Zodiac Weapons


Zodiackiller.com Message Board: General Zodiac Discussion: Zodiac Weapons

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ld83r.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.160.123) on Saturday, November 17, 2001 - 05:07 pm:

FWIW, here is some inormation pertaining to the comment made by Zodiac that Ferrin and Magaeu were killed with a "9 millimeter Luger". I thought some of the non-firearms enthusiasts might find it useful.

I have read that Zodiac claimed to have used a Luger to perpetrate this attack. I think I even saw a message where the author says Zodiac "insisted" that he used a Luger. I think this is all a misunderstanding on the part of many folks, possibly even Zodiac, who simply are not well informed about this particular facet of firearms terminology.

Luger is not only a German firearms manufacturer, it is also the name associated with a particular cartridge. The German military bought these guns (Lugers) as sidearms. The weapon is chambered in a cartridge which has the name "9mm Luger". There is also the P-38 or the Broomhandle pistol which has a box-type magazine and holds more rounds. This weapon is also chambered for the 9mm Luger. Here is where the terms start to overlap.

A perfect example of this is the .40 Smith & Wesson. (Notice how the bore diameter comes before the name, this is standard format for cartridge names. Other examples are .45-70 Government, .30-30 Winchester, and .257 Roberts.) Smith & Wesson is a firearms manufacturer. They developed the .40 Smith & Wesson cartridge. They produce guns which fire the cartridge, and it would be correct to refer to these guns as .40 Smith & Wessons. You could also refer to it by its type designation such as SW40E. However, there are other companies, such as Sturm Ruger and Sig Sauer who also produce guns which fire this cartridge. You could then refer to your Sig as a .40 Smith & Wesson even though it is not made by Smith & Wesson. This is VERY common in shooting circles, because it is assumed the maker is known by the appearance of the gun. The gun can of course also be called a .40 Sig! Since there is no such cartridge as .40 Sig (yet) it is understood by the listener that the gun was made by Sig Sauer and is chambered in .40 S&W.

Now, here's where the sticky part comes in: There is more than one type of 9mm cartridge. There was the German designed 9mm Luger and then there came the 9mm Parabellum, which I think was designed maybe sometime in the late 40s or 50s. The 9mm Luger was a "shouldered case" meaning that it had a larger case body which was "necked down" or reduced in diameter at the front to accept a 9mm bullet. It was also tapered along its length. The 9mm Parabellum is a shorter case and is not necked or tapered, it's like a short little pipe. Now that it has become an official military cartridge the name has been changed to 9mm NATO. The problem is that even at the time the Parabellum was introduced, people commonly interchanged 9mm Luger as refering to either the gun or the cartridge. This was so uniformly applied that people who did not really have a full understanding of the cartridges would come to think that all 9mm's were Lugers. A Browning Hi-Power would be refered to as a 9mm Luger. This is NOT correct because the gun is not made by Luger, nor is it chambered in 9mm Luger, rather 9mm Parabellum (or NATO). Back in the 60s it was common for all 9mm's to be called Lugers. Military servicemen were probably among the worst offenders in this area because at that time the .45 ACP and the .38 Special were the only official US Government sidearm rounds. So if they encountered a 9mm of any variety, they'd likely think of it as a Luger. There was still the name "Luger" lingering around, but the cartridge itself had all but been supplanted by the 9mm Parabellum. With that cartridge basically missing in action, there was no ready basis for comparison and many people to this day do not know that there were two distinct 9mm cartridges. (Plus the Soviets had their own.) Nowadays, the gangbangers just call it a "9".

So, when Zodiac placed his phone call, he was probably referring to what he thought the name of the cartridge was rather than the make of gun he used. One wouldn't likely say, "I killed them with my [Browning, Remington, etc]". You would likely say "I used my .38" or "my .45", etc. So I think he was just trying to communicate the caliber of the weapon and mistakenly misstated the cartridge name.

Ray

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-10407-2.linkline.com - 64.30.209.40) on Sunday, November 18, 2001 - 12:06 pm:

Ray,
Excellent information-the same goes for your past posts. We need more experts on weapons to comment.Your information indicates that Zodiac ,as has been surmised, was not an expert in weaponry per se,but had a general knowledge of guns.

My suspect ,in a parole hearing, said that he had a gun that 'looked like a .45,but was a 9mm'.Do you have a comment on this statement?What kind of gun and who would be the likely manufacturer?

I know he purchased a 9mm in July of '69 and he owned a Radon 9mm(any comments on Radons?) and other guns,including a .45.This is not a proof of Zodiac question ;I am inquiring about the guns in particular,because this is what I know-I know it doesn't prove anything relative to Zodiac,etc.! Thanks.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (1cust134.tnt1.santa-maria.ca.da.uu.net - 63.28.219.134) on Sunday, November 18, 2001 - 05:46 pm:

I have mentioned in the past that it was, and is, my suspicion that the handgun wielded by Z at Lake Berryessa was the same weapon, a 9mm, he used on Paul Stine a short time later. To the untrained eye (Hartnell's), a standard-frame 9mm semi-auto (such as a Browning Hi-Power) would be difficult to distinguish from a .45. In fact, more often than not, a frightened witness is more likely to describe the bore of the weapon as being larger, rather than smaller, than it actually is. As for the size of the cartridge Z showed to Bryan, that, too, could have easily been magnified in his mind.

It would stand to reason, in my opinion, that once Z used a firearm (actually fired it) during one of his crimes, it was soon after discarded, for obvious reasons. Since the pistol he used at LB was not fired and would not have left any identifying evidence, there was no purpose in getting rid of it afterwards. Weapons are not only costly, but they can't be picked up at the local five-and-dime. And, I would expect, all of the "tools" used by Z in the commission of his crimes were part and parcel of the fantasies which were at the core of his actions and reminiscences. It would have been difficult, therefore, for him to divest himself of a firearm that was used, and if it were not for the purpose of self-preservation, I'm certain he wouldn't have done so. I also tend to think that using a 9mm rather than a .45 at LB would have been preferable, with minimal loss of kill power, given the fact that .45 discharges are inherently louder. He could have gotten by with a .22 at LB, but it wouldn't have been as visually intimidating.

This, of course, is of absolutely no help in solving anything. But one can't help but to ponder.

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldevs.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.187.252) on Sunday, November 18, 2001 - 06:00 pm:

Well, Howard, it looks like Zodiac wins again! I went and looked for the necked-down cartridge I have which I though was a 9mm Luger. I couldn't find it so I called my father and asked him about it. He informed me that I was wrong about this cartridge. It is not the 9mm Luger but rather the .30 Luger! My only excuse for this gaffe is that it is now a virtually extinct cartridge and I have only ever seen one example my entire life.

The story of the cartridge that I told is wrong. DWM (Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabrik) introduced the .30 Luger in 1900 as the first cartridge the new Luger semiautomatic pistol was chambered for. It is called the 7.65mm Parabellum in most European countries. Of bottleneck design, the .30 Luger is in effect a shortened version of the slightly older .30 Borchardt. Nominal bullet diameter for the .30 Luger is .3095 inch.

The Mauser C-96 Broomhandle pistol was introduced in 1896 in .30 Luger caliber. It had (I think) a ten round box-type magazine, but later models were fitted with a detachable 20-round magazine.

The Luger pistol gained famed in 1900 when the Swiss Army adopted it in its original caliber 7.65mm (.30 Luger). In 1902, the bottlenecked 30 Luger case was opened up to accept a 9mm bullet. The original designation was 7.65mm Parabellum and that carried over to the 9mm Parabellum. It was acceptance by the German Army in 1908 that really established the Luger. It became the Model 1908 or P.08 for short.

There is an old Roman proverb "Si vis pacem, para bellum" which translates into 'If you want peace, prepare for war.' This proverb has become the source of the moniker for the common "9mmX19" automatic pistol cartridge, also known as the 9mm Parabellum, the 9mm Luger, and recently, the 9X19 N.A.T.O. They're all the same thing.

The 9mm Parabellum cartridge came along in 1902. It was designed by Georg Luger who developed it from the bottle-necked .30 cal. automatic cartridge as a stop-gap solution to pressures to up-power the weak .30 auto cartridge for which the Luger was originally designed; the 9mmX19 was simply the largest round that could be adapted to the existing .30 cal. cartridge and frame without having to re-tool the factory. It is ironic how what was to become the most common pistol cartridge in the world is fundamentally a 'band-aid".

There are about a half dozen different types of 9mm cartridge alone. Some of them are synonymous; some are not. The 9mm Parabellum and the 9mm Luger are the same cartridge. The 9mm Kurtz (9mm Short) is the same as the .380 auto. The 9mm Makarov (the Russian version for the Tokarev pistol) is not compatible with either.

So, Zodiac was correct in stating that Magaeu and Ferrin were shot with a 9mm Luger, because 9mm Luger and 9mm Parabellum are the same cartridge. Now, whether or not an actual Luger gun was used can be best determined by the rifling of the barrel if the slugs are in good enough condition to measure. This is much more accurate than magazine capacity. I would not place much faith in a victim lying on the ground suffering multiple gunshot wounds failing to see Zodiac reload as reliable evidence he did not.

As far as your suspect's gun goes, there are many versions of the famous 1911A1 Colt which all look very similar. Some of the newer ones, like Para-Ordinance, may have available drop-in conversion kits to 9mm. This would consist of a new barrel, new slide, new barrel bushing, and new magazine.

It's more likely the gun your suspect mentions was in fact a Radom (not Radon). The Radom in particular looked similar to the Colt 1911A1 "Government Model", even incorporating it's grip safety. However, the Radom, which took its name from its' city of manufacture, Radom, Poland, had a recessed external hammer. The Radom carried eight rounds in a detachable magazine that fit into the grip of the gun. It was adopted by the Polish army in 1935 and was designated variously as the ViS 35, P-35 or the P-645. When Poland was overrun, the Wehrmacht captured thousands of the pistols that they immediately put into service and when those supplies were exhausted, production was resumed, and continued until 1944, with some 380,000 pistols manufactured for German use.

