Lake Herman Road Crime Scene

The street view of google maps is just plain cool. I have to admit, I'm a bit surprised that little old Lake Herman Road is in the database. But, then again, I suppose it's not surprising given its close proximity to Silicon Valley.

Have a virtual look around the December 1968 crime scene. These images were taken on a beautiful day in May of 2011. As fate would have it, a Vallejo fire truck just happened to be parked in the turn out. There is also some Zodiac-inspired graffiti clearly evident in the background (what a legacy...). Be sure to use your mouse to look around and go into full-screen mode (upper right button) for the best experience.

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Michael Cole

6 comments

  1. Bridget G. 3 May, 2012 at 23:02 Reply

    That’s right out there in the open, isn’t it? I just always had the impression it was further back, more hidden. Of course the attack happened at night, so it was dark. But still, it shows you how brazen he was.

    • Mike 4 May, 2012 at 06:37

      Hi Bridget,

      I agree. I had the same reaction the first time I visited the scene. The phrase “Lovers’ Lane,” which is often used to describe the location, conjures up these images of an area that’s set back from the road and secluded. Of course, this is not true. The only characteristics that made it a “Lovers’ Lane” were that it was dark and the road was lightly traveled; although, based on some of the investigation, it doesn’t even appear that it was that “lightly traveled” on the evening in question. So, mainly, it was dark…

    • John 2 February, 2016 at 18:43

      I’ve often wondered if the Zodiac was pushing himself to see what he could get away with in an exposed location.

      First at Lake Herman he chose a road that was probably lightly traversed during the day but fairly quiet at night. On that occasion the Zodiac had the advantage of concealment due to the darkness, but he still could have been seen if another car had happened to come along.

      At Lake Berryessa it was broad daylight, but on this occasion he wore a costume to conceal his identity. Although the place was secluded and he had some tree cover fr concealment, there were obviously other people in the area who could have seen him.

      I often wonder if had intended to be seen at that location wearing the costume. The thing is, if he had killed both of the victims outright well nobody would have ever known anything about the costume! It was the costume which instantly became the killer’s signature persona. It is impossible to speculate too much, but I wonder if he had deliberately inflicted the injuries in specific places on the victims because he had wanted them to live long enough to provide witnesses and police with a description.

      When it came to the taxi driver, this was in a big city environment and although it was dark the chances of being seen were obviously much higher. He did in fact manage to get seen by several witnesses.

      He was clearly becoming more bold and testing the limits of his own criminality by increasing the risk factor. But this is what makes no sense, because after that it seems the Zodiac went quiet, or became more secretive about his crimes. This to me is both unusual for a serial killer and seemingly out of character. One logical conclusion is that the Zodiac killed himself, died due to some illness or injury that he was suffering from, or ended up in a mental institution. If he had decided to “go straight” that would not fit with the concept of a textbook serial killer.

    • Michael Cole
      Michael Cole 6 February, 2016 at 10:10

      My personal belief is that the killer wanted to be seen in the aftermath of the Stine murder. In fact, he may have told Stine to drive one block further to increase the likelihood that somebody would witness him. Of course, I don’t think he was planning on directly encountering SFPD as he did. Nevertheless, given the way things worked out, he was probably very satisfied with the results.

  2. Dan 4 April, 2017 at 11:51 Reply

    The murders along Lake Herman Road also occurred during the cold season, so there would have been very little foliage, making an exposed location even more exposed.

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