The Lake Herman Tragedy Message Board: David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen : The Lake Herman Tragedy

By Tom Voigt (Admin) ( - on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 02:32 am:

Here's the update.

By MikeR ( - on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 08:35 am:

Hi Tom-

Very interesting. When you get to primary sources, you often learn that a lot of things that you had accepted as being the truth turn out to be nothing more than mythology or worse, propaganda that serves to promote a certain point of view. This is certainly one of those instances where there seems to have been a lot of mythology surrounding the case.

I don't buy the drug angle for a second. Certainly, there was nothing found in the car to suggest it, although I can tell you that the car was taken apart on scene by Benicia P.D. as if it were a drug bust.


By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 09:48 am:

Just because there weren't any drugs on Betty and David doesn't mean it couldn't have been a drug related crime. Perhaps Benicia PD thought some 'dealer' killed them because he/she/they had a 'score to settle,' or something of that nature. At any rate, odds are pretty good that the 'drug angle' is of little value; I too believe that BLJ and DF didn't have any involvement with drugs.

That's a terrific article, Tom. I liked what Sharon had to say. Thanks for that wonderful glimpse into the past from the POV of one who was closely associated with those two youngsters.

Unfortunately, I'll be working tonight so I won't have an opportunity to drop into the chat room, but my thoughts will be with Betty and David tonight at 10:15 PM Pacific. Let's all pray that this case will be solved someday.

By ScottN ( - on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 01:13 pm:

Great stuff, Tom. Talk about 'fresh'. I'd always heard the rumor was that DF was talking about a large drug deal he heard was occuring; not that he or BLJ were themselves involved in one.

The moment that Butterbach confronts Sharon in the office is an intense one. The whole thing reconfirms how our belief systems work against our ability to understand the world-- and how the Zodiac exploited them.

By Bruce Monson (Bruce_Monson) ( - on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 03:39 pm:

Great post Tom!

I found it interesting that "drivers Ed. teachers" would often take students to drive on LHR because of its low traffic.

This certainly lends more support to Z being a local, perhaps even a former student that attended or graduated from one of the local high schools within the previous 5-15 years?

Bruce Monson

By ed carson ( - on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 06:53 pm:

No great insight to add on my part about this update. It just brings home the tragedy of this whole thing and the lives impacted.Really it's heatrbreaking. "Z" was no more than a freakin' coward and I hope he somehow got the justice he so richly deserved.

By MikeR ( - on Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 09:10 am:


I spoke to a friend of mine, who was in Solano County politics for many years. He pointed out in defense of the detectives that in 1968, there was only a handful of murders in Solano County and certainly no such thing as a "serial killer". He said that a double homicide like this was unheard of back then. He also pointed out that there was no other motive--passion, jealousy, robbery, sexual assault, etc.--that could be determined for the crime. It also took place on a desolate stretch of road, where drug deals undoubtedly went down in those days.

So we should not go too hard on Les Lundblad or Russ Butterbach for pursuing a "drug angle", since they were working at a time period when there had to be a "conventional" motive for murder. I'm sure that they both felt badly after Zodiac surfaced in 1969 but in their defense, motiveless crimes were not the norm in 1968.

I can also say that I know for a fact that there were intimations of marijuana use by friends of David and Betty Lou that were made immediately after the LHR murders. David and Betty Lou were NOT in any way themselves accused of using drugs, but some of their friends were. (In fact, there was a story that David had had an altercation with a man who was "pushing" marijuana. He threatened to turn the guy in to the police. Ironically, that altercation supposedly took place at the IHOP on Tennessee, near ALA's home.) The suspicion of a possible drug connection to the crime (even by default) was therefore not all that baseless.