Incidentally, it would take a trained eye to tell the two guns apart. The Radom may well be the pistol he showed Hartnell. If it matches the rifling on the BRS shootings he could have used the same gun for both outings.

I've put some photos of these items online for you to view. I hope this helps you out.

Ray

By Mike_D (Mike_D) (spider-mtc-tk062.proxy.aol.com - 64.12.107.47) on Sunday, November 18, 2001 - 07:03 pm:

If I remember right police refused to believe it was a Luger because of the large number of shots fired-up to 13.If I remember right Ray though wasn't there a version of the Luger with a drum magazine that could fire up to 30 shots?Any chance Zodiac used one like that-I think a mass killer back in the 40's-Unruh I think his name was used such a gun and z was a bit of a copycat.

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldfs4.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.191.132) on Sunday, November 18, 2001 - 09:45 pm:

There was the Broomhandle Mauser, which could be fitted with a short, detachable stock. This gun was featured in the movie "Joe Kidd" with Clint Eastwood. It wouldn't have to be a special version of the gun, just a high-capacity drum-type magazine. Such a gun would be very unwieldy and impractical to carry. I think it's far more likely he just had another magazine. Since there were no witnesses to the actual shooting at BRS other than Mageau, I don't know why the police were so convinced he couldn't have changed magazines. A skilled shooter can accomplish this in less than one second. A novice doesn't normally take much longer if he is familiar with the weapon. Zodiac's back must have been turned to Mageau as he was walking back to his car. Somebody with contacts at the VPD should try to find out what the lands/grooves/twist was of the recovered slugs. This should narrow down the field.

Some similarities certainly would have existed bewteen the work of Z and other killers. After all, they were doing similar work. I kind of like to think of him as someone who was doing his own thing. What better example of this than LB?

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38lddbu.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.181.126) on Monday, November 19, 2001 - 06:29 pm:

One thing I can't seem to understand is the assumption of facts not in evidence regarding ballistics at Blue Rock Springs.

On page 38 of Zodiac, Graysmith writes: "...the detectives found nine 9mm shell casings and seven copper-jacketed 9mm slugs in various conditions. Since the killer had fired at least nine shots and as many as thirteen without reloading, they believed the weapon would almost certainly be a Browning."

The first question an observer might ask is, "If there are only nine casings and seven slugs, how could you determine that more than 9 rounds may have been fired?" As I understand it, the location of all the brass casings and slugs is noted and a detailed diagram is drawn of the entire area. Lines can be drawn from the area of each casing and each of these lines should come very close to intersecting each point where a slug was recovered. When you have a shell casing which doesn't line up with any known bullet path, you conclude that round must have been a miss and not recovered. In this way, the shooter's location during each shot can be established even determining in many cases which shots hit and which did not. Some crime scenes can be pretty complicated and this doesn't always work out. But, there should always be the proper number of shell casings remaining, regardless of whether or not all the slugs were recovered. This leads me to believe that the police are concealing at least one important fact and Graysmith was disinformed. The only other explanations I see here would be that they didn't know what they were doing, or that Graysmith made these numbers up.

If the police are concealing something, it might be that they think Zodiac picked up some of the shell casings. I don't think that is something I would do in his shoes, especially since he wanted evidence left behind to corroborate his claims later. But, even if he did take some cases, he still left plenty of evidence behind. He might have had a good reason for doing this, like "clewing us in" to something.

The bottom line is, with the evidence that is apparently available, I don't see any way for the police to be certain of a Browning as the weapon used. Graysmith lists some other guns which were considered, but I think he might just have listed every gun he could find out the name of.

On page 38, Graysmith also states: "All other semi-automatics considered - Star, Smith & Wesson, Astra, Llama, Neuhausen, Zbrojovka, Husqvarna, Esperanza, and Parabellum (Luger) - had only a magazine capacity of eight or seven bullets. The Browning 1935 Hi-Power (FN 35GP), manufactured in Canada by the John Inglis company since World War II and used by the Canadian army, holds thirteen cartidges in a double-rowed, staggered box magazine."

First of all this "only eight or seven rounds" is totally wrong. None of these has a magazine capacity of seven rounds, and some have up to 14 with the same number of grooves and twist direction as the Browning! Secondly, even without knowing the actual rifling direction and turns per inch of the BRS slugs, some of these guns cannot be possible BRS Zodiac weapons, anyway. If we had this info, the field could probably be thinned out some more.

Llama
Manufacutred in Spain. Models available only in 7.65 Parabellum, 9mm Largo or .45 ACP until 1986. Not a possible BRS gun.

Astra/Esperanza
Esperanza is the Spanish company which made Spain's Campo Giro sidearm. Esperanza later made guns under the trademark "Astra". The only problem with any of these guns is that any of the models made in time to be used by Zodiac were in the 9mm Largo caliber, aka 9mmx23, aka 9mm Bergman-Bayard. This pretty much rules these guns out.

Zbrojovka
Czech guns, made by Ceska Zbrojovka. There were many models but they were all made in Soviet calibers or the 9mm Browning Short until the CZ75 model came out in 1975. It did have a 15+1 ammo capacity, but it can't be a BRS weapon.

Smith & Wesson
M39: USA 1954 - 1980. 9mm Parabellum, cap. 8+1, 6 grooves, rh. USN Seal Teams use this with a silencer as a "sentry snuffer". Navy designation Mark 22, affectionately refered to as the "hush puppy".

M59: USA 1954-1980. 9mm Parabellum, cap. 14+1, 6 grooves, rh. Another good BRS possible.

469 (669): 9mm Parabellum, cap. 12+1, 6 grooves, rh. Also a good possible BRS piece.

Neuhausen (SIG)
In 1937, Schweitzerische Industrie Gesellschaft obtained a license from the French SACM to manufacture and develop a pistol whose design became the French service pistol Model of 1935. This was a 7.65mm long caliber semi-auto. As the Swiss service cartridge was the 7.65 Parabellum, SIG produced the "Selbstladepistole"(SP) in this caliber. A few pistols were also made in 7.65 long and 9mm Parabellum. In 1942, a line of auto loading handguns generally referred to as the 'Neuhausen' pistols were made. These culminated in the Neuhausen 44/14, a 9mm pistol with a magazine capacity of 16 that appeared in 1944.

Further changes to the design were made. The SP44 failed the Swiss military trials resulting in an eight-shot version called the Model 47/8. Commercial manufacture of this pistol began in 1947. It was offered with interchangeable 7.65mm and 9mm Parabellum barrel. The following year the 9mm model became the Swiss military pistol and was designated as the Pistole Model 1949. The military models differed from the civilian pistol by having a matte parkerized finish instead of a
polished blue. In 1949, the Danish authorities adopted the civilian model - the SIG P210.

The P210 (9mm Parabellum) has a total capacity of 9 rounds (8 in magazine + 1 in the chamber). The barrel has 6 grooves with a right-hand twist.

The Neuhausen 44/14 (9mm Parabellum) was made in 1947 and had a capacity of 8+1, also 6 grooves, rh. Both are possible BRS weapons.

Husqvarna
This was a Swedish designed pistol. It was designed as the L-35 in 1935 with a prototype in 7.65mm and entered service with the Swedish army in 9mm Parabellum caliber as the M40. It was also manufactured in Finland for the Finnish army. Total capacity 8+1, 6 grooves, rh. Possible BRS gun.

Star Super B
Manufactured in Spain 1946 - 1965. 9mm Parabellum, capacity 9+1, 4 grooves, rh. Possible BRS gun.

Luger Parabellum (P.08)
Manufactured in Germany 1908 - 1945. 9mm Parabellum, capacity 8+1, uncommon 8 grooves, rh. Possible BRS gun.

Browning Hi-Power (FN 35GP)
Belgium 1935. Canada. 9mm Parabellum, cap. 13+1, 6 grooves, rh.
Definitely possible, esp. if Zodiac fired more than 9 rounds and did not reload. Question - what is the evidence of this?

Taurus PT92
Brazil. Date of manufacture - don't know. 9mm Parabellum, cap. 15+1, 6 grooves, rh.


In addition to Graysmith's list, there are some more possibilities:


Zastava M57
Yugoslavia 1957. 9mm Parabellum, cap. 9+1, 6 grooves, rh.

Beretta M951/M951R
Italy 1953 - 1982. 9mm Parabellum, cap. 8+1/10+1, 6 grooves, rh.

Steyr 1912
Austria 1912 - 1945. 9mm Parabellum, cap. 8+1, uncommon 4 grooves, rh.

Radom ViS 35
Poland 1936 - 1945. 9mm Parabellum, cap. 8+1, 6 grooves, rh.

Ray

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-169.linkline.com - 64.30.217.169) on Monday, November 19, 2001 - 08:19 pm:

Det.Wm,
A brilliant surmise!As you state, Zodiac did not use his gun at LB ,there would be no need to change weapons and probably,the same gun was used in the Stine case,which as we do know ,was a 9mm.

Hartnell, according to the police reports,was shown various bullets,and was unable to ID a comparable projectile as being like the one that was shown to him by Zodiac.Was this due partly to the gun being a 9mm,but yet, appeared to the untrained Hartnell as being a .45?

I know that at least one of the bullets that was shown to Hartnell was a 9mm,but one wonders if a fuller display of 9mm bullets was warranted.The focus seems to have been on a .45 as per Hartnells observation.If only you had been one of the lead detectives on the Zodiac case,possibly none of us would be posting on this Board!

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-72.linkline.com - 64.30.217.72) on Tuesday, November 20, 2001 - 01:46 am:

Ray,
Thanks!You are an expert to be sure.All of us have benefited from your background in firearms.I have always leaned in the direction that it was a Browning Hi -Power(FN 35GP)because of its capacity and its connection to the Canadian army.

The guy (he had a huge collection of guns and knives-a real "weapons freak" as he was called)that purchased the weapons with my suspect -a .45, 9mm Radom "and other weapons"in '69, was a weapons expert(he even owns a gun shop in Oregon today-near Toms place!) and he had been in the military in Canada.As you brought out in your excellent post,the Hi-Power was used by the Canadian army.

