Crime and PunishmentJamie R. -- Monday, August 18, 2003 -- 07:48:13 PM
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That's one of the possibilities, but I don't think he was a cop. He may have been in the military, perhaps in the Air Force, or worked as a civilian contractor for the military. He might have been an MP.
His first set of crimes in Sacramento took place very close to the now-defunct Mather Air Force Base, and Goleta, where he began his southern crime spree, is right next to the Santa Barbara airport and less than an hour's drive from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
But it may be a coincidence. That's the problem with catching this guy. For all the crimes he committed, he didn't leave a lot of clues. Here's a profile of the man.
So young, between 18-26. I wonder if he started with killing or torturing animals or engaged in cat burglary where he'd get off on being in a house with people who were sleeping, when he was a young teen. He wouldn't have gotten into the military with a juvenile offender record, correct? But I wonder if the man had parents who suspected something was not right about their son. I wonder why upper and upper-middle class.
This stuff, though gruesome, is fascinating because it's hard to imagine how a man could evade authorities for so long and get away with these acts when the communities were on so high alert.
The Maggiores, I'm not so sure that would have been him. Two men? Shot in the street? So atypical for him.
I suspect that if the EAR/ONS was also the Visalia Ransacker, then that was the exploratory stage of his criminal career. And doesn't that seem like something a dysfunctional juvenile would do? Enter a lot of homes, tear shit up, steal small items of little value (don't want the folks to notice the loot), and gradually embolden himself until, near the end of his spree, he tries to graduate to the next level by kidnapping a young female, shooting and killing her father after he wakes up and tries to intervene. But because he is young and this is all new to him, he immediately panics, flees the home, and leaves the young woman alive. A few weeks later, he bumps into cops staking out a neighborhood from inside a home garage. He flees and gets away after exchanging gunfire with one of the cops. He's never heard again in Visalia after that.
A few months later (after high school graduation?), he moves north to Sacramento and begins his attacks in the summer of 1976. He already has a lot of experience breaking into homes, so that part of the crime is fairly easy for him. He's even killed a man and successfully evaded the cops. So he might have been embolden enough to start doing what I think he was interrupted doing in the case of Snelling's daughter: Rape a woman.
After the EAR made headlines in Sacramento, the cops down in Visalia thought the perp's timing and method similar enough that they paid a visit to Sacramento. But apparently no solid connection between the Visalia Ransacker and the East Area Rapist was found, and so the Visalia lead never came to anything.
I agree this kind of criminal is not the sort to work in a team, but I also think some of the immediate eyewitness accounts can be discounted. If you look outside your window and see three people (two men and one woman) running and immediately hear gunshots, it could have been a confusing scene. And one of the composite sketches of the suspects looks similar to the male victim. So who knows?
There is support for the Maggiore connection. While it wasn't the EAR's typical method, he was known to confront people outside their home and, at gunpoint, force them into the house where he then tied them up. Usually, though, he was both masked and much closer to the victim's house than the Maggiores were to their home the night they were shot.
Second, the shooting of the Maggiores was at ground-zero in the EAR's favorite haunt in Rancho Cordova. You could literally walk in any direction from where the Maggiores were shot and within fifteen minutes be at half-a-dozen homes where the EAR had earlier struck. So he knew that area very well. It was a middle-class suburb, too. Not exactly the kind of place where couples walking their dogs were usually gunned down.
Third, a shoelace was found at the scene that led detectives to believe the EAR was responsible. I don't know why a shoelace would do that; I'm just reporting the facts.
Fourth, we now know from the ONS connection (and possibly through the Visalia Ransacker connection), that the EAR had no trouble confronting couples with a gun and shooting them. At the time, though, he wasn't known as a serial killer, but rather as a serial rapist who primarily targeted women who were alone in their homes. That assumption, along with a potential second suspect, probably encouraged detectives to initially believe others were involved in the shooting.
Fifth, this was a very adaptable criminal who changed and then rechanged his MO. Perhaps that night he decided to try something different, and when it didn't work -- he wasn't able to rape the woman, and if one of the composite sketches is accurate, then he was nearly ID'ed -- adapted once again back to home invasions.
I was thinking even younger than the Visalia Ransacker. But that could be when he escalated to noticeable crime. Previous to that I wonder what he was like as a pre-teen and younger teen. Age 12-14 era.
I read the Maggiores were walking their dog. I wonder if that had something to do with that. Did the dog try to bite or even just start to bark? I saw that, about the shoelace.
I also read that one victim was told by her boyfriend he heard noises outside her window but she said it was the washing machine.
