaps even shorter/taller, but I'll bet that not a one would fail to notice that I'm stocky (overweight). Heighth, much like age (especially with pre-adults), is often difficult to gauge by untrained observers, but weight disproportionate to height is more readily discernible. If the consensus of Z witnesses is that he was overweight/stocky, perhaps that's because he was.

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Saturday, January 04, 2003 - 08:48 pm:

Hartnell also said he could have been 5ft 8.And yes that hood would make someone look taller. My first report in 88 on the suspect Kane, I told the police he was about 6ft tall. The next time the suspect came into my job I stood next to him he was much shorter! It turns out he was 5ft 8 or 9. His legs are long, but his upper half is stocky and short. The first composite that SFPD sent out had the suspect at 5ft8, 30 to 45 yrs old, Hines didn't have anything to do with that!!

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Saturday, January 04, 2003 - 09:44 pm:

Sandy, the first SFPD composite was not accurate and that is why it was changed.

By the way, can you post messages without mentioning Kane?

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 01:13 am:

Mageau said that the(hoodless) shooter was
"short" or "about 5'8"."Dave Peterson told me by phone that he personally heard this remark from Mageau-the guy was "short" not tall.MM was sitting right next to Zodiac!A Covair is,as we all know, a very small vehicle.He used the Covairs height to do his estimate.This height tallies nicely with the teens 5'8".They were there ,we wern't!We can simply disagree.
As an FYI,Kathleen Johns told me her abductor(Zodiac claimed to be that man by writing that he 'gave her a ride for a couple of hours a few months back')was about 5'9".
As to Hartnell, he went as low as 5'8" in his estimate -and keep in mind, the perp had a HOOD on his head ,thus casting some doubt as to his true height.So to go as low as 5'8" is quite remarkable and even more so when we consider the hooded figure had boots on!Did he have heel lifts too?They can bring up height to about three inches!Anti detection books in the 60s recommended them as part of ones 'disguise.'And ,yes,they can cause deep impressions in soft soil.I am 210 lbs and can produce deep soil impaction by the WAY I walk.I am NOT a 'large' person.Ed did the same thing at LB.
Enough has been said about this aspect in past posts to more than run it in the ground!There were no scales at any of the crime scenes-just 'appearance.'
I am not covering for my guy who was "husky,""heavyset" and "muscular"-I have no alterior motives on this deal here.
Consider again, the fact that at least a good portion of the time Hartnell was ON the ground looking UP at his attacker.He even asks Z if he can stand up,etc.I have gone through the reports looking for the positions of BH in relation to the perp.The entire outfit gives one an imposing stature.
How much space existed from the top of the head to the top portion of the hood?This is vital.Again,I estimate as much as three inches is possible.
Of course,as to possible weight,we know BH went as low as 160lbs!He kept talking about how 'baggy' the perps clothing was and that this could account for a heavier appearance,etc.
I say, when all accounts are in ,MMs use of the Corvairs height to estimate Zs height(SHORT or 5'8") and the fact he was right NEXT to the attacker, is probably the most reliable.He had a 'standard'or gauge- the others didn't.
I know I have argued that the teens could have used the height of the cab and the man they saw standing next to it as a fix too,but it doesn't compare(but still of value) to MMS unique situation,in my opinion.I also know it will never be resolved,short (no pun!)of a confirmed confession with case fact.It is dim indeed.

By Brian_D (Brian_D) ( - on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 06:53 am:

Howard, et al: I once had an art teacher who pointed out when drawing the human figure, people are seven heads tall regardlees of their height. If Bryan Hartnell saw the Zodiac's shoulders protruding out from under the hood, it is a relatively easy guestimate to add theadditional head height.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 10:48 pm:

Please read my post.This was NOT an ordinary sighting-this man had on a large hood!How much space existed between the top of the perps head and the top of the hood itself?I feel, considering its design ,it could have been some three inches.I think that space was deliberately developed to present false height just in case something went wrong and there was a witness from afar(look how Fong and his son appeared on the scene),or that there was another Mageau.And this did happen-in Bryans survival!
I can't help but think of det.Bakers case in S.B.where the couple broke loose and the perp had to give chase.It would not have been impossible for one of them to have escaped.Remote,but it must have been troubling to the perp.Also,did his perp(whom I believe was Zodiac-just a theory)wear a disguise of some sort?There is always the hunter or hiker that can come on a scene.Interesting to consider.
The hood had a bib that came over his shoulders and he was wearing a bulky jacket and pants.He was wearing boots and all of this prevented an accurate estimate of his height and weight.
Even the perps voice presented difficulty for BH.He knew it was some kind of drawl,but what kind?The voice was actually a monotone of sorts.
I do think the dark brown sweaty, greasy hair that BH saw was a coup,but taken with the rest of his estimations, brings us to our intense contraversy as seen in numerous posts which I reviewed.
BH admits his difficulty in drawing firm conclusions based on the obstacles as presented.
I say Zs strategy worked!A myriad of posts, just on this site, proves the attacker or Zodiac was successful.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 11:49 pm:

Howard, you said, "... he was wearing a bulky jacket ..."

Sorry to contradict, but during the 9-28-69 interview with Sgt. Robertson, Bryan said, "But he had on this cotton coat . . . They're real light, super thin, you know . . ." "Yeah, like a windbreaker." Now he might have had other bulk under the coat, but it is misleading to say that the jacket itself was bulky.

Similarly, you wrote, "He was wearing boots ..." Wing Walkers are shoes, with ankle-high uppers. They've been likened to chukka boots, and I suppose in this respect they could be referred to as boots, but I think that can also be misleading if the term "boot" is used to imply that the wearer gained added heighth, more so than what "shoes" would provide. The additional heighth from boots is usually from a higher heel, which Wing Walkers do not have.

Since I'm already being uncharacteristically critical of someone I trust and admire, allow me one parting remark. In an earlier post, discussing Bryan's description of his assailant's height, you said, "As to Hartnell, he went as low as 5'8" in his estimate." True, but let's put it in the proper context: He said, "Maybe 5-8 or maybe 5-10, 6 feet, somewhere in there." As I said before, height estimations by witnesses are not always reliable, whereas weight-disproportionate-to-height descriptions are more often valid.

Howard, forgive me for taking you to task on these items, but I'd hate for anyone to accuse you of emulating Hines and his spin-to-fit style of establishing reasonable cause.

By Brian_D (Brian_D) ( - on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 05:42 am:

Howard. I did read your post. Please read and THINK about my previous one and this one. You missed the very point a very simple and straightforward post was making. Each person is seven human heads tall. That is, their body is proportionaly seven of their own head's dimensions tall. The only difference would be if he were grossly deformed(don't read overweight), than yes, the above formula wouldn't be valid. My point cuts underneath the tired hood argument and tells us what we otherwise couldn't see. Take Z's body (i.e. soles to shoulder), divvy up into six equal sections and "add" an additional section for the head and you have his height. Try this on anyone you see. Believe it or not it does work.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 08:03 am:


You talked about a person's "experiential frames of reference, namely their conscious and subconscious recall of people of comparable appearance."