The fact that you bring out the gun used at LB could have been a Radom 9mm and my info "that I[my suspect]had a 9mm that looked like a .45"is of interest to me personally.

Of course,all of this is only theorizing-something we all do relative to this case!It doesn't, as det.Wm. says, prove anything.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-70.linkline.com - 64.30.217.70) on Wednesday, November 21, 2001 - 11:02 pm:

Ray,
The following is taken from the DOJ Report regarding the bullets and casings taken at the site of BRS:seven empty cases-9mm.;lead object and jacket,bullets 9mm 7 in number,two empty cases-9mm.A P38 auto pistol,clip.Ammo -9mm Winchester.Some possible pistols:Browing,Smith &wesson,Star,Astra,LIama,Neuhausen,Zebrojoka,Esper-anza and Husqvarna.

As a FYI as I have just these pages before me so the suspect description is:"...Male Caucasian,26-30 years,5'8"[Mageau said he was "short"],200 pounds,light brown hair,no glasses or mustache.Described suspect vehicle as brown and shaped like a Corvair."

Mageau said that he only saw the perps"... face from the profile ,side view and does not recall seeing a front view...he had a large face."

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-19-103.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.19.103) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 07:18 am:

Howard:

Wait a minute. "A P38 auto pistol,clip."?

How do you interpret this? They found a P38 clip? Or "clip ammo"? Or "P38 ammo"? (Certainly not the gun itself)

That's a Walther, isn't it? In fact, it replaced the Luger P08 in the German military in the l;ate 30's or early 40's, and, perhaps due to its ubiquitous appearance as an officer's sidearm in many a WWII flick, is often identified as a "Luger", nein? Any idea, then, why either "Walther" (or "Luger") doesn't appear on the list that follows?

Ray?

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx2-27.linkline.com - 64.30.218.27) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 11:01 am:

Peter H,
That is what is on the Report.I tried to give just the pertinent information.Perhaps the weapon and clip was sent in to make a determination as to a possible match,but bears no connection to the actual killing at BRS.I will survey the other reports.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-40-129.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.40.129) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 02:46 pm:

Howard:

I read what you quoted from the report, and it's intriguing, but it is highly ambiguous and is not "information" unless we know what it was intended to mean. Do you take it to mean that some investigator at BRS actually reported a Walther P38, with clip, found at BRS? And that it may have nothing to do with the killing? How likely is that? A P38, most commonly (if mistakenly) known as a "Luger", was found at BRS and has nothing to do with a Z killing there presumably hours before?

(Right about now I can just hear Tom rustlng in the bushes out there around this discussion waiting to pounce with a simple explanation of this DOJ report entry that he will gently point out any idiot should know about if I had only read some basic post or article that has been on this site for a zillion years or so. Something like: Dear Peter and Howard: this P38 reference is one of those things that slip into DOJ reports based on second or third hand misinterpretation of what the original investigators originally reported, which might have been, "gee these 9mm slugs and cases might have come from one of those, what do you call 'em, those broomhandle pistols Erich von Stroheim pulled in all those war movies? A Luger, yeah, a Luger. Hey, didn't that Zodiac letter mention a Luger? Better get someone from Ballistics, or Evidence or someplace to get one a them Lugers over to Forensics to see if we can get a match . . ." So someone sends a P38 labeled "BRS" over to Forensics . . . .
Its DOJ report entries like this that keep me asking whether anyone has certain original documents, e.g. Morrill's actual anlayses.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (93.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.16.93) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 05:11 pm:

Tom is more likely to say "there was no P38 clip found at BRS following the Zodiac incident."

My wife plays a variation of this game with me. Instead of saying "listen to what happened to me at work today," she says "would you like to hear what happened to me at work today?" Heaven help me if I'm not immediately all ears!

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-100.linkline.com - 64.30.217.100) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 09:04 pm:

Doug,
I just forwarded your e-mail to your wife and heaven help you if you don't listen to me and block it! (just kiddin'!)

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (179.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.16.179) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 09:07 pm:

Homewrecker!

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-100.linkline.com - 64.30.217.100) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 10:44 pm:

Peter H,
OK ,here is more of the Report:"Suspects weapon was a p38 auto which prints show belonged to a Peter H----.,a resident of the East coast-we have gotten numerous inquires from him regarding the case disagreeing with our methods and procedures."
Fact:
"DOJ-To Jack Stiltz, Chief of Police ,Vallejo, CA-The following is a report concerning physical evidence examinations requested by your office...A.L. Coffey,Chief of the Bureau.Physical Evidence Examination Report...Subject :John Doe[sorry!I am certain Tom would delete the name and rightly so-if he wants to give it fine]...7-22-69...CII Evidence Locker #12...continued-".

The Reports contain references to pistols being turned in that were owned by Z suspects(even Officers!)for testing against the slugs and casings that were found at the'87 site.This is an excellent method providing the suspect did not dispose of the murder weapon!To this day there never has been a match.

Z didn't mind the PD finding the shells/slugs as he,no doubt,'tossed'or disposed of the gun.

VPD Report:"This search discovered what appeared to be seven(7)empty shell casings.These casings bore the caliber on the base of the shell ,that being a 9mm.These casings believed to have been ejected from an automatic pistol.The seven(7)empty shells were found a few away from the victims auto on the right side.All of these shell cases have been tagged into evidence under this case number"[243-146].

"The following exhibit was removed from CC Evidence Locker #12 by the undersigned on July 24, 1969 at 1:30PM:9.)P38 auto pistol.b.)Clip.

On July 24,1969 at 11:30AM the following items of additional evidence was received by Registered Mail #41991 from Capt.Bird of the Vallejo Police Department".
See above post for list concerning cases,slugs.11/21/01.Spelling corrected-I thimmk!

One item of interest from VPD Report:"...he[Mageau]heard a muffled sound and felt a pain in his back and his neck area.He states he heard some more muffled sounds,sounding like a gun with a silencer on it...Micheal states that all the shots that he heard were muffled,sounding similar to a gun with a silencer on.It was not loud.
States the subject[Zodiac]then turned around and ['after coming back and shooting he and Darlene two more times each']and causally(!)walked back to his vehicle[M only saw the "rear portion"of this car and when it first pulled up in the lot and it appeared "similar" to a Corvair,but a lighter brown]and got in...he[Z] continued on Blue Rock Springs Road at a very high rate of speed towards Springs Road in Vallejo".The driver had come from Springs Road.
I must really like you guys as this is,for such a poor typist,frustratingly tedious and slow!I feel responsible -and happy,to do it though.Sorry for any mistakes,but the content is akkccurrattee!

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (proxy1-external.potlnd1.or.home.com - 24.4.254.136) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 10:47 pm:

Peter, since you know me so well why would I need to respond? From now on, you may speak on my behalf.

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38lde2a.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.184.74) on Saturday, November 24, 2001 - 03:10 pm:

Peter is exactly right. The Walther P-38 is a gun not appearing on either Graysmith's list or mine. Since I haven't seen the DOJ report, maybe that's where Graysmith got his list.

As far as the P-38 goes, I'm getting more confused by the minute. The P-38 is chambered in 9mm Luger and has an 8+1 ammo capacity. Now, if there was a P-38 magazine found on the ground at the scene, why are the police a)convinced that no reloading took place (particularly when the brand of shells matched) and b)sure that a Browning Hi-Power was used?

Is it possible we are onto something here or is there just a huge gap of information we are missing? I can't imagine that they found a P-38 gun there, surely we would have heard something of that by now.

Howard, why don't you break out that report again and see if you can find out any more balistics oddities in there.

Ray

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-160.linkline.com - 64.30.217.160) on Sunday, November 25, 2001 - 02:01 am:

Ray H.,
I gave the pertinent information and indicated that the P38 and clip, was probably a gun they were running for ballistics match up.The name of the suspect is given,but I won't give that.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-ntc-ta051.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.16.41) on Sunday, November 25, 2001 - 01:05 pm:

You folks do realize that this thread becomes even more complicated when we throw LHR into the discussion, right?

First of all, why in God's name would Z choose to use a weapon chambered for .22 Long Rifle? The idea of being shot by such a round is dreadful. I, for one, can see absolutely nothing about this round that is tactically advantageous. It seems to me that either one of two things occurred: Zodiac was being deliberately brutal in his attack at LHR, or he was too stupid to know that .22LR is a poor caliber choice if you intend to target humans.

Finally, could magazines in the "double-stack" configuration be found for the P38? I don't remember off the top of my head but, if so, this would make the capacity of the P38 10 + 1 rounds.

Awesome discussion!

Scott

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-40.linkline.com - 64.30.217.40) on Monday, November 26, 2001 - 02:58 am:

One report on LHR says:"Weapon:.22 caliber semi-automatic.Possibilities-J.C. Higgins Model 80 or High Standard Model 101.

Ammunition:.22 caliber Super X copper coated long rifle."Ouch!(That isn't in the report!).

Scott,Ray,and Det.Wm.,or any other gun experts -any comments?The 'brutality is one motive.

Some might say one uses long rifle bullets for more distance and accuracy,at least I was told that!Z had his "electric gun sight"(which Z did not use at BRS) and ,of course,Faraday was shot in the left ear area at close range,but Jensen ran and was felled about 28'6" from the right rear bumper of the wagon.She must have suffered great pain,at least for a short time, which would have delighted Z.

See his torture letter for his views on pain and suffering:"I shall...torture all 13 of my slaves...Some I shall...watch them scream & twich and squirm[see Bates letter for the same words]...I shall listen to their pleass for water and I shall laugh at them..."Long rifle slugs ain't got nothin'over that!

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldfi9.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.190.73) on Monday, November 26, 2001 - 09:23 am:

Howard:

Thanks. Do I now understand correctly that the P-38 referred to in the report was in fact a weapon which DOJ already had in their possesion which they used to make a comparison with the recovered slugs to find out if they were fired by a P-38? Because the unnamed suspect was known to have owned a P-38? Is this correct/incorrect?