By Mike J. Doe ( - on Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 01:52 pm:

I agree that the detectives didn't have anything to work with and that's why they thought of the "drug angle". I think the reason we feel it went over the edge was that we read Sharon's point of view it made us feel bad about the whole tragedy. And perhaps the detectives went a ltitle too far at coming to a conclusion with teh "drug angle" without any evidence.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 11:19 pm:

I bypass the the theme on drug use and focus on the methodology of the detectives by threatening them and saying they would tell their parents they used drugs if they didn't reveal so called information about drug usage,etc.
Also,the detectives were impervious to any other point of view or any accounts that would deter from their preconceived opinions.This is NOT professionalism.It doesn't matter if it's 1968 or 1958 -they weren't following proper methods and turned off their only possible good sources of information.Let's not defend them.
They were very careful on gathering case fact,but were lacking when it came to dealing with people,especially young persons.
Darlene Ferrins youngest sister,Christina,told me that she experienced the same kind of attitude from detectives that were 'interviewing' them about her sisters death.It was like 'talking to a brick wall' and that the detectives had their own set ideas on case cause and effect.
Kathleen Johns told me the same thing about the detectives she had to speak to about the abduction.
Her closest friend,by phone,related the same thing to me.The police had their own ideas and theories and had their own spin and left important facts out of their reports-they wanted an 'event',not an abduction.
Too bad she had to suffer from their ignorant methods and negative unprofessional attitudes.
To this day she is vilified for giving supposed inaccurate accounts and some assign ulterior motives to her account.Nowonder some are concerned about "getting involved."

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 07:47 am:

Great story, Tom. Sorry I missed the chat Saturday, but shceduling and the late hour wouldn't permit.

My read on the VPD pressure on the drug angle is twofold. First as a terror tactic to shake loose the real story, whatever it might be, from those closest to the victims. They wouldn't necessarily have to believe that it was drug related to prewss so hard on that angle. It is always a high probability that such a murder is by someone close to the victims, and any pressure on them is likely to turn something up.

Second, it offered a great excuse to home in a perceived drug problem in the schools or community generally, regardless of whether it had to do with Betty Lou and David. Like Mike I am retty sure the Zodiac connectin was a huge shock to them, and that they were simply playing a reasonable high probability hunch on the drug/close associates approach.

By Constitutional Joe ( on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 10:29 am:

You guys defending the cops are totally off-base. There is a place for stern interrogations. There is not a place for making up charges without any evidence. I respect most cops as they are usually underpaid servants who get too much venom thrown at them. However, there are also a significant minority among them who will a) fabricate evidence b) falsely accuse c) lie on the witness stand d) intimidate and retaliate against those who contradict their lies. If you have not experienced this firsthand or known people who have gone through this, you may be in the dark as to how many cops operate. As Howard put it,
"this is NOT professionalism". Turn off NYPD Blue and go read something, preferably the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson would have had Andy Sipowicz demoted to file clerk.

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 04:23 pm:

Con Joe:

Take a chill pill pal. And add a 4th, 5th and 6th amendment chaser while you're at it. Of your a) through d) I'll check "e) none of the above" from Sharon's account. Aggressive, clumsy, unprofessional, sure, even a defamation threat thrown in, but I don't see any pressure to self-incriminate, or even a threat to file a false criminal complaint. "You better tell on Betty Lou or I'm gonna tell your mommy on you" is not exactly gonna win the Earl Warren award, but I don't think its gonna make anybody's case book, either. And I'm a Warren liberal on these matters.

By Tom_Voigt ( - on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 04:47 pm:

I'm opposed to planting evidence and other tactics likely to nail the wrong individual. However, I don't see anything wrong with the police lying to suspects and potential informants in order to get the long as they don't follow through on their threats in the event they don't get what they want.

By Warren (Warren) ( - on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 05:05 pm:

Agree with Howard.

By J Eric Freedner (J_Eric) ( - on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 10:24 pm:

Murder most often is a crime by someone known to the victim. Certainly a sour drug deal would come to mind, or perhaps that the killer himself was on drugs at the time. The mistake Lundblad and Butterbach made seems to have been jumping to conclusions too early. What's even more interesting than Sharon's account of two "bad cops" interviewing her, however, is the supposed reference to Lundblad in Zodiac's 340-cipher.

Even if you assert Graysmith's take on the 340 is 180-wrong, it's interesting that Lundblad would be mentioned. ("totally mixed up Lundblad" in my variation on Graysmith's.)