I see exactly what you are saying but am thinking that the same thing applies to height. It seems to me that an individual's most natural frame of reference is going to be their self: "that person is taller than me, that person is shorter, that person is the same height as me, or the same height as my brother," etc. I do, however, realize that we don't live in an ideal world, and that often times there are things that disrupt or distort our perceptions.

Also, you wrote, "If the consensus of Z witnesses is that he was overweight/stocky, perhaps that's because he was."

Exactly! Yet other reasons why I think it unwise to place so much emphasis on the SFPD composite: Where is the round face? What about the composite represents a stock or heavy build? It's pretty ridiculous when you think about it, don't you agree?

I still see Mageau, Hartnell, and Foukes, as the most credible witnesses in this case. The only alternative is to go with the testimony of the 3 teens, as SFPD apparently did, and then post a composite drawing that goes entirely against the grain of all of the other testimony. I swear that cursed composite threw an irreparable kink into this case from the moment it was penned!

If one values the eyewitness testimony in it's entirety, rather than in bits and pieces, I'm of the opinion that a clearer picture begins to take shape. In fact, I honestly wonder, why wasn't the SFPD composite revised for a second time? Of course, it could still be done, but it would take someone with more skill in drawing than I possess.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 08:20 am:

Brian D.,

Excellent point about the 7 heads to height ratio! I think that you may be the first to have mentioned it and it is a principle that is taught every day in art classes all around the globe. Excellent job on 'going beneath the hood'!

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 01:57 am:

No problem, as it is opposition that stimulates thought and various concepts;but comparing my ideas or presentation of facts to ol' Harv' Hines was hard to take!
Chukkas(from old Sanskrit word meaning circle or wheel FYI)are called boots as well as shoes.GS did so in his book and the interchangeable usuage of shoe and boot is found in the NPD reports:"Showed R/O a pair of chukker boots...Wing Walker shoes.".I spoke to a man who wore chukkas in the AF and he used the term boot and shoe in referring to chukkas.He also said they do bring up ones height.
I researched the history of the chukka and it is called a boot and a shoe.
When I used the term boots I ALSO made reference to the possibility that Z used heel lifts in them.When one examines the photo of a chukka from the side we see a heel/sole that would bring an individual up an inch to an inch and one half or more.See Toms photos of the chukka.Pretty tough and stiff 'shoe'!
A lot of street shoes have fairly thin soles/heels as compared to many boot designs I have seen over the years.This kind of footwear also can make deeper impressions on susceptable soil composition.A boot gives one more push power than a street shoe,generally speaking.
I note that the famous so called compaction test was NOT done until the NEXT day and only one man weighing 210 lbs. was used to test impression depth!The consumate perfectionist Sherwood Morrill displayed serious doubts about the LB test due to overnight moisture differences and other considerations.I have posted on the many faults of this very poor test.Dave Peterson rejected it.
As to the jacket remark I offer the following from interviews GS had with BH:"But the guy[Zodiac]had a jacket on ...but you know one of the early things I screwed them up on is that I had this guy as being really fat.I said either the guy was moderately heavy and wearing a windbreaker ,or he was skinny and wearing a lined jacket....kind of a cotton poplin ,crew collar,and gathered around the sleeves ,ordinary garden-variety short jacket.How much he weighed depended on whether that was lined or unlined...Weight is solid ,not flabby ;or the man's stomach hung over his trousers or he had puffy air filled jacket...He had to be fairly lightweight(without puffed up jacket).All the guys the police had me look at were really husky guys."
When asked by a detective if the perp was larger or about his size, BH said that the suspect had loose or floppy clothes on -not a suit like the one the detective was wearing during the interview.He was indicating that it all depended on how much the perps clothes revealed or covered.He could not be postive because of the baggy clothes and the large hood with bib that went down over the perps shoulders and to the suspects waist-and he had on a shirt(wool?) on under the jacket!BH said the attacker could have been"... wearing a thickly lined windbreaker."
In one place BH goes as low as 160 lbs.and another low as being 200lbs.(I am 210 lbs.) and the age as being 20-30(Slaight said "young" in his "early 20's")and one report says "Victim[BH] states suspect was 5'8" to 6'."I will still accept my post quotes from BHs lips as to Zs possible height!One report says BH made a remark that his weight was as low as 200 lbs.
I say-and no criticism intended- we simply can't trust Hartnells confusing estimates.I placed them all together in parallel form and what we get is the Rubber Man!
I was NOT excercising any form of deception in my post.I have posted extensively on the LB crime and was one of the very few that tried to quote-inspite of my poor and very sluggish typing skills due to my ADD- from the PD reports when I felt it was needful.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 03:41 pm:


For those not familiar with a chukka-style boot/shoe, reference the above link.


Yes, the Wing Walker was a boot/shoe of this type. However, to say that it adds height to an individual wearing them is somewhat misleading and, to be honest with you, confusing as well. Are you saying that, even if Hartnell was able to nail Zodiac's height to the nearest half inch that we'd have to subtract "an inch to an inch and one half" from his real height? In other words, Zodiac was only 5'6.5" - 5'7"? Let's be realistic here, that is short for a man, no matter how you choose to slice it. The fact of the matter is that chukka-style boots/shoes aren't going to add anything more to a person's height than an ordinary pair of athletic shoes. Sure, they'll add something, but they won't make a short person look tall. As to the 'lifts,' sure it's possible, but that means an 'explanation' is needed to account for a suspect's deficiency in height [sorry, Ed. lol] instead of relying on the most reliable testimony. Keep in mind that both Hartnell and Mageau are taller than Allen was. Could that be the thing that forever threw the 'objective' slant toward a shorter perp? Seems just as likely to me, and it needs nothing other than the facts, no explanations as to the discrepancies. Also, Brian D's "7 heads" explanation is a good thing to keep in mind. Granted, I have no idea how tall Z was to the shoulder, but I feel confidant in the fact that both Mageau and Hartnell were slightly taller than Z. My point is that there is no way on God's green earth that Allen can be eliminated because he was too short.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 03:45 pm:

Or, too tall, for that matter.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) ( - on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 04:32 pm:

The 7-head tall thing is good, but, if you can't see the top of the head, how can one estimate one's height unless you have a good idea about the shoulders? I don't often look at someone's shoulders when estimating height, I look for the top of the head. I imagine Hartnell wasn't looking at Z's shoulders at the time either, so that might account for his confusion as to Z's actual height.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 06:12 pm:

I think most people don't have to deliberately look at the top of someone's head when they form an opinion of height, any more than having to look at the individual letters in a word to know what it is. Even so, it does seem valid that if the top of the head was obscured by a hood that could have added an inch or more to the height, the overall impression could be skewed. Then again, maybe a person's subconscious would factor in the hood and make an automatic adjustment in relation to the rest of the person, as with a word with an extra or incorrect letter on the end. Regardless, my earlier point that height estimations are less reliable still stands (no pun intended).