If I was living in the midst of that, I'd be on alert for any noise along with my buddies Smith & Wesson, for sure.
That was the final known victim, 18-year-old Janelle Cruz, who was murdered in Irvine in 1986 by the killer then known as the Original Night Stalker. The killer had never struck in Irvine before, and it had been nearly five years since his last known attack, so she wouldn't have been on her guard like the women in Sacramento were during the late seventies when the East Area Rapist was on the prowl.
Janelle Cruz's boyfriend lucked out by leaving the house when he did, since the ONS had shown no reluctance to attack and kill couples.
I'm always saddened reading these things. I hope, as in the case with the BTK killer, that they get lucky and catch this guy, even though he obviously has either long ago given up crime or been involuntarily retired by death or imprisonment.
As my link shows, the killer did in fact previously murder in Irvine, but it was more than five years before he attacked Cruz, so she can be forgiven for not being on her guard.
That is true. Thanks for pointing out that timeline. Of course she wouldn't be on her guard. That's very sad. It must be terrible to know your child met such a terrifying end. I don't know how people cope. It is sad that they have not gotten to see the killer brought to justice. I can't help but wonder if he's dead. Could it be remotely possible someone shot a person they thought was burglarizing their home and it was him, but the authorities had now way of knowing it? Seems strange that a man that driven to do these things would suddenly stop. I highly doubt he committed suicide out of any kind of remorse, which I don't think he felt or feels.
Yes, but two things suggest not.
First, there is the nearly five-year gap between his last two killings: July 1981 in Goleta and May 1986 in Irvine.
If you look at the timeline for the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker, this guy was a raping and killing machine. (The same is true for the burglar called the Visalia Ransacker.) So why did he stop for five years?
I don't think it's because he got caught. From July 1976 to July 1981, the EAR/ONS rarely paused for more than a couple of months before attacking again. He committed nearly sixty separate rapes and murders or attempted rapes and murders in that period. That's an average of one a month. (The Visalia Ransacker was also a frequent offender, never stopping more than two or three months over a nearly two-year period before burgling again.)
This suggests he was never caught and convicted during the five-year period between 1976 and 1981 (and if you buy that he was also the Visalia Ransacker, then you can extend that period back to 1974). I also doubt that he was caught soon afterwards. If he had been convicted of some jailable offense during that time, he most likely would have been identified because everyone was looking hard in the targeted areas at anyone who was an armed burglar or peeping tom.
Was he imprisoned between 1981 and 1986 for some crime that didn't connect him to the EAR/ONS? It's possible, but it would have to have been a serious crime to keep him in prison for nearly five years. So, again, I doubt it. The more likely explanation is that he went into a quiet period after a frenetic five-year period of raping and killing.
The second reason I don't believe he was killed is because he reportedly called one of his victims in 1991, five years after his last killing. That would mean he was still alive a decade after the end of his five-year crime run, and five years after his last known and isolated murder. He would have to be well into his thirties at the time of that phone call, and he had already shown that he could go several years without raping and killing.
So my best guess would be that he was never caught or killed. To me, the more likely explanation is that something happened in his private life (marriage?) which sent him into a quiet period that was interrupted in 1986 by only one more rape and murder for God knows what reason.
Imagine finding out you were married to such a person.
That's another possibility. He did move around a lot. Perhaps he moved out of California.
But even if he did move out of California and continued to commit assaults elsewhere, he must have slowed down. Otherwise, he would have been quickly noticed and, if not pegged as the original Night Stalker, then given another name.
The one consistent feature about this guy was that he attacked young middle class women in their homes. He didn't target prostitutes. He didn't attack the vulnerable elderly. He didn't attack women out in the woods or at shopping malls. When you are the kind of criminal who attacks, and frequently kills, middle class women in their homes, often when they are with their husbands and boyfriends, that's kind of hard not to notice.
Here's a pretty good account of the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker. It runs about forty minutes through five different Youtube videos. I think it does an excellent job of describing the fear that ran through Sacramento during the late seventies after police informed the public that a serial rapist was on the loose.
I also found it informative on the Maggiore killing and the first Goleta assault. During the latter, he tied up a couple, but failed to follow through on his assault because it seemed as if he was working up the will to kill them -- understandable if that was the transition point for him between being a serial rapist in the north of the state and becoming a serial killer in the south.
Is there not some constitutional standard for the scale/appropriateness of a punishment? I'd be tempted to argue that it's cruel. Lose your car to lose your job to lose your residence can be a pretty quick series of events for the type of people typically caught on multiple littering offenses.