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Lake Herman

Friday, Dec. 20, 1968

7:20 p.m. – David Arthur Farady, a 17-year-old student at Vallejo High School, was dressing for his first date with Betty Lou Jensen, a 16-year-old student at Hogan High across town. Earlier in the evening David had told his sister that he and Betty Lou might be going out to Lake Herman Road at the end of their date because he’d heard “a bunch of the kids were going out there tonight.”

7:30 p.m. – David said goodbye to his parents and left his Sereno Drive home. He drove his 1961 Rambler brown-and-beige four-door sedan out of the driveway and took Fairgrounds Drive to Interstate 80 for the 1 1/4 miles to the Georgia Street exit. From Georgia David made a right on Hazelwood until he came to 123 Ridgewood Ct., a low, flat house (see picture at right). He pulled to a stop at 8 p.m.

Betty Lou was finishing getting ready for the date in her bedroom. She had often told her sister that she thought a boy from school was spying on her, and on several occasions her mother had found the gate open leading to the side of the house.

8:20 p.m. – David and Betty Lou leave, telling her parents that they were going to a Christmas carol concert at Hogan High, only a few blocks away (see picture below). They promised they’d be back by 11 p.m. Instead of going to the concert, they went to a friend named Sharon’s house near the school.

9 p.m. – Sharon walked David and Betty Lou out to their car. They didn’t say where they were going next.

At about the same time, out on Lake Herman Road, just east of the Vallejo City limits, two raccoon hunters, who had just parked their truck off the road, noticed a white four-door hardtop ’60 Chevrolet Impala parked by the entrance to the Benicia Water Pumping Station.

9:30 p.m. – An unusual incident occurred at the entrance to the pumping station. A boy and his date had parked their sports car just off the winding, dark road so he could adjust its motor. Both saw a car, possibly a blue Valiant, coming down the road from Benicia into Vallejo. As the car passed the couple, it slowed, went a few yards down the road, and stopped in the middle of the road. They saw its white backup lights come on. The car started backing up towards them with “excruciating slowness.” The boy sensed such menace in the actions of the car and its driver that he put his car into gear and sped off at high speed. The Valiant followed them. When the couple got to the Benicia turnoff, they turned. The other car continued straight ahead.

10 p.m. – Bingo Wesher, a sheepherder at the Old Borges Ranch, was checking his sheep in the area east of the Benicia pumping station when he noticed a white Chevrolet Impala sedan parked by the entrance to the station. He also saw the raccoon hunters’ ’59 Ford truck.

After David and Betty Lou had a Coke at Mr. Ed’s, a local drive-in, they drove east on Georgia and turned left onto Columbus Parkway. At the city limits of Vallejo, David turned right onto narrow, winding Lake Herman Road. Small ranches crowded the roadside for the first couple of miles. They were headed towards a remote lover’s lane. Police traveled it periodically, warning couples of the possible dangers of parking in such an isolated area.

10:13 p.m. – David pulled off the road to the right and parked 15 feet off it, facing south, in the area outside gate #10, the entrance to the Lake Herman pumping station (see picture at right). He locked all four doors and tilted the adjustable front seat back to a 45-degree angle. There were no lamp poles, and the clearing was surrounded by gently mounded hills and farmland. The spot was popular for lovers because the kids could see the lights from any car as it came around a curve in the road.

10:15 p.m. – A woman and her boyfriend drove by the entrance to the pumping station and noticed David’s car. When they reached the end of the road and came back past 15 minutes later, the car was still there, but was now facing out toward the road in a southeast direction.

10:50 p.m. – Stella Borges arrived at her ranch on Lake Herman Road, exactly two and seven-tenths miles from where David and Betty Lou were parked. As she came in, the phone rang and she began a conversation with her mother. They agreed that Mrs. Borges would pick up her 13-year-old son later that night.

11 p.m. – Peggie and Homer Your drove out to Lake Herman Road in their gold ’67 Grand Prix to check out the sewer and water pipes his company was installing near the pump house. When they passed David’s Rambler, Mrs. Your saw David sitting in the driver’s seat and the girl leaning against his shoulder. When the lights from the Your’s car illuminated the gate area, she could see David put his hands on the steering wheel. After looking over the site, the Yours went to the bottom of the hill and turned around to go back towards Benicia. They could see the raccoon hunters’ red pickup parked in the field 25 feet in. The two hunters, in stocking caps and hunting jackets, were in the truck. They passed the Rambler again. David and Betty Lou were in the same position.

11:05-11:09 p.m. – Another car came around the bend in the road and caught the Rambler in its headlights. Instead of passing the station wagon, however, this car pulled up next to it, to the right about 10 feet away. The figure in the car was probably in silhouette, hunched and stocky. The two cars sat side by side.