By Ed N. (Ed_N) ( - on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 06:41 pm:

Quite right, Bill. The point I was making is that I look at someone's head/face rather than their shoulders when estimating height. Brian's point is valid too, but if I couldn't accurately estimate one's height because of a hood, I'd probably look at their eyes rather than shoulders.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 07:10 pm:

Greetings small one LOL!If one takes off their shoes and measures their height and then puts on the chukkas pictured in Toms site, I guarantee there will be an increase,not a decrease in height.
Since I was speaking from a COLLECTIVE standpoint,not a SINGULAR one,that is,we could take into consideration possible use of heel lifts AND space from the top of the perps head to the surface of Zs large hood,we then could add at least,with shoe/boot height ,about three inches.
Three possible sources of height,plus the fact BH spent most of the time on the ground looking UP at his attacker, we have,I believe, a distorted estimate of Zs true height.Not BHs fault considering the fact the man was wearing that baggy costume.
With Zs penchant for disguise it is not impossible for the above to be factual.
Since the top of the hood was square this could be an indication a graduation cap was the foundation of the hood.Not a bad idea either!You create false height and you have a good foundation for an executioner type hood.Some of the caps I have seen are quite tall from botton or head rest to the surface portion.
I am not ruling ALA or any suspect out by my observations.Part of our job as a poster,as you know,is to challenge everything.
When I carefully read all of Hartnells testimony as to height and weight I found there was no set point,just estimates that RANGED from one standard to another.Any lawyer would have a picnic and a drink to his testimony when defending his client using BHs statements.
I am allowing for a height starting from around 5'8" to around 6'.Weight will be from around 160lbs to 250 lbs.I can argue either way as it is all based on BHs WIDE ranging estimates.He kept saying "I don't know"-let's believe him!
You seem concerned with protecting a tall man while I am saying either is possible.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 12:20 am:

I agree that the seven head deal just doesn't apply here due to the costume.It was mentioned that the 'system' works unless there is some deformed condition in the person.
I say the negative condition in this case is the large square hood with the bib falling over the SHOULDERS down to the perps waist AND with a windbreaker on with possibly a wool shirt under that!
All of this is compounded if the guy wore heel lifts.The chukkas brought him up(certainly not down- pre-in bare feet measure height, then put on chukkas- post taller!) a bit too.
And with the, no doubt, hollow space from the top of the assailants head to the top of the hood would create enough distortion to invalidate the seven head method of true height estimation.
You can see BH is tormented in the reports as he tries to come to a settled conclusion as to height and weight,etc.-and he can't!

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 11:49 am:

Howard, you wrote, "I agree that the seven head deal just doesn't apply here due to the costume."

See Link:


Bill wrote, "maybe a person's subconscious would factor in the hood and make an automatic adjustment in relation to the rest of the person, as with a word with an extra or incorrect letter on the end."

I certainly think that would be the case, though obviously hyperbolized, in this instance. Thanks, Ed!

Bill also wrote, "Regardless, my earlier point that height estimations are less reliable still stands (no pun intended)."

I've got to admit, it sounds pretty reasonable to me. So what are we saying here? That it's reasonable to place Zodiac's height at anywhere from 5'8" - 6'0" given the unreliability of testimony as to height?

Board: I'm curious for more of your opinions on Z's height. Given the info we have, if you were the one drawing the 'revised' Zodiac composite what, if any, changes would you make to the original SFPD composite, including the 'language' of the poster?

By Brian_D (Brian_D) ( - on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 02:27 pm:

Come on, people. What I wrote was if you couldn't see the head because of the hood be it form fitting as a ski mask or standing fourteen feet above his crown, just start at the shoulders, divide the visible body down to the feet into six equal parts and add a seventh for total height.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 02:53 pm:

Brian: I understand that. However, I vaguely recall hearing about that 7-head thing before you mentioned it, and I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't common knowledge. So, I hardly think that Hartnell was thinking about that at the time, otherwise he wouldn't have been so confused about Z's height. For example:

Hartnell: He was wearing this hood, so I couldn't judge his height properly. Because I'm so tall, I have a problem with that anyway. He could have been anywhere from, say, 5'8" to 6'2".

RO: Hmm... well, it's a well-known fact that the human body is exactly 7 heads high. In other words, if you can tell us how high his shoulders were, we can calculate the perp's exact height.

Hartnell: Really? That's way cool. His shoulders came up to about here on me...

RO: That's exactly 5 feet. So, 60 inches, divide by 6 and mulitply by 7 makes the Zodiac killer exactly 5'10"!

Hartnell: Awesome, dude!

It would have been great if the interview went that way. Even if Hartnell knew that fact, he still wasn't looking at Z's shoulders in order to estimate his height, which is unfortunate.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 03:47 pm:

It's kind of hard to guesstimate anything when you've got a loaded pistol in your face. Be that as it may, I suppose Hartnell is to be greatly faulted--not for bringing his girlfriend to an out-of-the-way place for you-know-what to get killed, but for failing to properly apply the seven heads rule!

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 06:59 pm:

I think our debate as to the accuracy of the height estimation is getting us nowhere. If Det. William will comment I bet he will agree that eyewitness testimony on such matters tends to be very unpredictable. If a perp. is captured some witnesses are found to be right on the money to an amazing degree, while others are so far off it is ridiculous. Where on this continuum can we place Mr. Hartnell's skill? We have no idea!
Further, I would not rule out a suspect based only on a size discrepancy of 2-3 inches, I don't think most witnesses are more accurate than that.
What do you think, Det. William? I'll wager you've heard more eyewitness testimony than everybody else on this board combined, or darned near it! Would you ever place enough relibility on eyewitness height and weight to rule out a suspect who was within + or - 5%? I'll yield to your expertize.
One new, and final, comment: from my old psychological training individuals tend to over-estimate size of those in a position of authority (or intimidation and threat). Given this fact, if Mr. hartnell's estimation is to be relied on heavily I believe it more likely that he overestimated than underestimated. Nuff said.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 07:08 pm:

Did anybody get the point I was trying to make in my last post?

I get what Brian is saying and Bill has touched on it too: If Z's hood were anywhere near as out of proportion to the rest of his body as in the picture I provided, common sense would take over and either consciously or subconsciously register the fact that 'the hood' is making the perp look taller.

