Case Files of the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer

 

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Files-Rapist-Golden-State-Killer/dp/0999458108/

He’s the most prolific, enigmatic, and dangerous offender the State of California has ever known… yet he remains unidentified and unpunished to this day. With over one hundred burglaries, fifty rapes, and possibly a dozen murders, the “East Area Rapist” / “Golden State Killer” / “Original Night Stalker” was truly one of history’s most vile and heinous criminals. He seemed to appear out of nowhere in the mid-1970s near Sacramento, California, where he began a series of rapes and murders that left police baffled and communities on-edge. He couldn’t be tracked, he couldn’t be found, and he couldn’t be stopped. Over a ten-year period, towns like Modesto, Davis, Concord, San Ramon, San Jose, Danville, Fremont, Walnut Creek, Goleta, Ventura, Dana Point, Irvine, and the neighborhoods of Sacramento were all violated by this monster.

He left behind thousands of clues spread throughout over a dozen jurisdictions but still somehow outmaneuvered efforts to capture him at every turn. This book culls together information from every source possible to present a comprehensive rundown of each and every attack. Evidence is explained, myths are debunked, and viable leads are presented. Other cases which might be related like the Visalia Ransacker, the Ripon Court shooting, the Maggiore murders, and the Eva Davidson Taylor murder are explored. Never before has such a detailed and thorough chronological volume been published about this case.

Going over the nuances and evidence with such granularity is a worthwhile exercise. This case is solvable, and the offender is probably still alive. The clues to his identity are in here. Because, as they say… The Devil is in the details.

Tribute to Robert Offerman and Debra Manning

Around this time, on this very night 38 years ago, the EAR/GSK began laying siege to Goleta, California. After a string of several burglaries and escalating events on this night, the offender crossed the line to murder and he never looked back.

Dr. Robert Offerman and Dr. Debra Manning were young and had bright futures. Like all of the EARONS victims, they were taken from this earth far too soon. Please keep them and their families in your thoughts tonight.

Robert Offerman and Debra Manning — murder victims of the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer.

Ligatures Used by the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer

One of the signature trademarks of an EAR/GSK attack was the use of ligatures. During the rape series, he primarily used shoelaces. Toward the end of that series and during the murders, he began experimenting with different types of bindings — plastic ties, twine, drapery cord, etc.

A ligature left on a victim by the East Area Rapist.
A ligature left on a victim by the East Area Rapist.

His use of ligatures were fairly distinct and helped tie a lot of the crimes together. He usually tied them so tightly that circulation was restricted, used the same types of knots, and would often have the wife tie up the husband (and then retie the husband himself).

One of the ligatures used in one of the murders (Charlene Smith).
One of the ligatures used in one of the murders (Charlene Smith).

We’ve published this page today to show you the details and origin of the ligatures used in the EAR/GSK attacks. In addition to photos and a summary of information, the following points are worth going over:

  • It’s believed that the EAR bought his shoelaces new from the store or from some other source. They were almost always in good shape/new condition, and lab analysis revealed almost nothing about them except the occasional hair. If they were used shoelaces, you’d expect to find a vast array of particles and wear-and-tear.
  • EAR brought his own ligatures to almost every attack — he didn’t rely exclusively on what was found at the scene. When he did use something at the scene (electrical cord, towel, husband’s shoelaces, necktie) it was only to supplement the ligatures that he had brought himself.
  • Some of the ligatures matched across scenes. That, and the knots he used, provide a link among several scenes.
The shoelace dropped at the Maggiore murder scene.
The shoelace dropped at the Maggiore murder scene.

It’s also worth noting that the EAR seemed to, at times, receive gratification from tying and retying his victims. He utilized the bindings in another distinct way — he almost always forced his penis into his victims’ bound hands. This is a very unique activity, and it helps tie the EARONS crimes together based on M.O. alone.

Audio Comparison of EAR Calls — The Results

Part of our book involves some very in-depth detective and forensic work. As one of the investigations we’re doing for the book, we hired an audio expert to do some work on the three recordings attributed to EAR: The “dumb fuckers” call, the “Is Ray there?” call, and the “Gonna Kill You” call. We wanted to know if there was any way that we could determine whether the voices matched or not.

Rather than wait until 2019 when the book will be published, we thought we’d at least share the results with you.

