On 2/2/78, Brian and Kate Maggiore went for an evening walk with their dog in Rancho Cordovoa. They were shot to death in a backyard on La Alegria Drive.
That’s about as much as anyone can say about this tragedy without stepping into unclear and controversial territory. Was EAR seen prowling–and perhaps personally recognized–by the Maggiore couple? Did the murders involve a possible stalker of Katie’s? Or were they connected to Mather Air Force Base? Or some other circumstances entirely?
A 2/16/78 Sacramento Bee article published these composites of suspects:
Here is a clearer view of the composites (from EAR-ONS timeline):
On 4/16/78, two months later, the Bee published a revised composite of one suspect from a “better description” from a new witness:
A clearer view of the revised composite (from EAR-ONS timeline):
Context: The 2/2/78 Maggiore murders occurred after Victims #29 and #30 (1/28/78) near American River College, and before Victim #31 (3/18/78) in Stockton.
If EAR was prowling in Rancho Cordova that night, it was familiar stalking ground, having struck multiple times in that area. His first known attack occurred down the street.
Validity: The validity of the composites as EAR rests upon two obvious foundations: first, eyewitness reports and memory; second, whether this was an encounter with EAR. I am not going to take a side or represent every detail of the arguments. What follows, instead, are the brief versions.
EAR: Rancho Cordova was familiar stalking ground, and he may have been stalking in it that night: “EAR-style burglaries and prowls in the hours preceding the Maggiore murders suggest he was in attack mode that night.” Additionally, near the crime scene a shoelace was found–or shoelaces, depending on the source. The current LE position seems to be that it is “a single pre-tied shoelace…consistent with the EAR’s knots.” Of course, if it were EAR’s stalking ground, he could have dropped this shoelace at some other time. And if two suspicious men were connected to the crime, that would suggest that EAR was working with a partner, which seems unlikely. (I am trusting that readers will spin out the many obvious variations and rebuttals to these scenarios, as many others have).
Mather AFB Connections: Lt. Ray Biondi investigated the case, with Brian’s air force connections as a primary focus: “It was very close to Mather Air Force Base; and because one of the victims was a military sergeant, I bet you we interviewed thousands of airmen….We had a lot of suspects, a lot of great theories and a lot of guys who seemed to have an established motive, but we never solved that case.” During the initial investigation, it seems, EAR was not a suspect. And newspapers from the time did not mention the shoelace or EAR as a potential culprit, either.
On the AETV forum, Archangel posted a detailed timeline and argument for two suspects working together, with motives involving illegal activities at the air force base. Those archived posts can be found on the earonsgsk board.
A Stalker: According to reliable forum posts, Katie’s coworker was receiving threatening calls from a man saying that he was going to rape Katie and her. Possibly connected to the calls was a man sitting in a car outside of Katie’s work, staring at her for an unusual amount of time. If Brian and Katie’s nighttime walks were a routine, a stalker would know such a thing and might even follow them, leading to a confrontation. It should be noted that this scenario is less popular than the EAR or air force scenarios.
Current LE thinking seems to focus on EAR as the assailant, and EAR is noted as a possible suspect by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, who have reopened their investigation into the murders.
Nicknames: The Mustache; The Bland Man; Revised Composite
Update: The June 2016 FBI announcement presented “Revised Composite” along with two others. “Revised” was stated to be the best composite, featuring it on the national billboard.