Hell, perhaps Hartnell isn't the best witness with regard to Zodiac's height after all. The more I think about it, there is nothing to really suggest that Hartnell ever saw the Zodiac from any other vantage than sitting, kneeling, or laying on the ground. I'll tell you what though; the testimony of the 3 teens certainly isn't any better.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 07:16 pm:

Excellent points, Mike! We were obviously posting at the same time. Also, Bill already gave his opinion as to eyewitness testimony with regard to height. He said, 'unreliable,' and you said, 'unpredictable.' I have no alternative but to go with y'all on this one.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 08:30 pm:


Tell you what. I won't call you Dr. Michael if you'll just call me Bill.

As just about anyone will concede, eyewitness testimony/accounts are notoriously unreliable, although such courtroom IDs are called direct evidence, rather than circumstantial, which includes fingerprint and DNA comparisons. And it isn't only so-called untrained observers, because cops can be way off too. Whether it's height or weight or age, a certain amount of latitude must be given to any witness description. I'd rather put out a wanted bulletin on an unknown suspect that gave his ht,wt and age in ranges, such as 5'8" to 5'10", 175-195, mid-twenties to early thirties, etc., rather than limit the potential for identification by being too specific. Specifics can be provided in other ways, if available, such as a large mole or wart on the side of the nose, a lazy eye, a prominent facial scar, unusual tattoo, or whatever. Can you imagine bringing a defendant to court and having the defense attorney point out that the wanted bulletin specifically described the suspect as two inches shorter, twenty pounds lighter and ten years older than the defendant? That's called exculpatory evidence.

If a bulletin is distributed which gives a specific height, weight and age, and the cops or citizens who read it and use that strict criteria to try and find the unknown perp, chances are better than even that the perp will turn out to be none of the above. Even artist's sketches of the perp's face should merely be a guide, not grounds for exclusion, recognizing that people are rarely right on the money.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 11:57 pm:

When we compare standard eye witness testimony as to a persons height- NOT wearing a costume as strange ,deceptive and loose fitting as Zodiacs- with someone like Hartnells observations of a person in full disguise,even to the point of wearing a hood with a possible gap of up to three inches from the top of his head to the square surface of the hood which I think was a grad'cap)top ,we are in a different ,somewhat, rare classification.
It is further complicated by the fact most witnesses of a person/s not donning a costume such as Zodiacs ,is generally standing ,unlike Hartnell who spent most of the time at the crime scene on the ground.Some of those postions, while on the ground, that I have been able to reconstruct from BHs collective testimony, show that his vantage point was not fully conducive to correctly estimating Zs height.
When we couple this with fear, which generally constricts the brains powers of proper observation and BHs own height of some six feet,we are not very hopeful about how accurate his estimates are.
I wonder if CS would have survived -would her observations of Zs costumed appearence be identical to BHs -or would she have rendered details not fully observed by BH?
I was tested by a neuroscientist some years ago.In our conversations he told me that he always had a female go with a male when he needed a complete report of a meeting.
He told me that the female brain has some 200 thousand more nerve connections than the male brain( between both lateral halves of the brain).He felt both brains complemented each other.
The female would note small details that went unnoticed by the male,thus when both reported to him he had a better picture of what was discussed and how best to proceed with his business decisions.
On that note, it would be a good bet CS could have seen and heard a clue or two(like the perps so called drawl that Bh just couldn't ID)missed by BH.
If another male would have been on the LB scene he could have given more information too-or maybe not!
After all is said and done ,BHs description of the perps voice "by voice concept" says the report, indicating the perp was young or around 20-30 years of age ,could be the most important observation( and that "dark brown hair" could be included too).This matches Dispatcher Slaights report that the voice was "young sounding" or he was in his "early 20s."

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 12:57 am:

To take these premises a step further, there is also a tendency for people to seize from a range of measurements those that best conform to their own choice as to a particular suspect that has not yet been positively identified. I'm not saying this as a backhanded slight on fellow posters, but to point out that cops do the same thing.

With all of the conventional wisdom dictating that objectivity must be paramount in the pursuit of violators, many if not most cops occasionally fall victim to the human tendency of forming early suspicions as to who he/she might be, while going through the motions of an objective investigation, by the numbers, as they say. I know, because I'm as guilty of that as anyone.

By way of example, say an investigator working a case already suspects John Doe of the crime, even though there is insufficient evidence to back it up. He can't help but to weigh incoming information against his suspect, giving perhaps inordinate weight to aspects supportive of his suspicions, and giving short shrift to the rest. This could include a witness description that provided ranges in height, weight and age estimations. As a possible consequence of this, he might focus on the figures which match his man, ignoring the possibility that it could well be the opposite extreme of the estimated range that actually fits the perpetrator. And the more support he finds for his personal theory, the stronger his suspicion becomes, eventually blinding him in his search for the truth, and disdainful of differing theories.

I had a partner and friend with whom I worked for a number of years, a detective with considerable ability and experience. We were working to identify a serial killer that had plagued us through a number of murders over time. At some point, he became enamored of a particular suspect that he felt strongly about, but couldn't find the evidence to prove it. We slaved over the cases, agonizing over the body count, but it just wouldn't happen for us. Finally, a couple of years later, after my partner got promoted and reassigned, a suspect was identified, someone we had never looked at or heard of before then, and the evidence quickly snowballed into a solid case against him. Prior to making the arrest, I gave my ex-partner a courtesy call, advising him of the breaking developments, and that an arrest was imminent. He immediately asked what relationship our new suspect had with his old suspect. I told him there was none whatsoever, but my old partner steadfastly maintained that there MUST be. I talked with him for several more minutes, but he could not accept that his suspect was not a party to the killings. When we ended the call, he was still adamant that we were overlooking a connection. Once the arrest was made and the extensive investigative efforts that followed failed to show any such connection, my old partner and I never discussed the case again. I firmly believe he continues to harbor resentment for what he views as my failure to establish this phantom connection.

I have been wrong more than once on suspects I initially favored, which over time tends to erode an otherwise cocksure attitude, replacing it with humility and a more open mind to the reality that I don't know it all, and never will. What Bryan and Mike went through, and the horror and pain that fleetingly passed through the souls of Betty Lou, Darlene, Cecilia and Paul, and most certainly with others as well, how can any of us presume to place our egos and jealously guarded beliefs on any higher plane? When and if the truth becomes known, some or even all of us will be proven terribly wrong, and our only consolation will be that we were merely Monday-morning quarterbacks, with no real allegiance to, or responsibility for, the outcome. I beg to differ. My instincts tell me that we, this Board, Tom and the rest of us, could be very much a factor in the outcome. But it will depend largely on the art of compromise and cooperation, not egotistical posturing.