Scott:

As far as magazines go, a double stack or more commonly, double row magazine is one in which the cartridges do not sit exactly on top of one another, but rather are staggered in a zig-zag fashion. This results in more cartridges per vertical inch, ergo more total ammo capacity. These magazines must necessarily be wider, however, and a gun which is designed to accomodate them will have to be designed with a magazine well (the hollow part of the grip) which is correspondingly wider. So, any gun designed for a single-row magazine will accept only that. The only other alternative for such a gun would be an elongated magazine which extends below the bottom of the grip, or a replacement magazine spring which allows more cartridges to be fitted into a stock mag. These modifications often cause feeding problems and weapon stoppages due to improper spring tension on the cartridge stack.

As far as .22 ammo goes, the long rifle doesn't imply it is for rifles only, it just happens to be the name of the cartridge. There is another .22 round, the .22 Short, which is the same bullet in a shorter case with less power. Tactically, there are numerous advantages to the .22 LR. First, it's quiet. .22 handguns are typically small and lightweight while retaining a high magazine capacity, and are easily concealed. They are quickly and effectively adapted with homemade disposable silencers which can be made out of a shampoo bottle filled with styrofoam pieces or something along those lines. A typical High Velocity .22 LR projectile is about 40 grains in weight with velocities approaching 1400 feet/second. This is tremendous power at close range. Larger calibers retain their power better at longer distances, but at normal combat shooting distances, 2 to 7 yards, the .22 is quite a formidable weapon. Inside of 2 yards it is just as effective as any other weapon. Hits to the head, spinal cord, heart, or lungs, are either instantly fatal or incapacitating. This brings out another advantage, insignificant recoil, so at close range rapid fire can also be quite accurate. Professional hit men favor the .22 not because it is a cruel weapon, but because of these characteristics.

My personal theory is that Zodiac selected this weapon for these reasons too, but because of the incident at LHR where Jensen may have almost escaped, (particularly if this was a repeat of the Santa Barbara incident) he may have felt he needed to step up to a major caliber for BRS. Of course, this is pure speculation. Although powerful, shooting a .22 through auto glass would damage the small bullet and slow it down tremendously. For a planned shooting into a vehicle, a 9mm would definitely be better, although substantially louder.

Ray

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-19-213.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.19.213) on Monday, November 26, 2001 - 12:55 pm:

Ray:

I think that's what Howard meant all along, although I was confused at first by the language of the DOJ report itself, which seems to have mixed evidence collected at the scene with evidence either taken from suspects or supplied as exemplars. We now have theat clarification.

Tom:

That wasn't really a personal comment, you know, just my way of saying I know we're missing something if we take the DOJ report to mean that either a gun or clip was actually taken from the scene. The apocryphal converstaion about how the notation got in the DOJ report was my own conjecture, and I apologize if it seemed to put those words in your mouth. It was fairly accurate, however: as Howard's follow-up info confirms, the P-38 and clip came form Evidence, apparently to be tested either by ballistics or forensics. Doug's right: Tom's actual clarification would probably have been more to the point.

Scott:

I believe it was Bill Baker (who would certainly know) who informed us in the past that the .22 LR was the predominant round of choice for professional hits in the day.

All:

Given Ray's detailed information of the terms "9mm" and "Luger" and Howard's info that several 9mm exemplars were checked against the slugs and casings, what is your favorite candidate for Z'z weapon of choice at BRS? since I am speaking for Tom now, I'll put forth his choice first as

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-10407-2.linkline.com - 64.30.209.40) on Monday, November 26, 2001 - 02:41 pm:

Ray H,
It appears that the P38 /clip was in the evidence locker for testing against the BRS evidence.Apparently the weapon and clip belonged to the person named in the report.Obviously there was no match!

I know as a teen I used long rifle for its greater power in certain circumstances when needed(no not at LHR!).Z was not as ignorant about weapons as some have claimed or assumed.

It would appear from the events of that night that Z meant for Jensen to 'run'(to add to the "thrilling experience",etc.) and his "electric gun sight"and the long rifle ammo would do the job in this regard.He knew she could not get away in this case-it would just be how far would she run.

We have always assumed that there was no attempt at getting the female-Darlene Ferrin, to 'run' at BRS.Z shot Mageau and after a "pause",as per Braynt,he shot him again,and then a volley of shots(and of course,the infamous return to fire again).Did Z shoot Mageau hoping that would get Darlene out of the small car and he could then, with more light than he had(no need for gun sight)at LHR and with greater fire power ,kill her on the run?
When one reads Zodiacs statement in his letter we find that he meant to shoot Mageau in the head.He wrote:"When I fired the FIRST shot at his HEAD he leaped backwards thus spoiling my aim."I think the basics could have been the same as at LHR-a head hit and by that time the girl runs and the chase begins.Possibly,this time his plan was spoiled and he opened fire on Darlene while she was in the car due to Mageaus unexpected manuevers which took up time.Just a thought.

You mention the louder report of the 9mm at BRs.Mageau kept affirming in reports that it sounded like there was some kind of a "silencer," as the shots sounded 'muffled'.Of course,we have George Bryant that heard the shots from a distance ,so they were loud enough for him to hear.Old posts already cover this area of discussion including direction,distance position,etc.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-ntc-ta073.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.16.53) on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 02:59 pm:

Ray N,

I appreciate your information. However, to a certain degree, you're preaching to the choir. I was raised with guns of all types and makes (my father was not only in law enforcement, but was a firearms dealer as well). I'll never be convinced of the tactical advantages of a .22LR round. Weapons chambered for this particular round are notorious for malfunctions and the .22LR IS NOT a good man stopper except at very close range (as in the muzzle aimed mere inches from the victim's head type of close range).

You wrote: "A typical High Velocity .22 LR projectile is about 40 grains in weight with velocities approaching 1400 feet/second. This is tremendous power at close range. Larger calibers retain their power better at longer distances, but at normal combat shooting distances, 2 to 7 yards, the .22 is quite a formidable weapon.

I have to disagree with some of your comments. First of all, the weight of the bullet and velocity are only a small part of the equation when it comes to "man stopping" ability. It's more important to look at the foot-pounds of energy that is created by a particular round. Though you are correct about the .22LR's weight and velocity, it must be noted that, in terms of foot-pounds of energy, we're only talking about 110 - 180 foot-pounds of energy, and that's at the muzzle! On the other hand, a .38 Special with a 158 grain bullet will generate anywhere from 200 to 280 foot-pounds of energy (at the muzzle). Without a doubt, the three most effective calibers in a close quarters combat scenario would be the 9mm, .357 Magnum, and .45ACP. There's a reason that .22LR rounds are not legal for use on big game, and humans are most certainly "big game." So, I'm at a loss as to how you can claim that, "Inside of 2 yards it is just as effective as any other weapon." This is simply NOT true. If you take a look at any ballistics chart and apply "Taylor's Knock-Out Formula" to the various calibers mentioned here, you will see what I mean. In my opinion, Zodiac was either naive or intended to be very brutal at LHR. I have to go to work now or I'd continue this post because there is a lot more I have to say.

See y'all soon,

Scott

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (36.philadelphia08rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.31.36) on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 07:17 pm:

One might also consider that Zodiac didn't purchase the weapon specifically to kill with. Perhaps it was all he had lying around when he finally decided he had had enough.

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38lddna.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.182.234) on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 09:06 pm:

Scott,

I am well aware there are plenty of people on here who are very familiar with firearms, but there are also plenty who aren't members of the choir. I was really just offering the information to that group. I wanted to make sure no one thought the .22 was not a completely satisfactory round for killing. Homicide case files of many police departments would attest to the contrary. I was only trying to make sure this fact was known. I was not saying the .22 is absolutely the best weapon for the job by any means. My personal weapon is a Sig .45 and I stand by that cartridge as the ultimate "manstopper". I do not dispute the ballistics superiority of major calibers for knockdown power. That was not my intention. Certainly you would never find a law enforcement agency extolling the virtues of the .22 as a carry weapon. Combat shooting authorities such as Chuck Taylor or Jeff Cooper would certainly take such a gun and throw it in the trash if offered as a carry weapon, but you would have their complete cooperation if you were pointing one at them. There are other factors a conscientious murderer must take into account besides Taylor's Index. Report volume among other things is not at all important when employing a firearm in a purely defensive capacity. But if one simply wants to kill at close range and does not foresee the need to stop a charging suspect with a knife, I am only trying to point out that at close range the .22 will kill you just as dead as a .45. I guarantee that a well placed head shot will send the recipient straight to the ground. Dead or not, he's out of action, and it would be a simple matter at that point to inflict additional injuries with minimal noise signature. I am not saying it's a superior round, but the fact remains that it does retain some tactical advantages, despite it's small stature. The Marine Corps (and the other branches) have switched to the 5.56 NATO rifle cartridge for infantry service weapons. This is basically a .22 caliber round with a projectile weight of 55 grains! With a muzzle velocity of about 3300 fps, it gives helmet penetration to 800 meters although this is well beyond the effective range of the weapon due to accuracy issues. Still nothing to scoff at. The only .30 caliber shoulder weapons the Corps maintains are the 700BDL sniper rifle which is highly accurate to well beyond this range, and the M14 spotter weapon.

I don't know about Zodiac's intention to torture his victims by shooting them with a bullet that would not necessarily kill them as quickly as another. Maybe that was his intention. I can tell you if I ever went out to kill someone I would use a .22 or a .25 that would fit in my pocket and not make very much noise. That would be my obsession with self-preservation overtaking any thoughts of blowing somebody's head off in a spectacular display of firepower or a "humane gesture".

I sure hope I am not being perceived to be preaching. I'm only trying to offer my experience to those without much who might find it helpful. In no way do I present myself as the board's authority on firearms. It's just my opinions, for what they're worth.

Ray

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38lddna.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.182.234) on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 09:15 pm:

P.S.

Remember, we're not talking about a shootout here, we're talking about employing a firearm against helpless, unarmed victims in close quarters. Trust me, whatever it is, the gun will win every time! So why not pick one that isn't heard two miles away?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (72.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.16.72) on Wednesday, November 28, 2001 - 05:04 am:

An interesting quote from Kaczynski: "...instead of fretting about how I can get revenge on him safely, I just want to watch the bullet rip through his flesh and I want to kick him in the face while he is dying." Probably not out of the question with a small-caliber weapon, while something heavier might not give him the satisfaction.

