It was almost a new year and a new decade. As far as Nor. Cal was concerned, EAR hadn’t struck since July. From what we know now, EAR had not struck in over 2 months. Both of these are long periods of time for him. His last 2 attacks were also botch-ups. He hadn’t had a rape and terror-night-out since July.
But he came back. He came back to Goleta. And he came back not so far from Queen Ann Lane. In a curious twist, he hit a condo complex. These weren’t long blocks of condos as in the La Riviera area (18, 27). These condos were set about amidst parkland, and each block consisted of only 2 attached condominiums. Walking paths wended about from each condo, through the quiet parkland and under trees, and to the parking lots. Adding to the solitude, one side of the complex was next to San Jose Creek. The thick woodland hid the creek from view, and the community had also planted an orchard in front of it. To the back of the community was a huge open area, and this undeveloped land connected with a familiar sight to us all here— a CAT corridor. Here they are tall, special power polls and not the usual lattice grid of aluminum giants, but the corridor of land remains fallow beneath them. Only part of it, like the corridor in San Ramon, is devoted to a Christmas tree farm. On the other side is another community.
Along here EAR had parked. He walked through the field as he had done before. He had ridden Las Perlas already on his bike. He had been through the community. He had parked off Cathedral Oaks before, the main thoroughfare, and had scanned the area from there. That was his MO. He was young and innocent looking. But tonight he crept across the field and into the back way of the condo complex. He walked quietly along the pathways. He came to the one he had already selected. The people were still awake— a couple. He already knew they were doctors. One, the woman, was a head shrinker.
He went next door. This condo was empty. He took the screen off a window, put it on a tall hedge and slipped inside. He never left prints. He always wore gloves. Here he lurked. Festered, perhaps. Whenever he entered a house he haunted it. He left behind a strange aura which more than one detective believed they could sense. Not just a physical cold, but a draining of the vital centers of life.
What had he been doing in the empty condo? Whatever it was, he clumsily left twine behind; in one case under the master bath sink. Curious. He left twine outside. When he came in the window or when he left?
As it grew late he slipped out. The lights were out next door. It was time. It was more than time by the looks of the back patio sliding glass door. It had been pried so feverishly that some of the aluminum jamb was pulled from the beam of the door frame. Several pry marks on windows showed his unrelenting desire to get in, and at last EAR did get in.
How long did he wait before waking his victims? This we do not know. There was no need to remove shoelaces for ligatures. He brought all the white twine with him. It was identical to that which he had taken to Himmel and Helikon’s house. It was 1/16 inch 3 strand. He either turned the thermostat off, or the owner didn’t leave the heat on at night.
The condo belonged to an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Robert John Offerman. He was 44 years old. He was quite successful and single. He lay asleep in bed. Next to him was a psychologist, Dr. Debra Manning, 35. She was formally married to an orthopedic surgeon and just recently divorced. In fact, just last Friday. They both slept.
But at one point there must have been tapping, kicking of the bed, or something that awakened them and put them face to face with the obscene, angry whispering that hissed through EAR’s clenched teeth.
Debra Manning had time to stuff her jewels down behind the bed. For her to have been able to do this, EAR must not have been standing over them. Thus he probably was at the doorway at this moment. She obeyed his angry hissing, this we can assume, and tied up Bob Offerman’s wrists. EAR approached and then tied her. Then he went to tie Offerman’s ankles. That was his MO.
Something else can be solidly assumed here. He was as vicious, if not more so than with Himmel and Helikon. There were no “ifs” anymore. His scripted lines seldom varied until his first Goleta attack. The “ifs” were then gone. He said he “would kill them.” He chanted it in the hallway and kitchen of their Queen Ann home. It had so set them off they tried repeatedly and finally got away.
EAR must have done that here. He fed on the whimpering and the fear. Whatever he said here the effect seemed to be the same. Offerman must have gotten free, even before EAR got ankle ligatures on him. He lunged at EAR. EAR shot him in the chest. Offerman spun around. EAR pumped 3 more rounds into his back. Nude, Offerman fell to the floor, on his knees, leaned forward until his face hit the carpet, his butt sticking up in the air.
Neighbors heard the shots. There was one. Then a gap. Then 3 fired rapidly. Were they early new year firecrackers? They didn’t bother to inquire. There was another gap. Not long. Then there was another single shot. After that it was quiet. It was 3 a.m. There was no point in stirring from bed on a cold December night.
Eventually there was concern, as there always is when a couple does not answer. Police arrived to find Offerman as EAR had let him fall. White cord was still around his left wrist. Manning was lying on the bed, on her face. Her hands were tied behind her back. She had been shot in the back of the head execution style.
All the light switches had been found in the off-position, as well as the thermostat. Size 9 Addis Runner shoe prints had been found in the backyard. They matched those that had been found at the Himmel/Helikon residence on Queen Ann Lane. Curiously, the prints of a 3 toed dog had been found next to them. A plastic bag containing turkey pieces and bones was found on the back patio. These same Adidas prints were found under the window via which the next door condo had been entered. They were also found in another neighbor’s yard, where the son’s bike had been stolen that night.
The caliber of gun had been a .38 revolver. Altogether as far as sheriffs were concerned this sounds like the same nut who had tried to rob the Queen Ann Lane. Sounded like a botched burglary. Why should the sheriffs not conclude this? There had been a burglary spree just the day before. Starting around 4 p.m. a rash of 5 burglaries began. Victims found their side gates open, some of the neighbors did too. Four of the victims had had their sliding glass doors pried open. The last one was at 11:15 p.m. on Windsor Court. As the family was pulling up, they saw someone run past their living room window inside their house. When they entered he was gone, but their little poodle had been beaten to death. It must have been done to silence its yapping.
This was a vicious burglar. Now it seemed he was capable of murder if things went wrong.