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 06:59 pm:

Bill, please DON'T call me Dr. Michael because I'm not! I don't have any doctorate degree and never want to misrepresent!
Thanks for your discussion on eyewitness testimony as well as the danger we all face of seizing on a few bits of data to the exclusion of all others. The best quote I ever heard regarding that human failing was from the late great physicist Richard Feynman, who said, regarding scientific experimentation and theories: "First, you must make sure not to fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool!".

By Brian_D (Brian_D) ( - on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 07:27 am:

Hartnell didn't spend all his time looking up at his attacker. Why do most everyone ignore the fact that Hartnell at one point stood up and was shouted back down by the suspect (GET DOWN! RIGHT NOW!)? I should think he could get a good idea of height from his own person as a reference point.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 09:37 am:

No need, Brian; Hartnell's already done it. His estimates have been all over the place, and he'd be the first to admit it.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 01:30 am:

I believe the best we can assume is that the Zodiac wasn't extraordinarily tall or short.

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 06:57 pm:

Brian D, Get down right now, could be that Bryan was starting to get up but Z being a shorter man,felt threatend.Even with his knife, and of course the sound of the gun he knew would draw too much attention. Have you been out to that site? It is a steep slope.Z would have looked taller no matter what. Ed is much taller that I . When we stood on that slope, I was the tall one.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 05:28 pm:

Good observations Mr.Tom and Ms.Sandy.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Saturday, January 18, 2003 - 09:01 am:

Tom V. wrote, "I believe the best we can assume is that the Zodiac wasn't extraordinarily tall or short."

Keen observation there, Mr. Voigt.

Allow me to ask the board this: Would 5'8" be considered 'short' for a man? Would 6'1" be tall? Seriously, somebody out there keeps tabs on such matters.

For what it is worth, and I don't mean to offend anyone, I consider 5'8" to be short for a male. I'm not sure if I'd necessarily consider 6'1" tall, but I'd definitely say that 5'8" is short. It's below the average, isn't it?

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Saturday, January 18, 2003 - 10:25 am:

If we look at a 30-40 year old white male,the average height is 5'10" (quite a bit smaller than you, Scott!). If we take that out to the 5th and the 95th percentiles in each direction (the shortest 5% and the tallest 5% of the population in question), we get 5'6" and 6'2 and 1/2" respectively.

Therefore, I think Tom's conclusion is correct. If we consider 5'6" to be extraordinarily short and 6'2 and 1/2" extraordinarily tall, I think we can safely say that Zodiac fell between these two extremes.

Keep in mind, though, that "tall" and "short" are quite subjective. I come from a tall family, so unless I meet someone 6'4" or taller, I usually don't think he's all that tall. Bryan Hartnell might have had a skewed view of "tall" and "short" as well, given his height.

See for reference.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Saturday, January 18, 2003 - 05:41 pm:

Thanks for the link, Muskogee! We should all start providing references with our posts; there'd be much less debate and more forward progress!

"Keep in mind, though, that "tall" and "short" are quite subjective."

Exactly. And given the fact that both Hartnell and Mageau would be considered tall, we should keep in mind the subjective nature of their testimonies with regard to Zodiac's height. There is simply no getting around the fact that nobody has had a closer encounter with the Z than those two gentleman. So, to some degree, I'm still looking for an answer to my question: Is it fair to categorize someone who is 5'8" as 'short'?

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, January 18, 2003 - 07:53 pm:

Mageau used a standard for his height estimate-the height of the Covair.If he were standing up and there was no frame of reference then I would say there was room for more argument here.He was seated and this could make a perp look taller-not shorter!The attacker certainly did NOT tower over the small compact in any way.
There really,based on Mageaus observation,was no 'subjectivity'in the strictist sense,as he stopped in his height estimation, at the top surface of the car-the top of shooters head reached to the top portion of this small automobile and no more.He flatly said the man was young and short about 5' 8",etc.
This is similar to the three teens that gave a stocky 5'8".They must have used the height of the cab to assist them in their estimate as we know all three were looking at Z for some time starting while he was in the cab and as went around to the left side and wiped the cab down and then for that pause and stare at his onlookers.This is where I think they got a good look at his face.
There was some kind of standard or backdrop for their estimate.
Again,he said more than once,Z was about 5'8" or SHORT and stocky.He expressly stated he used the Covairs height to make this determination.
He only saw the face, which he said was "large," in "profile"(and it was more of a 'sense impression'-he seemed to have seen enough though to say he was "young") and mentioned it was dark so he could not give a good description.I guess one can determine if the face is round(this is the only place or source where we get the round face-we don't see it in the poster)in profile,but this is somewhat hard to accept-large, yes,but round hmmm.

By Classic (Classic) ( - on Saturday, January 18, 2003 - 10:24 pm:

Scott, to answer your question, 5' 8" is definetly not short! I'm 5' 7' so I may be biased, LOL. Seriously, since 5'9"/5'10" is average, I don't think one inch less drops you into the short category. But someo people "carry" their height and weight differently. 6'4", 240/250lbs is a big guy and I have seen plenty of guys that size. George Foreman is 6'4" 245lbs and he is a monster. I have seen him in person. He is the biggest guy of that size that I have ever seen. Why does he appear that way? Just the way he carries it I guess.

I've seen hours of Paul Newman and Al Pacino movies. I realized they weren't John Wayne size, but never would have guessed they are in the "short" 5'4" range. Classic

By Ed N. (Ed_N) ( - on Saturday, January 18, 2003 - 10:43 pm:

At 5'6", most everyone is tall to me. I must be extraordinarily short then...

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Saturday, January 18, 2003 - 10:50 pm:

Hasn't the height issue been discussed in other threads already?

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, January 18, 2003 - 10:56 pm:

Tom is right on.If it doesn't keep coming up I will be glad to defer to the great host of posts on this subject!

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Sunday, January 19, 2003 - 09:02 am:

Sorry, Tom. You're right, there are about 2 million posts elsewhere on the site when you do a search.

Scott, I agree about giving references. The one I gave wasn't the best (but it's identical to many others I've seen and it was the first one I found on a Google search). As an "almost" doctor, I've gotten used to having to provide references for EVERYTHING.
ME: I have to go to the bathroom...I'll be right back.
ATTENDING PHYSICIAN: Do you have any evidence to support that assertion?

Ed, lots of chicks have a thing for shorter guys (my sister, for example, who's 5'10"), so it's not necessarily a bad thing!

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Sunday, January 19, 2003 - 02:07 pm:

As the adage goes, when measuring tape isn't handy, use the roof of a Corvair. I love ya, Howard, but I ain't buying that one. Besides if his line of sight was from a seated position, as you constantly assert, what good is the top of the Corvair going to do? I have to keep arguing against the "approximately 5'8"" description of the SFPD composite because it's clearly wrong.