The following tests were performed on the EAR calls:

  • Aural Speech Comparison (a non-technology-oriented technique where the expert, assisted by a linguist, listens to the recordings and makes notes of idiosyncrasies, breathing patterns, dialect, pronunciation, vocabulary, etc.)
  • Spectrograph Analysis (a technological process where speech can be visually rendered into what’s called a spectrogram, which is a graphic representation of the frequencies and amplitudes of a sound recording. The expert then looks for patterns)
  • Average Pitch Analysis (a probability-based test that determines whether the voices “sit” at the same frequency)
  • “Cepstrum” chart analysis (a visual representation of the pitch frequencies that a voice sits at… they can be compared to each other).
  • Stock Comparison (the voices are submitted to a database which contains over a million voice samples, and a probability comes back on their uniqueness and similarities to each other)

Long story short — inconclusive. There was no way, given the samples that we have, to determine whether the voices match or not. We didn’t just look for all three to match, but also looked for a “Ray” to “Gonna Kill You” match, a “Ray to Dumb Fuckers” match, etc.

We’re happy to at least have a little bit of science behind us on this and it was worth exploring, even though the result was inconclusive.

The story has a silver lining though — on another case we explored with this team, the Brandon Lawson case, we were able to not only make a sketchy part of his 911 call understandable, but possibly a major break in the case by preparing for LE some scientific evidence that there was another person present when he disappeared. After failing with the EAR, we needed a sidebar showing that the techniques actually work… because they do!

Additionally, an audio expert associated with an upcoming television show that we’re a part of was able to isolate the background sounds of the “Gonna Kill You” phone call, and there was a tiny bit of a surprise in there. It’s probably nothing that will move the case forward, but that show is coming out pretty soon so you’ll be able to find out what that is in just a couple months!

Phone Calls where the East Area Rapist Spoke

One of the interesting parts of the East Area Rapist’s MO was that he East Area Rapist Phone Callsseemingly made many, many “hang-up” phone calls to victims, usually in the weeks before an attack, but sometimes afterward as well. These were quite commonplace, but as folks who haven’t read my book are learning, there were quite a few instances where he actually spoke with victims, potential victims, or even Law Enforcement. I’ve provided a complete listing of known phone calls where the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer actually spoke at this link: https://www.coldcase-earons.com/phonecalls.php

Again, info is given only about the phone calls where the offender spoke. Only the calls or phone events where the caller was believed to be the rapist are included. There are some instances where a strange phone call was received, but it’s not thought to be the offender. On the other side of the coin, while all of these calls are believed to be genuine, there’s a chance that some of them might be coincidence or pranks.

 

There are a few very notable ones, particularly because they occurred during “quiet” periods where the offender wasn’t attacking. Because of these phone calls, we can start to determine whether the offender was incarcerated or not at certain times (most likely he wasn’t), and even where he lived due to the locations of the victims during the time period that he called them. Here are a few of the notable phone calls:

January 15th, 1979
Victim #42 received a call that she identified as the EAR. This call occurred over a month after her attack.
Caller: “Do you want fuck?”
This call is important because not only did it occur during an EAR quiet period, but this attack is connected by DNA. It helps bring the other EAR phone escapades into the fold.

October 21st, 1982
Victim #24 received a call from a voice that she identified as the EAR’s.
Caller: “Hi, it’s me again. Remember me? I’m going to come over and fuck you again. You’re going to suck my cock again.”

Sometime between 1990 and 1992
Victim #7 received a phone call, and she recognized the voice on the other end as the voice of the rapist. The caller whispered harshly into the phone, saying “You know who this is” or “Do you know who this is?” The victim was on the line with him for about a minute. There was the sound of children and maybe a woman in the background, which could’ve potentially come from a television or some other source.

April 6th, 2001
Victim #14 received a phone call from a man who whispered “Remember when we played?” She positively identified the man as the voice of the East Area Rapist. This phone call came just two days after the breaking news that the East Area Rapist crimes had been tied by DNA to the murders in Southern California. This phone call occurred 25 years after the attack.

Keep in mind that the offender’s last known murder was in 1986, which makes the last few particularly creepy. The 1982 call is important, because the offender hadn’t killed for over a year, and it was thought that he might’ve been incarcerated. Being able to track the victim down (the call occurred at her workplace) meant that most likely, he was a free man and had stopped killing of his own volition.

The 2001 call didn’t happen too long ago and makes it a little too close for comfort, though there’s something positive to be said for the idea that the offender could still be alive and could still face justice for his crimes.

 

Rare Police Sketch from the failed Danville Attack

Rare Police Sketch of the East Area Rapist
The full-body sketch of the Danville intruder.

July 5th, 1979 3:57 AM. Sycamore Hill Court, Danville, California.