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldf3g.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.188.112) on Wednesday, November 28, 2001 - 09:07 am:

Of course, if we decide he intended to inflict maximum pain on his victims, then we have to answer the questions of why did Zodiac switch to a 9mm for BRS, and even more to the point, why did he use a 9mm for PH, where the .22 would have probably been a better choice anyway? Paul Stine certainly didn't suffer.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (219.philadelphia01rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.17.219) on Wednesday, November 28, 2001 - 09:46 am:

The desire to inflict suffering may have ended up taking a back seat to expediency.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (219.philadelphia01rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.17.219) on Wednesday, November 28, 2001 - 09:50 am:

Incidentally, for the gun enthusiasts, Kaczynski's collection included "One stainless steel .22-cal. revolver and nine .22-cal. rounds of ammunition. The revolver is further described as an 'H&R Inc., U.S.A., Model 930, serial # AE 1935.' The revolver has a black handle, which is wrapped in masking tape." Is there such a thing as a nine-shot revolver?

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldc59.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.176.169) on Wednesday, November 28, 2001 - 11:13 am:

Yes, there are some nine and I think some 10 shot revolvers, all .22 caliber.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-10407-2.linkline.com - 64.30.209.40) on Wednesday, November 28, 2001 - 02:22 pm:

Ray H,
Excellent post!Det.Wm. offered the suggestion that since Z didn't use his weapon at LB and if it was a 9mm(and gave the appearance of a .45 Colt Army) -as per our past discussions,then he used it at PH or S.F.,because he would not repeat using the same weapon if it was employed in a past murder,which, of course, is a good idea.As he brought out guns aren't necessarily that easy or cheap to acquire.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-ntc-td044.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.17.169) on Saturday, December 01, 2001 - 03:21 pm:

Ray,

Sorry it has taken me so long to respond to your post. I value your knowledge of firearms. Indeed, if more people had the knowledge of them that you and I do, they'd be much less controversial, in my opinion.

One of my objectives in this thread is to try and figure out not only what particular weapons may have been used by Zodiac, but also why he chose a particular weapon. Was he cognizant of his weapon choice and, if so, what exactly motivated him to use a specific weapon? Was it for tactical reasons? Did he select a weapon randomly? Was he being deliberately brutal in his choice of weapons? Was it the only weapon available to him at any given time? Or, was he just naive about weapons in general?

All of these questions seem important to me because I think that by studying Zodiac's choice and use of weapons, we may come to know something about the man himself. We could possibly shed light on numerous aspects of the case. For example, we may be able to discover, once and for all, if Zodiac had ever been affiliated with the military or, perhaps, a police agency.

Having said all of this, please allow me to address your post from November 27 at 9:06pm on a point by point basis. Perhaps it will help aid not only you, but also everyone on the board who is interested, in better understanding my position and why I think it is an important source of discussion.

1. "I wanted to make sure no one thought the .22 was not a completely satisfactory round for killing."

Sure, if that is all that is available to you. But what if Zodiac owned numerous handguns of varying caliber? Why would he choose a pistol chambered for .22LR if he could have selected a .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .45 ACP, etc.? I don't really buy the concept of the .22's quieter report because any handgun, semi-automatic or revolver, can have it's report substantially baffled if the proper measures are taken. If you baffle the gap between a revolver's chamber and forcing cone you will not only greatly reduce the noise that it makes, but the bullet's ballistic characteristics remain exactly the same; unlike a silencer placed on the muzzle of a semi-automatic pistol.

I can tell that this is going to turn into a pretty long post so, do to time constraints, I will have to continue it later. I'll leave you, however, with two quick comments. 5.56mm NATO has been used by the military for nearly 4 decades. It's the exact same round as the .223 Remington. This round came into service in the early '60s. Additionally, like the .22LR, it is also not legal to hunt big game with this round.

More later,

Scott

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-245.linkline.com - 64.30.217.245) on Saturday, December 01, 2001 - 03:31 pm:

Ray H.,
This is the reference that I just found from my guys parole hearing to the 9mm:"I used to shoot a lot.I was into that NRA and things like that when I used to shoot...I liked shooting and I'd owned guns...It was a 9mm...it looked like a .45,a Colt Army.45.He got the gun with a 'fake ID'(he also said he had a 'fake ID' when he worked in Lake Tahoe.

He tells the Board that he though in the 60's he was sad,depressed and filled with "anger",he says he is now "in control."

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldctv.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.179.191) on Sunday, December 02, 2001 - 07:36 pm:

Scott:

You have a valid point. Don't think I'm trying to argue against it. As you know, bigger calibers will do more damage and are more lethal. I fully acknowledge that. I find that there is much merit in your quest for information about the man himself. Unfortunately for us all, it seems unlikely that we will ever interview the man, so we will never be able to know what his motivations were for the use of various weapons. All we can do is speculate without hope of verifying anything.

Again, please don't think I am advocating the .22 as a superior round for killing, I am only saying it is entirely adequate in many instances and that it maintains the natural advantages of being a quiet, low-recoil round without application of silencers. It remains adequate irrespective of what other weapons are available. Professional hitters (who are generally not sadistic psychopaths) have long favored the round because it a nice balance of characteristics. They do this because it gets the job done but doesn't advertise to the world what is happening. When .22 slugs hit bone, like a skull, they usually (not always) disentigrate making slug matching difficult if not impossible. Since the .22 is also such a prolific cartridge, there are many more guns which could have fired it even when the make of gun is determined. But whether or not this has any bearing on this case can't be known without direct knowlege of Zodiac's thought processes when he planned his crimes. For this reason, it seems to me that a protracted debate on these issues better belongs on the pages of Guns and Ammo.

As far as the 5.56/.223 round goes, the military has other considerations. First, an infantryman, (Oops I'm sorry this is a public forum) infantryperson can carry both a lighter weapon and more rounds per pound, and secondly, although they're loathe to discuss it, wounded enemy are better than KIAs. This is because a wounded person engages more fully the logistics resources of the enemy. Other soldiers must put themselves into the line of fire to retrieve their comrade, battlefield medics are required, transportation, a hospital stay, someone goes home without a limb eroding public support for the conflict, etc, etc. In other words, wounding the enemy wages the war with them on many fronts.

Howard:

It sounds to me like a Polish Radom ViS 35. It could be something else, but since he compared it relatively at length to the Colt, that seems the likely gun. Did you view the pictures of it?

Ray N

By Classic (Classic) (spider-wg052.proxy.aol.com - 205.188.196.42) on Sunday, December 02, 2001 - 07:55 pm:

I had posted about z's weapons some time ago. A 9mm is a 9mm is a 9mm. It doesn't matter whether is is luger,parabellum or whatever. They are the same.

At the time the Browning was the only high capacity pistol available. Any of the "snail type" drum magazines would be instantly identifiable and cumbersome.

It is not at all difficult to identify the pistol a casing came from by simply looking at the casing. Different pistols leave different extractor marks on the casings.

Z used two different Browning Hi-Power pistols for BRS and PH. That has been established. What the real question is why two? He kept enough other incriminating evidence to make the idea of tossing the gun moot.Classic

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-ntc-td084.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.17.189) on Sunday, December 02, 2001 - 09:18 pm:

I'm back with you . . .

" . . .whether or not this has any bearing on this case can't be known without direct knowlege of Zodiac's thought processes when he planned his crimes. For this reason, it seems to me that a protracted debate on these issues better belongs on the pages of Guns and Ammo."

Seriously, I'm not trying to turn this into a ballistics debate. We both understand the vices and virtues of the .22LR round, as well as various other calibers. I'm not trying to debate this in terms of the effectiveness of the .22LR round as a "man stopper." Instead, it's my belief that good information about Zodiac can be gleaned from close scrutiny of his MO; in this instance, that which pertains to his choice of weapons.

For instance, I've long believed that something about the LHR murders deeply troubled Zodiac. There has to be a reason why Zodiac switched to a 9mm pistol for the BRS crime. Sure, we can resolve this by saying that he dumped the weapon used at LHR because it held evidentiary value. However, if this is the case, why didn't he do the same thing with the 9mm pistol used at BRS? Unless I'm overlooking something major, isn't there every reason to believe that this was the same gun as that seen at LB and as that used to kill Paul Stine? If so, could there be another reason, other than that already mentioned, why Zodiac chose to discard the weapon used at LHR? Isn't it possible that the LHR crime made him feel squeamish because of the number of rounds it took to murder Betty Lou Jensen? If so, this could explain the weapon change between LHR and BRS. Perhaps he felt the need to "upgrade" his arsenal to a more suitable "man stopping" caliber. After all, he had no way of knowing what troubles lay ahead at BRS at the time that he acquired the 9mm (that he would end up leaving behind an eyewitness, Mike Mageau). Again, unless I'm way off on this, why didn't Zodiac discard the 9mm pistol used at BRS? It certainly contained as much evidentiary value as the pistol used at LHR, right?

Furthermore, I have a hard time believing that the weapon used at LHR was selected because of it's tactical advantages with regard to noise. Why? Because the area that Zodiac trolled that evening is essentially pretty remote to begin with. You don't have to worry about the report of a firearm if nobody is around to hear it. Additionally, if drawing attention to the crime was of great concern to Zodiac, wouldn't it have been more advantageous to just shoot them with two quick blasts from a high-powered revolver rather than having to use a succession of rapid fire blasts from a .22LR pistol? Wouldn't one scenario draw just as much attention as the other?

Personally, I simply believe that a concerted understanding of the weapons he used to commit his crimes will lead to a better understanding of the man we call Zodiac. His weapons directly pertain to his MO. The better we understand his MO, the better we will understand him. At least, that's my opinion, and I do believe that there are plenty of people in law enforcement who would agree with me.

BTW, your history of the 5.56mm NATO round is absolutely correct, although I don't believe that the military community is "loathe to discuss it." An injured enemy soldier is more detrimental to the opposition than a dead one because, in essence, it's like losing 5 or 10 men instead of just one, for the very reasons that you stated. I was merely addressing the fact that it is not a new caliber for the military. 5.56mm NATO has been used since the war in Vietnam.