Ed, when you are as cute as you are, the height thing doesn’t matter. XOXOXOXO!

By Ed N. (Ed_N) ( - on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 12:53 am:

Gentlemen, believe it or not, I never even think about the height thing! I don't consider myself short, I think of myself as being 5'6" and others as either taller or shorter. So, Z would have been anywhere from 2" to 8" taller than me...

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 11:37 am:

Love ya too Mr.Scott.I will take Visa or MC for my Covair height deal-you don't need cash!I know you live in an area that takes pelts for payment!
Ed is taken Scott.You mountain men are all alike.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 02:36 pm:

Ed, you wrote, "So, Z would have been anywhere from 2" to 8" taller than me..."

No, not exactly. The SFPD composite reads "approximately 5'8"." In my mind, this suggests that Z was anywhere from your height, Ed, at 5'6", to 5'10" at the maximum. My contention has always been that the height estimation on the SFPD composite is wrong: not because Arthur Leigh Allen was taller than 5'10", but rather because the eyewitness testimony in this case blatantly suggests otherwise.

If you [the board] look back at my post on this thread from Sunday, December 29, 2002, at 07:56:00, it should be readily apparent why the height discussion is appropriate in this particular thread. Again, I will assert the following: There's no way in hell that the Zodiac was as short as 5'6" in height just as he wasn't as tall as 6'2.5". How do I know this? Via the most credible eyewitness testimonies in the case, how else?

Some ask, why not rely on the 3 teens at Presidio Heights? After all, their testimony resulted in the SFPD composite, right? The answer is simple: I have no idea what the teens said to detectives in their own words, and how this affected the composite itself. To my knowledge, neither does anyone else. Also, the skill level of the composite artist in question is suspect. Who here knows a damn thing about the artist? On the other hand, we do have the words of Hartnell and Mageau to analyze to complete exhaustion. Haven’t these facts become obvious to anyone yet? The goddamned height discussion isn't over until a reasonable conclusion has been made and, in my opinion, one still hasn't.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 02:47 pm:

Scott, what you are asking for is impossible to answer.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 12:13 pm:

Tom, all I'm saying is that the SFPD composite, based on the evidence we do have of which Hartnell's testimony is a major part, the height estimate should read, "approximately 5'10"" instead of "5'8"" as it does now. I believe I have stated my reasons for the change in immense detail. At one point, even Jake Wark agreed with my argument. Am I really supposed to defer this discussion to Howard's 'comparison to the Corvair' theory? Considering the fact that we don't even know if Z's vehicle was a Corvair, how has that suddenly become the standard by which to judge Zodiac's height?

The SFPD composite should read, "approximately 5'10"," not 5'8". Why is this so hard for people to follow? If I'm being unreasonable then fine, I'll drop it. Nevertheless, it does make a difference.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 12:48 pm:

Scott, your point was: "Considering the fact that we don't even know if Z's vehicle was a Corvair, how has that suddenly become the standard by which to judge Zodiac's height?"

Unfortunately, the "Corvair" standard, along with Stine's cab, are the only proximal and tangible frames of reference, other than Bryan's own stature, and their use to support suspects of varying heights will likely be with us forever. The fact that Mageau saw the suspect from sitting, laying, and scrambling positions, and never while standing, in my opinion, invalidates the use of the suspect's car as a reliable measuring guide. Similarly, the viewing angle of the teenagers would tend to diminish the accuracy of any height approximations based on a comparison with that of the cab. Bryan may or may not have had the opportunity to stand alongside the suspect, depending on whose interpretation you choose to follow. Foukes and his partner, although seated at the time, would probably be the best judges of the suspect's heighth, and coupled with the high probability that he was the same person seen by the teenagers, I agree that their observations should have been factored into the wanted flyer distributed by the SFPD.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Tuesday, January 21, 2003 - 05:39 pm:

Yes, it should read 5'10". For some reason it never got changed.

Hopefully there's more to discuss from the Hartnell interview than just the height issue.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 12:26 am:

You must have misunderstood me.It was not the perps car I was referring to-it was the Corvair Mageau was seated in!
His estimate and he was there(not us)was based on Zodiacs stance to Mageaus right and as we know, Z was right next to Mageau!
He used the height of the car he was in to indicate that he was about 5'8"or,in HIS view,the perp was "short".It doesn't matter what we think about what 'short'is.Mageau was the victim and witness ,NOT us.It's his opinion and he thought about 5'8" was short.
From what I have found on sites dealing with suspect descriptions ,it indicates one should use a frame of reference, like a table top or some backdrop in which the height can be estimated and established.
I say Mageau followed this admonition by using the height of the car he was in as his frame of reference and going 'one head' higher.
Dave Peterson heard Mageau say the man was short. He believed the attackers basics were white,short,young(26-30),stocky with a large face and not wearing glasses.Hair color can be easily changed by a dye and/or tint- so this thing about a red tint in Zodiacs hair means nothing as a rinse will give a red cast to the hair.
The only time I feel Zodiac did not need to dye and/or tint his hair or wig,was when he donned that large hood at LB.Hartnell said several times he could see it was dark brown ,sweaty hair.
All other attacks were hood free and he may have resorted to tint/dye and a wig.
We just can't prove it one way or the other except to refer to Zs statement he wore a disguise and it consisted of different modalities,etc.
So we have 5'10"?OK.We must assume that possibly Z was wearing engineering boots and they will take one up about an inch and a half.So,if we put him in BARE feet are we back to around 5'8'?
I have a pair of street shoes that take me up about a inch or more.Boots that Foukes described certainly will bring ones height up not down.We are talking about some two inches here!
Foukes was seated(perp would seem taller and he was on a sidewalk which is higher than the street surface) and driving(diversion of focus),it was dark (restricted view of detail)and he was under stress looking for a black male adult(incorrect attention to description) and only saw the perp in passing( a few brief seconds!), so his view was not 'perfect' either!It was something he reflected on much later only when it was realized it was Zodiac.
I know KJs description won't be accepted by most,but she did tell me she could see his crew styled hair was dark brown.This could have been a wig of course.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 12:40 am:

I forgot to mention the very real possibility that Z had inserts or lifts(I saw ads in the L.A.Times in the 60's for shoe lifts and how they can raise ones height up to two inches or more-there were ads in mens magazines and anti detection books in the 60's too) and they can bring one up some two inches.Place some padding in some shoes or boots and you can see how easy it is to go up two inches.Throw in the sole/heel thickness and you are there.
Don't you try it the air is too rare there!

By Len (Len) ( on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 09:14 am:

I think it's clear that the perpetrator was shorter than Hartnell and taller than a Corvair.