A man was awakened by a rustling sound on the other end of his bedroom. He opened his eyes, and in the reflection of the vanity he saw a figure in the room slipping a dark mask over his head. Something dangled from the man’s gloved hand.

The husband sat up with a start. He and the figure turned toward each other. The husband began screaming at the top of his lungs and shot out of bed.

“Who the fuck do you think you are?” the husband yelled at the intruder. “What the fuck are you doing here?”

The masked man took two steps backwards and then simply stood there blinking while the husband approached him continued to yell. His wife woke up due to the commotion. While her husband blocked the intruder into a corner, the wife ran past them, down the stairs, and out the door. Once outside, she began screaming for help.

The husband weighed his options and decided that he didn’t want to risk getting killed by this intruder. He told him “If you leave now, you can leave.” The husband then turned and ran as fast as he could down the hall, down the stairs, and outside to join his wife.

The police searched the immediate area, but they couldn’t find the assailant. Neither the victims nor a nearby neighbor who had come out to investigate the commotion saw any sign of him leaving. A bloodhound was able to track him, however, but by the time the trail was picked up, the man was long-gone.

The husband was able to give a very detailed description of the man he saw. Some of these details came out of an in-depth hypnosis session:

The intruder was a white male, mid twenties, 5’10” to 6’, 160 lbs, and had a thin build with square, athletic shoulders. The man’s face appeared to be youthful and lean but not bony or gaunt.

His eyes were round, deep-set, and light-colored, probably hazel. The separation between them was somewhere between medium and wide. They were sleepy-looking with heavy eyelids, despite being held wide open. His pupils seemed big or dilated, and his eyelashes were “full but not feminine.”

The mask appeared to be homemade, made out of wool, or something like it. It came down only to the jawline, leaving a tiny bit of his chin and neck exposed. The intruder didn’t appear to have a beard.

The jacket was a nylon or vinyl windbreaker. The collar was a “regular design with peaked and pointed folds outside and down.” The jacket lining was either fleece or flannel. There was gold (but possibly white) lettering on the left breast. The first letter was “C” and it was about a quarter-inch to a half-inch high. There were at least three other letters after the “C.” The victim felt that it said “Corn”.

It was unknown if the assailant had a weapon or a flashlight.

The rare police sketch at the top of the post shows how the husband in the failed Danville attack described his would-be assailant. One of the most important details to note in this sketch is the shape and style of the pockets.

Ventura – The Smith Murder Location

For several months now, our friend Bill Harticon has been traveling to the different East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer attack sites and snapping amazing photos. These pictures have been instrumental in helping many of us visualize areas that we’re not able to visit in-person.

In March of 1980, peace in Ventura County was shattered when Lyman and Charlene Smith were found murdered in their home. The crime is an outlier in a few ways, one of which is overall location. These photos by Bill Harticon tell some of the story.

High Point Drive | The Smiths murdered by East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
The murders of Lyman and Charlene Smith occurred on this street, High Point Drive, in March 1980.
High Point Drive | The Smiths murdered by East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
The house as you approach it.
High Point Drive | The Smiths murdered by East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
The residence where the Smiths were murdered by the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer.
High Point Drive | The Smiths murdered by East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
A slightly different view of the house.
The Smiths murdered by East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
The church across the street seemed to be the focal point of some strange burglaries and prowling in the days before and even AFTER the murders.
The Smiths murdered by East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
It’s possible that the killer staged his attack from this area.
The Smiths murdered by East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
Located across the street. Even now, this area is quite dark at night.
The Smiths murdered by East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
This foliage probably wasn’t nearly this thick during the timeframe of the murders, but it gives you an idea of the type of cover that might’ve been found, even in such a hilly, exposed terrain.

Official List of Confirmed EARONS Attack Cities/Streets

I’ve received several questions over the last few months, and especially lately, about specific addresses of EAR/GSK attacks. While I don’t reveal the actual addresses of attacks due to victim privacy concerns, the street names are able to be released.

Here’s the official list of EAR/GSK attack streets, straight from Law Enforcement. We’ve taken the extra step of verifying all of it through police reports, property records, phone book entries, and victim/witness interviews. Notes regarding some of them can be found at the bottom of the page. Common questions are answered, and clarification is given.

View the list here: https://www.coldcase-earons.com/attack-list.php

Feel free to send any questions to coldcase.earons@gmail.com

The Home Invaders – Inspiration for EAR/GSK?

Thank you to user Any of N for the information that inspired this post!