11:10 p.m. – A worker from Humble Oil in Benicia was on his way home when he passed the Rambler at the gate. He noticed both cars, but the make and color of the other car failed to register with him.

This is what may have happened next:

The new arrival finally rolled down his window and spoke to David and Betty Lou, asking them to get out of the car. The couple refused and the stocky man opened his car door. As he got out, he pulled a gun from under his dark jacket. He stood staring down at Betty Lou, whose window was open. However, instead of forcing himself through the most obvious entrance the passenger side the stranger began stalking around the car. He stopped, aimed at the rear right window just off center and fired a bullet. It shattered the glass. He moved to the left side of the car and fired a bullet into the left rear wheel housing. His intention seemed to be to herd the youngsters out of the right side of the car. He succeeded. As both of the teenagers scrambled out of the passenger side, the stranger raced around to the right side of the car.

Betty Lou had gotten out. As David slid across the seat and turned his head in the process of getting out, the man reached through the open left window with the gun and pressed the barrel behind the upper part of the boy’s left ear and pulled the trigger. The bullet angled horizontally forward, leaving behind the powder burns of a contact wound. David’s skull exploded.

Betty Lou screamed and ran northward, parallel with the road and toward Vallejo. Racing after the girl, gun extended, less than ten feet behind her, the man shot Betty Lou five times in a tight pattern in the upper right portion of her back. This was incredible marksmanship, considering there was a moving target, a moving gunman running over gravel on an almost totally dark country road. Betty Lou fell dead exactly 28 feet and 6 inches from the Rambler’s rear bumper. She had never even reached the pavement of the road. She lay on her right side, face down, her feet to the west. David was on his back, feet pointing toward the right rear wheel. He was breathing in an almost imperceptible rasp. A large pool of blood was beginning to form about his head. The killer backed his sedan up and drove away.

11:10 p.m. – Mrs. Borges hung up the phone and got her mother-in-law and daughter for the drive to Benicia. It took her four to five minutes, at 35 miles per hour, to reach the site where David had parked. As she turned the corner of the road at the edge of the chain link fence, her headlights illuminated the dreadful sight.

She accelerated down the narrow road to Benicia, looking for help, reaching speeds of 60 to 70 miles per hour. Just north of Interstate 680 she saw a Benicia patrol car and began to honk and blink her lights to get its attention. She reported what she had seen down the road. It was 11:19 p.m.

The police cruiser proceeded with flashing lights to the scene of the attack and arrived in three minutes. The officers, Captain Daniel Pitta and Officer William T. Warner, detected shallow breathing from the boy and called for an ambulance. They checked over the Rambler. The engine was lukewarm, the ignition switched on, the right front door wide open and the rest of the doors and tailgate locked. They found an expended .22 casing on the right front floorboard of the car. Because the ground and gravel area was frozen, there were no visible tire tracks or sign of a struggle.

The officers covered Betty Lou with a wool blanket. A trail of blood, most of which had come from her mouth and nose, led back to the car. David was lying face up, a large lump visible on his right cheek. He had blood on his hands and on the sleeves of his shirt. Officer Warner made a chalk outline of the still figure.

After a few minutes, an ambulance arrived and began to take David to Vallejo General Hospital.

11:29 p.m. – Captain Pitta called County Coroner Dan Horan. Since the attack had occurred in an unincorporated section of Solano County, out of the jurisdiction of Benicia police, he notified Solano County Sheriff’s Office by radio and requested a unit and an investigator.

12 a.m. – Horan arrived at the scene, along with Dr. Byron Sanford of Benicia. Sanford pronounced Betty Lou dead at the scene and ordered the body removed for autopsy. Before doing so, however, pictures were taken from as many angles as possible.

12:05 a.m. – David Farady was pronounced dead on arrival at Vallejo General Hospital.

12:05 a.m. – Detective Les Lundblad from the Sheriff’s Office arrived at the scene. The search for prints, a weapon and other clues began. Nine more .22 shell casings were found. The murder weapon proved likely to be a .22-caliber J.C. Higgins model 80 or Hi Standard model 101. The bullets were Super X copper-coated long rifle ammo made by Winchester since October 1967, which made it relatively new. A ricochet mark was found on the roof of the station wagon, and very slight shoeprints were found in front of the parked car, leading to the passenger side. Also, a deep heel print was found behind the pump house beyond the locked fence.

Later that night and the next day, autopsies were performed on Betty Lou and David. From the victims and the vehicle, seven slugs were reclaimed. Four of these were in good condition, the remaining three in damaged condition. (Two were never recovered, lost somewhere in the field by Lake Herman Road.)

There was scant little for the investigators to go on. There were no witnesses, no motives and no suspects.