Scott

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldf5k.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.188.180) on Monday, December 03, 2001 - 12:19 am:

Scott:

I see. You make excellent points here.

Classic:

You wrote: "I had posted about z's weapons some time ago. A 9mm is a 9mm is a 9mm. It doesn't matter whether it is luger, parabellum, or whatever. They are the same."

The reason for this thread here was initially to examine the fact that Z said in his phone call to Vallejo police that the kids were shot with a 9mm Luger and I wondered whether he was trying to refer to the caliber of the gun used or the gun itself, for purposes of looking into his knowledge of firearms or lack thereof.

They (9mm cartridges) are certainly not all the same. There are many types - some are synonymous, others are not. There's so many I myself was a little confused about it initially, and I pretty well know my way around guns. There might even be a post or two on this thread which address this.

"At the time the Browning was the only high capacity pistol available."

I don't even know how to respond to this other than to ask did you even bother to read the posts on this thread? What you are suggesting is that the Browning Hi-Power, being the only available high-capacity pistol available at the time, was the first such pistol ever made! Fact: The 9mm Luger cartridge came into being in 1902. Were there then 67 years of world history completely devoid of the manufacture of such pistols? Do the words Neuhausen(SIG) or Smith & Wesson have any meaning to you? Are Graysmith, DOJ, and I just making these other guns up? I would direct you to my post here dated Sunday, November 18, 2001, - 06:00 pm. Which of these guns on this incomplete list do you not acknowledge was available at the time of any of the Zodiac crimes?

"It is not at all difficult to identify the pistol a casing came from by simply looking at the casing. Different pistols leave different extractor marks on the casings."

I can assure you the process is far from simple. It's not like you just look it up in some book called "The Encyclopedia of Shellcase Markings". In some instances, case markings can identify a make of gun if they are unique enough. Usually though, they are used after a suspect weapon has been obtained to identify a casing that has been fired in that individual gun to the exclusion of all other guns when a slug is unavailable or unusable. Such marks include extractor, ejector, feed ramp, ejection port, magazine lip, firing pin, and breech face. Add to the fray that some magazines from one pistol will work in others and you have a staggering task ahead of you. Ballistics labs prefer slugs for comparisons. The ATF and FBI have recently merged their ballistics programs into something called NIBS(sp?). This is like the AFIS system except for firearms. It is a relatively new program which makes ballistics comparisons from a database.

"Z used two different Browning Hi-Power pistols for BRS and PH. That has been established."

Really? By whom? Robert Graysmith? This is a prime example of why I started this thread in the first place. I am still waiting for someone to tell me how this has been established. Classic, please tell me this is a revelation. Tell me you are an actual police investigator on this case who has actual knowledge not previously made public. Please don't tell me it's magazine capacity or I'll refer you back to my previous posts here. Why on earth could Zodiac have not reloaded? Who was there to see him not reload other than a guy laying on the ground who just got shot in the head and other painful places? I wonder how such a person would perform in a field-administered hearing or vision test. Even if it was a high-capacity weapon, back to my post for a list of possibles, all with 6 grooves, right twist just like the Browning! Is it magazine capacity for PH, too? No. That bullet (apparently) came apart, so what are we back to case markings now? Or did the police actually write in their report, "Well, the kid didn't see him reload, but even though we can't even establish for sure how many rounds were fired, we're pretty sure it's a Browning 'cause that's the only 9mm that holds enough rounds in one magazine- even though we don't know what that number is or whether he reloaded"?

I would be very interested to see any official document declaring the weapon to be a Browning. I'm not saying it isn't, it may well be, but you are making many statements here which are,... well, which are difficult to describe in acceptable terms on this board.

Of course, if you are in fact a detective who has read the actual ballistics reports for BRS and PH, I'll take back what I've said in the previous to last paragraph.

Sorry to be rehashing topics which have been so thoroughly covered previously. What was I thinking?

Ray

By Classic (Classic) (spider-tr034.proxy.aol.com - 152.163.201.189) on Monday, December 03, 2001 - 10:01 am:

Ray, take it easy there,buddy, no need to get yer knickers in a twist.

I never understood the confusion and fascination over what z said in his phone call. A 9mm luger is a 9mm parabellum and vice versa. If there was physical evidence that the weapon was a Luger model that would be one thing, but because z used the term descrbing the cartridge he used there really is no significance to it.

The S&W M59 with 14shot mag. did not come until 1971. Unless z had a bebbole machine, this ain't the gun. Same goes for the Taurus coming out in 1991.(Gun Traders Guide,18th edition)

I should have clarified my one statement above, The Browing Hi-Power was the first high capacity pistol chambered for the 9mm cartridge. Millions upon millions of guns were made in 9mm before that but Browning was the first hi-cap. model.

Police reports state that two different Brownings were used. No, you know that I am not police officer. I found them somewhere,not Graysmith, you can find them too.

What should be important instead of word symantics over luger is if the report that the shots were muffled because of a silencer, as posted above, are true. Home made gizmos won't work on a 9mm semi. This means one of two things. A longer barel was installed, one that extended past the end of the frame. I do not know, but highly doubt these specialty barrels were available back then, like they are now. The other possibility is that someone threaded the end of the barrel. That would take some fairly proficent machining skills, to keep the tolerances within the few thousands of a inch that they would need to be, to work properly. Classic

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38lddbb.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.181.107) on Tuesday, December 04, 2001 - 07:11 pm:

Classic, you've managed to do it again. That's two posts in a row on this subject filled with wrong statements.

You wrote: "I never understood the confusion and fascination over what z said in his phone call. A 9mm luger is a 9mm parabellum and vice versa. If there was physical evidence that the weapon was a Luger model that would be one thing, but because z used the term descrbing the cartridge he used there really is no significance to it."

No significance? I don't think you are grasping the true substance of what we are talking about. We're not saying we think he used a Luger. We're wondering about his knowledge of weapons and trying to figure out what kind of gun could have been used for BRS. I know there have been reports that it is a FN 35GP, but I don't know if this is right or if the gun is assumed because of the magazine capacity issue, which for me is a non-issue unless someone connected with the official investigation fills me in on exactly why it had to be high capacity. (I don't care what Mike said happened or didn't happened because he just got shot in the head.) If we can discover something about the person in his weapon selection or ownership could that not possibly aid us in an identification of a suspect someday?

"The S&W M59 with 14shot mag. did not come until 1971. Unless z had a bebbole machine, this ain't the gun. Same goes for the Taurus coming out in 1991.(Gun Traders Guide,18th edition)."

The S&W M59 was subjected to Army trials in 1954. If the Gun Trader's Guide says otherwise, it's wrong. Magazine capacity is a non-issue. As far as the Taurus goes, if you actually take enough time to accurately read my post, you'll clearly see that I did not claim it was a possible BRS gun. Because it isn't. That brand was on Graysmith's list. So why are you correcting me on a claim that I didn't make?

"I should have clarified my one statement above, The Browing Hi-Power was the first high capacity pistol chambered for the 9mm cartridge. Millions upon millions of guns were made in 9mm before that but Browning was the first hi-cap. model."

Clarified? Yes, I guess you could say you should have clarified your false statement that the FN35 was the only high-capacity pistol available at the time. But by making the meaningless observation that it was the first such gun? So what? There are at least two other high capacity 9's manufactured after the Hi-Power was introduced but before the murders started.

"Police reports state that two different Brownings were used. No, you know that I am not police officer. I found them somewhere, not Graysmith, you can find them too."

Classic, I know absolutely nothing about you or your occupation, but I'd love to see the official ballistics reports of both Vallejo and SF. I haven't found them in the FBI report or elsewhere. Any help on this would be appreciated.

"What should be important instead of word symantics over Luger is if the report that the shots were muffled because of a silencer, as posted above, are true. Home made gizmos won't work on a 9mm semi. This means one of two things. A longer barel was installed, one that extended past the end of the frame. I do not know, but highly doubt these specialty barrels were available back then, like they are now. The other possibility is that someone threaded the end of the barrel. That would take some fairly proficent machining skills, to keep the tolerances within the few thousands of a inch that they would need to be, to work properly."

First of all, a silencer was most likely not used at BRS. George Bryant heard the shots from his house which was located 800 feet from the parking lot at BRS. He described the gunshots as being "much louder" than any of the fireworks he had heard that night. The only way this silencer theory reared its ugly head was because of the comments of Mike Mageau. Mike had just been shot in the area of the ear or the jawbone, which is connected to the area of the ear. The first supersonic bullet would have hit him before he ever heard any sound. I can imagine this may have had some negative impact on the proper operation of his sensory systems after that. Also, during a life threatening situation, even if not wounded, victims often experience what is known as "auditory exclusion". This is the brain's way of focusing itself on the task of survival. Shooting victims have reported hearing no shot, and people who have shot others in self-defense and have stated later that they continued firing because they never heard the gun go off! Placing much emphasis on the observations of the victim in light of the circumstances is not wise particularly when there is other evidence available.

I'm not interested in going into silencer construction techniques, but you simply don't know what you're talking about. Homemade gizmos are easily adapted to slide automatics. Your uniformed assumptions are just that. All that is required are a few basic hand tools (and a welder if you really want to get fancy). No machine shop skills or equipment are necessary.

"Ray, take it easy there, buddy. No need to get yer knickers in a twist."

In case you haven't noticed, one of the basic principles of this board is that if you have BS, it will get smoked out on here with extreme prejudice. So, in general, you're better off not spouting off any thought that occurs to you and offering it as fact.

Ray

By Classic (Classic) (spider-wo034.proxy.aol.com - 205.188.200.34) on Wednesday, December 05, 2001 - 07:20 pm:

I spoke with the good people at Smith and Wesson today. They were absouletly sure that the M59 did not come out until 1971. They could be wrong, though. It's not like they were the actual manufacterer of the pistol or anything trivial like that. Classic

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-ntc-td034.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.17.164) on Thursday, December 06, 2001 - 01:47 pm:

You see fellas, this is exactly the kind of information that I am talking about. The M59 was introduced to the military on a trial basis long before it was made available to the general public. Therefore, IF it can be shown that the S&W M59 was used at BRS in July of 1969, two years before it was made available to the general public, this may answer some questions regarding Zodiac's affiliation with the military. Perhaps he was in the military and worked at an armory; the only place where such a weapon would have been available at the time.