“Don’t be alarmed if someone shines a light on your face around two or three in the morning, dressed completely in black and wearing a ski mask and gloves … Don’t wonder how he got in … no lock or alarm is going to keep you secure … No sense in reaching for the phone, the wires have been cut.”

No, that is not a quote from the East Area Rapist. It’s from a book that may or may not have inspired him.

When it comes to offenders who begin their crime sprees seemingly fully-formed, much like the East Area Rapist did, one of the main questions we have to ask is “Where did they learn to do this?”

Is this simply the continuation of a previous crime spree with a new M.O.? Did they have a mentor? Did they read a “how-to” book?

Don’t laugh at that last one. Proboard user “Any of N” came up with an interesting find. A book called “The Home Invaders” by Frank Hohimer looked like it just might be that book.

Cover to
Cover to “The Home Invaders” by Frank Hohimer.

The problem was that it was rare, and no one was able to locate a copy. Then someone came through for me and spent a pretty penny purchasing one. It arrived the other day, and when I started reading it, my jaw dropped. The book was many things… partly about a criminal career, partly about the criminal justice system of the 1960s and early 1970s, and partly a HOW-TO book.

Early in his life, Frank Hohimer (a.k.a. “John Seybold” according to several sources) spent eleven years in a prison, where instead of being rehabilitated, he learned to be a better criminal. He was tutored by Okla Smith, a man who might’ve been the greatest cat burglar in the world, on how to commit crimes and evade detection. (Side note: Smith was in prison for killing his wife. He’d never been arrested for burglary). And Smith himself had learned the “trade” from other mentors. Hohimer was benefitting from the experience of generations of thieves.

Upon Hohimer’s release, he immediately began a “successful” career as a cat burglar. He would’ve continued undetected had he not become mixed up in the Mafia. He ended up on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list for two years, and eventually turned himself in. At the time of his arrest, he was wanted in Denver, Indianapolis, Connecticut, and Illinois.

Before going to jail, he had been making three to five million per year as a cat burglar (he was working only the most exclusive and wealthy neighborhoods). After some interesting deals with the federal prosecutors (the corruption of the FBI is emphasized during these portions), he ended up going to prison at Fort Madison, Iowa, serving a thirty-year term. It was in this prison cell that he wrote the book.

“The Home Invaders” is unique in the sense that there were no professional writers involved, only an editor to fix punctuation and grammar issues. It reads very conversationally. He describes his “craft,” his rules, his preparation, and his activities. In fact, preparation is emphasized quite a bit. His skills were described by Time Magazine in the following way: ““Worked with military precision… known for stealth and daring.”

He mentioned that his hits weren’t “guesswork,” and that he always had precise information. He didn’t worry about the police because the way that he worked, it was impossible to get caught. And after reading about his methods, I can see why the thought that. Some of the “rules” that he was taught included:

  • “Always keep your face and hands covered on a burglary.”
  • “Don’t bother checking the children, they will sleep through anything, noise will hardly wake them up.”
  • “Check the refrigerator. If there is a small baby in the house, there will be formula in there.”
  • “Open every door on the ground floor, so you have plenty of exits, then lock them back just like you found them before you leave.”
  • “Before you work a neighborhood, make damn sure that you know how the cops and security patrol work.”
  • “Never drive a car in the neighborhood you’re hitting. The first thing cops look for is a car driving out. Or a nosy neighbor may jot down the number. Park your car miles away so you get back to it just when people are starting to drive to work. If you’re driving at 2 or 3 in the morning, you might throw a stop from a nosy copper. You can fall in with morning traffic and drive right out of the city.”
  • “Never use slip on sneakers, use the tie kind. Slip ons fall off. When you get back to the car, change clothes as soon and as fast as possible.”
  • “If you have to run, there’s no way to catch you over back fences and through yards.”
  • “Never leave tracks crossing a wet or dewy black top. Lay down and roll if you have to and the cops won’t know you’ve crossed.”
  • “Do not have any strong scent like deodorant or shaving lotion. It might wake people up.”
  • “The more people are in the house, the safer you are. They’ll think it’s someone else if they hear someone moving around.”
  • “Never be afraid of dogs, they can sense fear. Most dogs are friendly, snap your fingers and they come to you. Call them lightly right out of the house, roll them a ball, throw a stick, they will go get it.”
  • “Don’t cast a shadow across a window.”
  • “Never offend where you live.”

Does this… um… sound like anyone else I’ve written about?

The burglary kit used by Frank Hohimer.
The burglary kit used by Frank Hohimer.