I'd like to respond to a couple of hints that PeterH posted a few weeks back (while I was unavoidably detained). First, Hartnell never used the word "hood." That was Det. Robertson's characterization. Hartnell used the word "mask" twice.

He said the clip-on sunglasses, which he later referred to as goggles, "flittered" and that is how he saw the hair.

Is it PeterH's assertion that this mask did not cover the lower part of the face at all?

By the way, I'm 5'9" and 225, and the only person who regularly refers to me being fat is me.

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 01:53 pm:

Its Peter H's assertion that the characterization of whatever Z was wearing as a hood of any kind didn't come from Hartnell in that interview. It is his further assertion that the conclusion that Hartnell saw only a little hair around the eyeholes didn't come from Hartnell at that interview. So what did the mask look like, based on Hartnell's description?

By Ed N. (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 02:09 pm:

Mask, hood, is there a real difference? Yes, but perhaps not to some people, probably including Hartnell, especially since the top had four corners like a paper sack and, as he described on page 4 of the interview, "It came down, came down, with the front panel to about here, and a kind of a thing that came over the shoulders, you know, and then the same thing down the back, straight down." That sure sounds like a hood to me.

In the LB report, p. 23, it's described as a "hooded mask" made of cloth. When we compare the two reports, it seems to indicate that Graysmith's rendition of Z at LB is more-or-less accurate, and that it didn't cover only part of his face. Of course, only Hartnell knows for sure, and I've never heard what he thinks of Graysmith's impression.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 02:22 pm:

Peter: perhaps you should read those reports again. Page 23 of the LB report specifically states, "Victim stated he could also see hair through the mask's eyelets and observed the hair to be dark drown." This is backed up by the Hartnell interview, page 7:

"J.R. Okay. You said his hair looked dark brown. How could you see his hair?

"B.H. 'Cause I saw it from where those goggles fit. I looked so closely to find out. And when he turned you know they kind of flittered... I could see his hair. It looked kind of greasy.

Hmm... based on Hartnell's description, it probably looked similar to what Graysmith's drawing depicted.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 04:13 pm:

Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing a revised composite drawing and a drawing of Zodiac at Lake Berryessa by an artist other than Graysmith. I've no doubt that it is very difficult to draw something based on eyewitness testimony [I certainly couldn't do it], but the fact of the matter is that 5 different artists will probably hand you 5 different drawings given the same information. Perhaps they wouldn't be drastically different, but there would be differences. For example, I bet that one of the 5 artists would have included more of a 'heavy build' into the suspect's face, making it appear 'rounder' and more closely resembling the 'stocky' individual that we know was Zodiac.

Likewise, though Graysmith's drawing of Z at LB is probably very accurate, I'd still like to see how another artist who is very familiar with the case would have depicted him. At the very minimum, I'd love to know what Hartnell has to say about Graysmith's drawing. Which reminds me, I'd also like to know what the 3 teens told SFPD detectives that led to the composite drawing, and how Foukes' testimony led to a revised composite, if in fact it did.

I'm not asking too much am I? [Yes, I am being facetious.] Nevertheless, I'm certain that if such an undertaking were accomplished, a much different 'picture' of the Zodiac would emerge. Quite frankly, given Graysmith's artistic ability, I'm surprised that he never attempted a composite sketch of the Z.

That's the thing that has always killed me about Kathleen Johns' testimony as well. If we assume, for the sake of argument, that the SFPD composite is a less than adequate rendering of the Zodiac, what does that tell us about KJ's testimony as to her encounter with him? Are we to assume that the SFPD composite was so good that KJ, having spent some 2+ hours with the Z, didn't have a single thing to say that was contrary to and/or to add to the composite? Seems pretty unlikely to me.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 05:11 pm:

Now that you mention it, Scott, I am quite surprised that Graysmith never did his own composite. 20+ years after the incident, Unsolved Mysteries did a second composite of Dan "D.B." Cooper based on the testimony of the stewardess who had been saying for years that the first well-known one was not accurate at all. If that can be done, then why not commission Jeanne Boylan as the artist to depict both what the teens saw in PH, as well as how Z appeared at LB? I'd put much more faith in the accuracy of her work than anyone else.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 10:07 pm:

From Supplementary crime report ...2"HARTNELL stated that the assailant was wearing a black ceremonial type HOOD,square on top..."
KCRA-TV interview "And he had this black HOOD on that came clear down to here[waist]...Just little slits in the eyes ...they[glasses]were clipped into those little loops."
NCSD report:"...a subject approached them with a dark HOOD over his ENTIRE head and shoulders and on the front of the hood..."
On the section on victims under LB there is a composite of the Z in full dress.This would make two representations of what BH saw.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 10:24 pm:

You're right Howard, I'd forgotten about that sketch. Note that the artist has a scale of sorts on the left side of the picture that puts the Z's height at 5'11" to the top of his hood.

By Len (Len) ( on Thursday, January 23, 2003 - 06:03 am:

To answer Peter's question, based solely on the interview with Det. Robertson, I don't think it's really possible to say what the mask (Hartnell also calls it a suit at one point) looked like, except that it was square at the top and that it had clip-on sunglasses where the openings for the eyes were.

Since yesterday, I've thought about the possibility that it could have been styled more like Batman's cowl and cape--something more in the mode of a Supervillain than that of a traditional executioner.

Howard, thanks for the back-up info. Since the KCRA interview is the only one that is in Hartnell's words, that's the most pertinent. The other two are other people's characterizations of what Hartnell saw. This problem is similar to the one that Scott posits: What we're dealing with is someone's interpretation of another individual's perceptions.

I was struck in reading the interview by Hartnell's emphasis on how shabbily dressed his assailant was. In fact, perhaps the most concrete detail he descibes is of the pleats in the suit pants. I don't know why this is haunting me, but it is.

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Thursday, January 23, 2003 - 06:26 am:


And what was the source of the info at p 23 of the LB report?

Hartnell at p 6: "that little mask".

"It came down, came down, with the front panel to about here, and a kind of a thing that came over the shoulders, you know, and then the same thing down the back, straight down." Why not use the whole quote: "and this mask he had on. It was ingeniously devised ... he had four corners at the top ... like the top of a paper sack ,,, black."

You could draw any number of things other than a hood that fit the whole description exactly. More precisely than the drawings we have seen. If it was a hood, why didn't Hartnell say that?Why didn't Hartnell say somethiing like "it was a kind of a hood, covered his whole head and his shoulders"

And "Where those goggles fit" is also an interesting way of describing "eye holes" Why didn't he just say "through the eye holes"?