Granted, this is an enormous hypothetical at the moment, but hopefully you (the board) can appreciate the angle I'm taking on the "Zodiac's choice of weapons" issue. The better we understand his MO and signature, the better we will understand him.

Also, I too am failing to understand the significance of the high capacity dilemma. What does it take to reload a semi-automatic pistol? 2 seconds? In my opinion, "high capacity" is a complete non-issue until somebody can come up with a genuine reason why it should be considered further.

Additionally, Ray wrote: "I'd love to see the official ballistics reports of both Vallejo and SF. I haven't found them in the FBI report or elsewhere. Any help on this would be appreciated."

I'd love to see that also, Ray. I'm still trying to figure out why certain people seem to be so positive that the weapon used at BRS is different from the one used at PH. When I get the time (hopefully soon), I'm going to look into this matter in earnest.

Finally, Classic wrote: "I spoke with the good people at Smith and Wesson today. They were absouletly sure that the M59 did not come out until 1971."

I'm sure they did tell you it came out in 1971 because it did, to the general public. However, S&W was but one of a handful of manufacturers that was bidding on a military contract for a 9mm pistol. Therefore, a certain number of these pistols were in the hands of the military long before being made available to the public. S&W gave you the year it was released to the public, not the year it was made available to the military for testing purposes.

Scott

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acb7cc9a.ipt.aol.com - 172.183.204.154) on Thursday, December 06, 2001 - 04:23 pm:

As far as Z's call to VPD on 7-5-1969, I had always assumed that his reference to using a Luger meant the gun he used, not the bullets. Now I'm not certain, which is why I've been following this thread with interest, because I don't know all that much about guns. While I maintain that Z was not particularly good with weapons (ie, not a good shot and generally incompetent), that does not necessarily mean he didn't have extensive knowledge of guns. If what Scott suggests is true, that goes a long ways towards showing that Z really did have military connections, as has long been suspected.

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ld809.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.160.9) on Thursday, December 06, 2001 - 05:33 pm:

Ed,

I think it was the cartridge because that would have been a quick and easy way for the police to confirm that they actually received a call from the shooter. They wouldn't have to wait for ballistics tests before confirming that. Hey, look at me, I'm still waiting!

Ray

By Classic (Classic) (spider-te034.proxy.aol.com - 152.163.195.189) on Thursday, December 06, 2001 - 06:02 pm:

Ray, Check out the Stine page on this very website. If you read far enough it says the 9mm used on him was not the same as used at BRS. Now you can quit waiting. Classic

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (1cust33.tnt2.santa-maria.ca.da.uu.net - 63.25.100.33) on Thursday, December 06, 2001 - 10:03 pm:

Ray, you mentioned in a post on 12-3-01 that a variety of shell case markings can be valuable in a comparison with a suspect weapon. One of the suggested markings was from the "magazine lip." Perhaps a microscopic comparison of the recovered Z casings would reveal a difference in the these particular markings if, in fact, Z did not have a high-capacity magazine and found it necessary to eject the empty magazine and insert a second to finish the job. It wouldn't necessarily add a whole lot to the question at hand, but it might lend a little insight as to the weapon used.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-10407-2.linkline.com - 64.30.209.40) on Friday, December 07, 2001 - 12:26 pm:

Ray H.is probably correct.Informing the police in Vallejo that "They were shot with a 9mm Luger"was, no doubt, a reference to the shells/slugs that would readily be found at the scene.The gun was certainly not there!A report does indicate that "9mm" was seen on a casing.

In his confirmation letter of 7/31/69 Zodiac writes "To prove I killed them[LHR/BRS]I shall state some facts which only I & the police know.
1.Brand name of ammo Super X ,2 10 shots were fired...3 Brand name of ammo was western."Of course, he gives other evidence he was the shooter but he specifically designated, without fear of contradiction, the type of ammo used in the killings.

There seems to be an indication from Mageau that Zodiac 'paused at his car and was doing something looked back when Mageau cried out( M said in a report that he did not know if he 'cried out at the shooter' or whether it was 'a cry of pain' not directed at anyone)and the shooter then came back and fired again.Was this when -'he was doing something' i.e.he placed a fresh clip in his weapon,if such a thing was needful or even done for that matter?Just speculating.

If Z did empty his gun it would have been wise to reload rather quickly in case the police or a potential witness drove up.Some car/s did drive up to the lot while Mageau and Ferrin were first parked there -at least this is what Mageau told the officer.If this 'pause or activity' is when he reloaded ,was it then due to Mageaus cry?If he was engaged in reloading before he heard Mageau then it was for protection in case of intrusion from someone.It seems that before the 'cry'that alerted Z ,he was 'doing something' at the car.Of course, this activity could have been anything.

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38lddgg.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.182.16) on Friday, December 07, 2001 - 08:26 pm:

Bill:

You have an truly uncanny sense of forensics. That is exactly what should be done. If there was a magazine change, this might be able to be proved by separating the casings into two groups. For everyone who doesn't know what this means, as the slide moves back to its full limit of travel it clears the next round in the magazine which is pushed upwards by the magazine spring. As the slide begins to move forward under spring pressure, the slide face engages the top rear of the next round and forces it forward between the magazine lips. As this occurs, two lines are inscribed into the brass. Two magazines would not create identical lines, so if you had two sets of unique lines, you could prove that a magazine change had taken place.

In fact, I was so excited by this, I just tried it out for myself! I got some old cartridges with dull brass so the scratches would show up well. I cycled a whole magazine through my Sig, and wouldn't you know it, there were the lines! And they're not faint either. On my gun there are actually four lines, two pairs on either side, closely spaced. They even extend over the mouth of the cases and onto the actual bullet. With a microscope and some know how, it shouldn't be much of a problem to identify unique magazine marks. You'd just have to have some hardware with which to make the comparison. To quote Dr. Dick Rutkowski, "Science always wins over bull****." Bill, you blow me away!

As far as what it would add to things, you definitely have a point. But sometimes things like this are kind of back door ways into areas which the investigators think are satisfactorily resolved, but may not actually be. It's for sure that the investigators working the case now aren't the originals. I'm wondering if they went ahead and performed some new tests on the cases, might it might shed some light on the validity of the original ballistics reports? They wouldn't even necessarily have to have a murder weapon now, would they? If they seized a magazine which produced identical markings, that would be a brand new piece of damning physical evidence. I think it unlikely that a perpetrator often thinks to dispose of not only the gun but both magazines (when two are used)!

I still hold out some hope of a cache of Zodiac evidence. I know profilers nearly always point out that their equipment takes on incredible importance to serial killers because they can take it out from time to time and relive the events. I can't imagine that Zodiac would just pitch his blood-stained hood or his gun in the trash. If Allen was still a suspect, I'd really love to see his mothers house disassembled by a forensics team someday.

Classic:

All I said was that I wanted to see the reports. I'm totally sure I never put forth an argument that the two guns were the same. In fact, I'm not sure whether anyone here has considered the fact that because a different gun was used to kill Stine, if Zodiac had been caught that night, he would not have gone down for that one as the Zodiac. Unless he spilled the beans, Zodiac would have been sitting in jail as John Q. Zodiac, cabbie robber/murderer. He could have offered some statement about the shirt tail likely to be believed by police or simply refused to comment on it. No way would they have ever linked him to Stine by M.O. After all, there was apparently a rash of taxi robberies around that time. I can just picture him sitting there in jail, spiriting Zodiac letters out to the police, threatening all sorts of continuing mayhem and proclaiming, "You shall never catch me!". So, unless he was an idiot, there wouldn't be much sense in taking the BRS gun to PH. It was probably the LB gun, which was not fired.

What I was trying to convey was that I would like to see the full text of the actual police ballistics reports, not just what Tom has heard and written in his website. No offense to Tom, I'm only saying it certainly looks possible that even the police may not know what type of gun was used! So, in that regard, I'm still waiting to see for myself in writing what the authorities claim is the murder weapon. On this point, I won't trust being told by anyone, not even someone I greatly respect.

Howard:

You've got me switched with Peter H. I'm Ray N. No biggie.

Ray

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38lddgg.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.182.16) on Friday, December 07, 2001 - 09:18 pm:

Bill:

Holy cow, get ready for this. The last round in the magazine comes out with unique marks compared to the others. This is because it slides across the steel magazine follower because there is no brass bullet casing beneath it. There is a small bump in the center of the follower on both my Sig and Colt mags. I'm going to do some tests with actual firing to see if I can find the shell casing of the last round by indentifying this unique mark.

If the Vallejo PD could identify one of these cases in their posession, they'd know there was a magazine change. This might help identify the gun, too, because the bump on the Colt mag is different than the one on the Sig. I'm going to try to find out why these bumps are there.

Man, Bill, you're amazing!

Ray

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) (csdu-2477.communicomm.com - 24.143.24.77) on Saturday, December 08, 2001 - 09:46 am:

Any killer who is smart and not cocky would get rid of any firearm used in a crime at once. But Z was cocky, he thought he was uncatchable. If Z was a casual gun owner it would not be hard for him to dispose of a gun. But for a tried and true gun lover it is VERY HARD to let go of a firearm (look in my safe if you doubt it, and I'm much less passionate than many!). If Z did use a Browning Hi-Power this was not a common gun in 1969. Today large and medium-frame semiautomatic pistols chambered for the 9mm NATO round abound, but this was not true in 1969. I think it quite possible Z would not want to get rid of the gun.
As to the earlier question of why Z switched from a .22 caliber weapon to larger, maybe there is a simple answer: what if he didn't have the 9mm until after the first murders? If the larger gun was purchased ofter this, that could partly explain why he waited 6 months for another murder, he was practicing and did not yet feel confident with his 'new' gun!