I was also surprised to learn from Tom during the LH chat that those murders took place near a shooting range. Makes me wonder if Z actually had chosen certain areas or times for his killings--i.e., July 4, fireworks and maybe guns going off, so what's a few more gunshots in the air?

By Nick (Nick) ( on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 10:27 pm:

It's like getting pulled over after running a stop sign. The cop always asks you how much you've had to drink. It's standard procedure.

By Tom_Voigt ( - on Tuesday, December 23, 2003 - 12:53 am:

There were individuals in Betty Lou and David's circle of friends who had alleged drug ties, however Betty Lou and David (by all accounts) did not.

By Constitutional Joe ( on Tuesday, December 23, 2003 - 08:34 am:

I'm sorry, Nick, but no. I've been pulled over and asked if I had anything to drink, but it never was like this:

"They wanted me and my friends to tell them who did drugs in the school and who sold drugs in the school. And if we didn't, they would tell my parents that I did drugs."

Also, Tom, while you have a very reasonable position, just the act of threatening someone can have horrible consequences. Young people do irrational things. What if they had run away, or killed themselves out of fear of their parents hearing the lie, or blamed someone who didn't sell drugs just to get the police off their back?

Thanks, though, for this interesting post, Tom, definitely gives one plenty to think about.

Also, I don't mean to trash the officers. They were in the middle of one of the most difficult investigations in modern history and were probably living under horrible pressure. I don't know enough about the case to say whether or not they handled the case well in other areas. I just don't think this part of it was handled right. And it didn't work and led nowhere.....

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, December 24, 2003 - 01:22 am:

My issue is as given.When a detective doesn't take notes when a witness is speaking and will not listen to their comments and even cut them off while they are speaking is unprofessional.
We are not talking about using various forms of 'deception' to gain information and various kinds of tactics-the issue is being inflexable and an unwillingness to see all sides of a case,except their own.This includes suspects too.
As I posted,we give them a thumbs up on working hard at gathering case facts,but a thumbs down on being open and exploring new and creative paths.
How do you spell out an example?RS-P-D!

By George ( - on Wednesday, December 24, 2003 - 10:36 pm:

Tom, that article is impeccable. To a large degree, you have the innate qualities of an editor as well as reporter or even original writer. The sweep of the article is perfectly proportioned.

I am glad Sharon said what she did. It took her thrity-five years to come forward, and she was only a friend of Betty Lou's. What is it with this fear so many who were only marginallyconnected with the Zodiac case have? I can't believe the cops scared her away for three-and-a-half decades!
I realize she was for a time a suspect, but 35 years of silence? Mr. Mageau, on the Zodiac video, is to me trying to hide his fear when confronted by Ms. Pam Huckaby (just my opinion) and I know that Mr. Brian Hartnell won't discuss the case, although I've I read he did talk for a bit early on. Those guys were victims. I'd be scared too. But still scared? I haven't been shot or stabbed, so perhaps that's it..for the immediate victims.

Many tangential folks have come forward, but how many haven't? It could be unwillingness to relive a nightmare; that some are deceased; that some are ignorant or apathetic. There just seems to be a permanent miasma, umber and terror-strewn, ready to descend at will as concerns this case. The Zodiac crimes and caseload seem beyond unique.

A human life is a human life, but for whatever reason, the LHR murders shatter me the most. (Although all the attacks are repugnant and heartbreaking).

Howard-- somewhere in "Helter Skelter" a cop nicknamed "Chick" or "Chic" threatens one of the non-killing Manson girls with the chamber at Q. I like Bugliosi's reaction to this. (I've misplaced the book or I'd quote.) That said, I can't excoriate the detectives, probably harried and clueless, too much.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Thursday, December 25, 2003 - 11:53 pm:

George- read my posts one more time!


By Tom_Voigt ( - on Friday, December 26, 2003 - 03:09 am:

George wrote:
"Tom, that article is impeccable. To a large degree, you have the innate qualities of an editor as well as reporter or even original writer. The sweep of the article is perfectly proportioned."

Glad you liked it. However, with the awesome information Sharon provided, it would have been difficult for anyone to put it to paper without creating a compelling read.