All: my comments were limited to the Hartnell interview Tom published. I think there were others, and may include some confirming descriptioon of the mask. And there are all kinds of secondary sources describing a "hood" and but Hartnell is the only one who saw it. One Howard quotes says the eyes were "just little slits" with eyeglasses clipped in "those little loops: Slits you could see combed hair through? And what "loops"? Anyone here try cutting eye holes in cloth and attaching clip-on shades to it? I have, and it just doesn't work. the clip mechanism would have tobe upside down.

The question here is what does the original source actually say about this? Does Hartnell describe it like Graysmith drew it? Or is our idea of the "hood" just another image created by interpretation of reports of reports.

Why is it so difficult for us to reexamine our conclusions based on the actual evidence as it becomes available?

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Thursday, January 23, 2003 - 08:34 am:

Since Bryan is still among the living, albeit publicity-shy, he could easily end the speculation and interpretation as to what the hood/mask looked like. There must be people out there with access to him, who could show him the existing artists' conceptions (which he's undoubtedly seen many times), simply ask him which comes the closest to what he saw, and what changes he would make, if any. As a lawyer, there would be a presumption that Bryan is of sufficient intelligence and judgment to offer a fairly accurate critique, even after 33+ years. It's not as though he was being asked to compare voices or mug shots; I suspect that the image of the hood/mask is most indelibly etched in his memory.

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Thursday, January 23, 2003 - 10:36 am:

That would be great. Anyone in a position to give it a shot?

By obiwan (Obiwan) ( - on Thursday, January 23, 2003 - 10:13 pm:

JR: Did he sound like an educated man?
BH: Heck no! I don't think so.
JR: Did he sound illiterate?
BH: No. He didn't sound that way either. He just impressed me as being rather low class. The reason was beause of his clothes, you know.

Doug, doesn't this testimony argue against Kaczynski as the perpetrator of LB?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Thursday, January 23, 2003 - 11:27 pm:

Not at all, Obiwan. I don't know how one would assess the intelligence of a person by the sound of his voice alone, and as for dress, well, Kaczynski wasn't known for being up with the latest fashions. He was famous for his sloppiness.

By Len (Len) ( on Friday, January 24, 2003 - 06:57 am:

There is a difference, however, between looking sloppy and looking impoverished. I know; I've walked that line for much of my life. Would TK have spent much time shopping at thrift stores? Hartnell's implication is that the guy was wearing secondhand trousers and, since they were pleated dress slacks, perhaps part of a very limited selection.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Friday, January 24, 2003 - 10:13 am:

Len, I'm not sure about TK's purchasing habits back in the sixties. The picture I get of him, derived from my readings, is one of extreme frugality. His neighbors in Montana remarked how he shopped extensively at yard sales, and given his limited budget at the time this wouldn't be surprising. He also owned a number of military items, which I imagine were purchased as surplus.

Of course, Zodiac might have deliberately worn old, second-hand clothing, knowing it would have to be discarded after use.

By Len (Len) ( on Friday, January 24, 2003 - 11:06 am:

Doug--It is true that we are limited in this by having no knowledge of where the attacker came from (brunch? Ye Olde Mask and Cutlery Warehouse?) or idea of what his intent was concerning his clothing. Did his costume consist of the whole get-up or just the mask? Were the clothes he wore purchased specifically for this event or his actual every day clothes or some amalgam of both? Would they have to be discarded? If they would, had he thought of that?

In each case, the answer is, I believe, "We don't know."

I'm not on the attack here, by the way. Just thinking out loud.

Another question about TK, though: Although the sound of one's voice may or may not give indication of that person's education and background, wouldn't that person's vocabulary? TK, to me (for whatever that's worth), seems like someone who would have a rather large and well-exercised working vocabulary. Is that so? Wouldn't he have betrayed his education by letting go at least one word like "ambulations," a wonderful word used by Bill Baker on another thread? Or, rather, wouldn't it have been difficult for him not use some 25-centers during the extended period in which he haggled with Bryan Hartnell?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Friday, January 24, 2003 - 04:04 pm:

Len--All good questions, and you're correct, I believe, in asserting that we have no way of knowing exactly how things played out. We can make educated guesses, of course. We might assume that since he could afford a different weapon for each crime he ought to have been able to afford decent clothes, but then again, there's a very human propensity for prioritizing on expenditures: guns might be very important to a killer; clothes less so. I'm thinking that if he were clever enough to dispose of the weapon he would have done likewise with the clothes, which assuredly would have been besmirched with the blood of his victims.

TK was most definitely an intellectual, steeped in classical literature as well as foreign languages (Spanish, German, Polish; probably Russian, with a smattering of Japanese and perhaps Finnish; certainly a modicum of Greek), but oddly enough, his speech and writing don't betray this, if you exclude his mathematician's penchant for precision and his excellent grammatical skills. I guess what I'm saying is that his vocabulary never betrays him as an intellectual. No one in Montana, for example, had any inkling of his advanced degree or his intellectual status. That probably stems from his upbringing as a lower-middle-class kid growing up in a tough Chicago suburb. He remarked at one point that he used two different speech patterns as a child: the "street" vernacular and the more polished one that his intellectual mother instilled in him.

By Len (Len) ( on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 05:39 am:

Doug: Good answers, as well. Although I still feel it is unlikely that TK was the Zodiac, you defend your position well. My hunch concerning the guns is that Z's father or someone else who he knew well was a gun collector and also his source for weapons. I think he borrowed both guns and cars and this explains the wide assortment he seemed to have of both.

Ed N's interesting post on the Bruce Davis thread certainly raises even more questions about the entire get-up this mook had on. Why the jacket? What was he hiding? It was warm enough for Mr Hartnell and Miss Shepard to have been sunbathing. What did he need with a jacket?

By John_W (John_W) ( - on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 05:00 pm:

In the 12 page Interview Report, BH says to CS "You have your specs on" etc., implying he doesn't. There is no mention of him putting on his glasses at any time. Eyeglasses are mentioned in the Police Report (page 5) as being located at the scene. Is it known if BH had his glasses on during their ordeal?

Ref: comments above about the 'hood', in the LB Police Report, CS who was a significant eyewitness also described their attacker as wearing a 'hood'. On page 7 of the LB Police Report 'The female victim advised White that she could not see the responsible's face as a hood was covering all of his head'.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 12:15 am:

BH had a lingustic problem.He had trouble expressing himself.He could have had ADD.Of course,this is only one manifestation of ADD.This mental abberation does not necessarily affect ones mental sagacity(DR.Amend is world authority on ADD and he deals with many consumate professionals who are afflicted with ADD-his books are filled with case histories-see his site).This trait,with possible ADD connotations, is evident in his interviews as he responds to questions and makes independant assertions relative to this thoughts,feelings and descriptive phraseologies of what he saw and experienced as a witness.
He did say,as I quoted elsewhere,that the perp was wearing a "hood"and that it extended down to the waist.This is in his TV interview.Tom has that video...