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx2-8.linkline.com - 64.30.218.8) on Saturday, December 08, 2001 - 12:13 pm:

Zodiac wrote"...3 my killing tools[odd description]have been boughten through the mail order outfits before the ban went into efect ['68]except one & it was bought out of state"[Darlene mentioned that the man following her had come back from out of state]So as you can see the police don't have much to work on."11/9/69

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ld827.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.160.71) on Saturday, December 08, 2001 - 08:07 pm:

It's entirely possible that Zodiac's method of "disposal" was simply to hide a weapon in his cache of mementos once it had been used and bring out a new one for the next outing. Mike is certainly right that Z wasn't catchable with the kind of police work presented by SF.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-ntc-tc061.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.17.46) on Friday, December 21, 2001 - 08:42 am:

Tom's latest update was interesting. While sifting through some of the information I came across this little nugget:

"A subsequent examination by Criminalist David Q Burd, CII, revealed that the ten empty casings had possibly been fired from the same weapon and that they correspond with tests fired in a J.C. Higgins model 80 .22 automatic pistol."

What an odd way of saying all of that information. It makes me wonder exactly what kind of "examination" Mr. Burd performed. The casings had "possibly" been fired from the same weapon? Unless there was reason to believe that there might have been more than one perp, why would Mr. Burd think otherwise? It's not that difficult to determine if the same weapon was used. If the extraction marks are in the same position on each of the empty cases, and the firing pin has struck the same location on each of the case's rims, I'd say that the same weapon had been used, UNLESS Z had used more than one magazine, which may have slightly altered the extraction markings.

" . . .they (the casings) correspond with tests fired in a J.C. Higgins model 80 . . ."

What does that mean? The ballistic characteristics were the same? The Higgins had similar lans and grooves with the same kind of twist? The barrel lengths were similar? The extraction and firing pin markings were the same/similar? Geez, that one simple paragraph raises more questions than it answers.

Finally, though this may be a little nitpicky for some of you, there's no such thing as a J.C. Higgins model 80 .22 automatic pistol. Semi-automatic, sure, automatic, absolutely not. This subtle piece of information, in my mind, casts an uncertain light on the person who prepared the DOJ report. I'm relatively skilled in such areas and, without further information, I'd have to say that this report isn't worth the paper it was printed on. Like I said earlier, shouldn't it answer more questions than it poses?

Scott

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acb58dba.ipt.aol.com - 172.181.141.186) on Friday, December 21, 2001 - 10:14 am:

Kinda sounds like Harry Martin or Gareth Penn...

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-19-99.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.19.99) on Friday, December 21, 2001 - 11:22 am:

Scott:

It is an interesting update, isn't it. I think there is less here than meeta the eye, however. I tink the "oddness" about the phrasng of the casing examination, for instance, is just typical law enforcement jargon, which rartely makes a definitive, declarative statemnet about such things, but uses phrases such as "is consistent with" rather than "is". Also, I did not take the report to indicate a ballistics test on the slugs, hence no conclusions about lands and grooves or rifling, just maeks on the casings. As for semi-auto vs auto, again, even cops do that all the time, referring to ".45 automatics" only to distinguish from a revolver rather than from a semi-auto, so I wouldn't make to much of any of that. What inntrigued me, however, was the notation of through and through wounds. I had no idea a .22, even LR, had that kind of penetration. I am also curious as to whether anyone thinks the descritions of the bullet paths indicates whether she was up or down when she was hit?

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-ntc-tb083.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.16.188) on Friday, December 21, 2001 - 02:10 pm:

Peter wrote,

"What intrigued me, however, was the notation of through and through wounds. I had no idea a .22, even LR, had that kind of penetration."

I'll have to check to make sure, but I'm pretty sure that the bullets used at LHR were jacketed instead of being pure lead. Jacketed bullets typically will penetrate much further than lead bullets because the latter will expand more rapidly upon entering its target and therefore will expend its energy more quickly. Also, a jacketed bullet will typically create a smaller wound channel than a lead bullet because it will require more mass to make it expand.

Three of the five shots exited her body; while this is certainly possible with a .22LR round, it does tell us a few significant things. First of all, that those particular bullets didn't hit any bones or major muscle groups. From the autopsy report, if in fact I'm reading it correctly, this would seem to be the case. Secondly, it tells us that the distance between BLJ and Z would have been pretty short; I'd say 10 - 15 feet, maximum. Finally, it tells us that the bullets themselves were solid and weren't hollow points. I doubt that a .22LR hollow point would completely penetrate a human body unless it had been fired from VERY close range, perhaps from less than 2 feet.

"I am also curious as to whether anyone thinks the descriptions of the bullet paths indicates whether she was up or down when she was hit?"

Personally, I feel that she was still standing when the bullets hit her. Part of what makes me think this is the fact that the five shots were not tightly grouped. I'll have to pull out Gray's Anatomy to determine exactly where the 3 bullets exited her body. If these three bullets are tightly grouped, it's possible that these may have been the last bullets to hit her. In other words, perhaps the first 2 shots knocked her to the ground and then Z stood over her body for the final 3 shots. Then again, perhaps she was standing/running the entire time and the 3 bullets that exited her body simply hadn't struck anything of significant mass.

It would be interesting to find out how tightly grouped the 3 shots which exited her were. If they exited in a large grouping, I'm inclined to say that she was standing when all 5 bullets hit her. If they were tightly grouped, it's possible that they had been fired at her after she was already on the ground. It seems to me that, given the appropriate information, we could possibly determine the order in which the bullets hit her. I'm not sure if this would be significant or not, but it certainly falls within the realm of possibility.

Scott

By Boojum (Boojum) (12.88.84.220) on Friday, December 21, 2001 - 06:03 pm:

Good work, Scott: interesting analysis.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (pdx-cfi-90.navi.net - 208.211.19.90) on Friday, December 21, 2001 - 06:22 pm:

There should be a new thread for the LHR update, IMHO.

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldfp5.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.191.37) on Saturday, December 22, 2001 - 10:11 am:

Scott:

That's an excellent analysis. Your statements are all very good, except I don't know how major a major muscle group could be in a 115 pound girl. People often underestimate the penetrating power of the .22, measly as the round is. From a distance of 5 feet, a jacketed HV bullet goes right through two 5/8 inch sheets of plywood (1.25")! Nonetheless, I am also of the opinion that she was standing throughout, but there are some problems with this opinion due to a lack of information. For instance, if she was standing, she would have been running. If she was running, then Zodiac would have been doing one of 3 things:

1) Chasing her while firing, or
2) Standing by the car while firing
3) A combination of these (fires one or two, then gives chase)

If I were Zodiac and it were daytime, my move would have been to stand fast and fire for accuracy. Some board members may not understand how hard it is to shoot accurately while running, much less while shooting at a moving target. But, since it was nighttime, there was no way Zodiac could see his pistol sights, so scoring hits on a fleeing target while standing by the car would not be very likely, particularly since he was using the flashlight beam to indicate the approximate impact point of the bullets. This would not have been useful beyond a range of maybe three or four yards at a moving target. So I think to score as many hits as he did, Z would have had to have given chase. At what distance, there is some uncertainty.

Now might be a good time to mention the difference between marksmanship and combat shooting. The two are completely different. Marksmanship implies firing at a known distance at a non-moving target using sight alignment and sight picture as an aiming reference. In combat shooting, sights are not relied upon much because of the time involved in acquiring the sight picture, and at night they aren't usable at all. Rather, the technique of point shooting is used. This involves the implementation of postural and kinesthetic sense (muscle memory). This skill must be developed through constant practice and it useful only at normal combat shooting distances (out to approx. 7 yards). There are outstanding marksmen who are terrible combat shooters and outstanding combat shooters who aren't very good marksmen. (I am speaking of pistol shooting, here.)

So rather than assign some level of marksmanship or combat shooting ability to Zodiac based on the "tight formation" [Graysmith, Zodiac] of bullet hits, I think it is probably better to conclude that Zodiac simply chased her and fired from very close range behind her. There are some problems with this, also. Namely, why weren't her clothes covered with powder? The only explanation I can think of is that BLJ got a few steps ahead of Z, like 10 feet or so and maintained that distance for the duration of the short chase, and that Z's flashlight sight worked sufficiently at that range. I suppose one could (possibly) infer from this that Z was somewhat handy with a pistol, if it matters. (Of course, I am assuming that the information of only one speck of powder found on BLJ's clothing is accurate! If it isn't then, things may have gone differently.)

I don't see her felled with one shot and then the remaining shots fired while standing over her. If this were the case, again, her clothes should have had much powder on them. Also why would Zodiac then have to fire so many shots all over her back while standing over her? If he did this, one of these shots would have had to be the one which entered by her hip and exited by her navel, because this shot would not have brought her down by itself. This would not be a likely aim point for a kill shot to a prone victim, and there's not a shooter in the world who is that bad. Also, why would he waste time messing around like that when all he would have had to do would be to lean down and put one in her head like he did with DF?

The missing information in this case is the location of all the shell casings. These would tell the story very well I should think. My main interest in this angle of the investigation is to see how well this ties in with the Santa Barbara killings. As Det. Baker has told us, the SB killer gave chase to two victims while firing, although that was during conditions of daylight.

I'm preparing a field test of these scenarios. I'll put the results here as soon as I can get the tests done.

Ray

By Spencer (Spencer) (acb40356.ipt.aol.com - 172.180.3.86) on Saturday, December 22, 2001 - 11:58 am:

Ray wrote: "I'm preparing a field test of these scenarios."

Any volunteers?

Spencer

By Roger Redding (Roger_Redding) (user-33qs01n.dialup.mindspring.com - 199.174.0.55) on Saturday, December 22, 2001 - 05:10 pm:

I have an ex that looks a little like Betty Lou I'd like to volunteer.

Roger

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acb49a39.ipt.aol.com - 172.180.154.57) on Saturday, December 22, 2001 - 11:18 pm:

I'd like to volunteer Trash Bin to stand in for Faraday...

Meanwhile, let's continue this here... Other Victims: Betty Lou Jensen