The mass-market version was published in January 1975, and one has to wonder if a young East Area Rapist got his hands on a copy somehow. The title would have certainly appealed to him. The methods, the dress, the flashlight, even the time of night certainly rings true.

Of course, the Hohimer book isn’t the only place he could’ve learned these things, and even if he did learn them here, there’s not much we can do with that from an investigative standpoint. But this could be an interesting piece of the puzzle, a little glimpse of what might’ve helped form such a criminal who was looking to start out.

There are a few major differences between Hohimer and the East Area Rapist, of course, especially when it comes to violence. Hohimer writes “Professional burglars never kill no matter what. It creates too much unnecessary heat. He never HAS to kill. He takes the whole house over in a matter of minutes … I have been in hundreds of homes, but I’ve never harmed anyone. Why? I was a professional. I always had immediate control of the situation. I worked silent as a cat and I never woke any member of any household making an entry.”

His first night out as a criminal had some interesting parallels to the East Area Rapist’s own first documented attack in June 1976. Hohimer emphasized picking out certain houses first, a group of them, then narrowing down the target. And patience. Waiting for people to retire at around 10 or 11, then starting to move around the yards at 1:00 AM. The rest of his first night went like this:

He hopped a few back fences across a few yards. He went to the back door of his target and started chipping away at the door frame, and then pushed the knife against the lock to successfully open it. Then he waited half an hour to make sure he hadn’t alerted anyone to his presence. He roamed the house without waking the sleeping couple and stole their jewelry. After the burglary, he went to the refridgerator and drank a quart of milk. He hit another house, and then a final one. On his last hit of the night, he decided to wake the couple up. He put on his ski mask, then shined the light in their faces and told them he wanted their money, just like he’d been taught. He bound them with neck ties, robbed them, ran back to his car to change, and disappeared into morning traffic at around 5:45 AM.

Creepy. The rest of the book talks about his various experiences, and like I mentioned earlier, talks a lot about how corrupt Law Enforcement was at the time. Surprisingly, Herbert Beigel, a member of the federal task force assigned to Hohimer’s case, talks more about the corruption than Hohimer does. Beigel calls the FBI a “government spy ring” and not a law enforcement agency, and the book discusses how bribes were given to local police by Hohimer for them to ignore him while he was in their town. Fascinating stuff, but not all agencies were like that.

I found the information in the book unnerving, and I can easily see someone looking to embark on a life of crime finding it useful. Whether or not EAR ever came across it, I don’t know. But some of the elements are there.

Failed EAR/GSK Attack on Queen Ann in Goleta

For several months now, our friend Bill Harticon has been traveling to the different East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer attack sites and snapping amazing photos. These pictures have been instrumental in helping many of us visualize areas that we’re not able to visit in-person.

Today we visit the scene of the first known Southern California attack committed by the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer. Luckily, this couple got away. The next victims would not be so lucky.

We’re so grateful to Bill Harticon for putting these photos together for us!

Queen Ann Lane in Goleta | Failed attack by the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
In the early morning hours of October 1st, 1979, the East Area Rapist made his presence known in Southern California, a few hundred miles away from where he’d previously been attacking. He attacked here on Queen Ann Lane, most likely using the types of canals and walkways that he’d used before.
North Patterson in Goleta | Failed attack by the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
Before he committed his assault, he stole a bicycle from this area of North Patterson,
mostly likely entering and exiting the street from here.
Queen Ann Lane in Goleta | Failed attack by the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
This area could’ve been the way he arrived at the attack site. He didn’t leave from here, though.
Queen Ann Lane in Goleta | Failed attack by the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
Another view.
Queen Ann Lane in Goleta | Failed attack by the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
Queen Ann Lane, near the attack site. The would-be rapist/killer rode his bike past an off-duty FBI agent at this location.
Queen Ann Lane and Kellogg in Goleta | Failed attack by the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
The FBI agent pursued him down Queen Ann Lane and Kellogg.
Kellogg in Goleta | Failed attack by the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
This is Kellogg, the escape route that the EAR/GSK took on his bike.
Goleta | Failed attack by the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
During the time period of this attack and the Offerman/Manning murders, construction was going on in this area that might have brought the killer down, depending on what his occupation was.
Goleta | Failed attack by the East Area Rapist / Golden State Killer
The Calle Real shopping center. Painting was going on at the time of the Offerman/Manning murders, and some theorize that the offender was a painter based on some physical evidence found in Northern California and at the scene of the Offerman/Manning murders.