The only known sighting of EAR’s face occurred on 3/18/77 (Victim #15).
Context: This attack took place near Malaga Way and Benny Way in the Cordova Gardens area of Rancho Cordova. EAR wore a dark green mask that came down to his chin, with “the whole center of the mask … cut out to reveal the suspect’s nose, eyes and mouth. The chin was covered” (LE report via forum member). From Shelby’s description of what the victim saw: “A man with wide eyes and a wide mouth wearing a ski mask. This is exactly what she saw when she looked at him. Nothing identifying at all. […] She said he had a young round face, putting his age in the late teens to early 20’s.”
Validity: As reliable as an eyewitness description can be under stress, this is the best and only look at EAR’s face. He would never do this with a victim again.
Nicknames: Open Mask; Benny Way
On 2/16/77, Ray and Rodney Miller (age 18) returned home around 10:30 p.m. to find a prowler in the backyard. The prowler jumped a fence, with Rodney close behind. As Rodney reached the top of the fence, he was shot in the abdomen. This composite (“Ripon Shooter”) comes from that encounter, which occurred on Ripon Court in the Glenbrook/La Riviera area.
A second composite was created of a suspicious young man (“Ripon Prowler”) seen in the area that night.
Context: This occurred between Victim #13 and #14. Victim #13 was attacked on 2/7/77 in the Del Campo area. EAR’s next attack would be 3/8/77 in the Thornwood area. If the prowler had been EAR, he last struck in the La Riviera area on 1/19/77 (Victim #11), and he would not definitively return to the La Riviera area until 5/3/77 (Victim #18), striking to the north of where this shooting occurred.
Validity: Although there’s no evidence that this was EAR, the man who shot Rodney was clearly more than a “suspicious man in the area,” which is the context of so many other composites. The composites were created with input from Rodney and four young women in the area that night. It’s possible that they are of the same man.
Nicknames: Ripon Shooter; Ripon Prowler / Suspicious Male Model
Update: The June 2016 press conference presented three composites to the public. One of them was the “Ripon Prowler” (not the “Shooter”). This part is complete speculation on my part: the Ripon Prowler was chosen because he was likely seen under more calm conditions by more witnesses; the Prowler and the Shooter are the same man.
The “Elvis” composite comes from neighbors of Attack #22.
Context: Attack #22 occurred on 5/28/77. The neighbors had been burglarized two weeks before. At the time of the sighting (which is unclear), the neighbors did not speak to “Elvis,” who was standing on the porch. The neighbors disagreed on hair color: the husband said it was brown; the wife said it was more blonde. On the night of the attack, another neighbor saw a similar man knocking on a door. Door-to-door salesmen had been in the area.
On 5/28/77, Sacramento Police were called out to a gas station after this graffiti had been spotted in a men’s restroom stall: “This is a fucked part of town. Next month I start here. EAR.” The gas station was only a mile from Attack #32 and less than 10 miles from Attack #22. If the graffiti had been written by EAR, he was declaring a new attack area: South Sacramento.
Validity: As with nearly every other composite, this is evidence of a suspicious person. It was not a direct sighting by a victim.
Nicknames: Elvis; Sky Parkway
On 5/17/77, this suspicious person was seen in the area of College View Drive near American River College.
Context: On this date, at 1:30 a.m., victim #21 was attacked at home in the Del Dayo area near American River Drive and Sand Bar Circle.
Validity: As with most other other composites, there has been no reason to rule out or give extra weight to this one. A note on the composite reads: “Prowler 0640 hrs.” Given how much prowling EAR seemed to do, it isn’t unreasonable to think that he might prowl after an attack.
Nicknames: Knit Cap; Jaco Pastorius
This composite of a possible EAR suspect was created on November 8, 1976. The date of the sighting–and the circumstances of it–are unknown. The man was seen near Bourbon Drive in the Del Campo area.
Context: The first official EAR attack occurred on June 18, 1976. By the time this composite was created, there were 8 victims. Before that, EAR possibly attempted and aborted an attack on April 15, 1976, in the La Riviera Drive area. Between June and November 8, there had been an increasing number of prowling and burglary incidents of EAR victims and their neighbors.
The first EAR news article was published on November 4, 1976.
Validity: Although not much is known about the composite’s origins, the above context shows that there were numerous opportunities to see a suspicious man who may have been EAR. The man depicted in this composite was seen near Bourbon Drive, a short distance from both Attack #4 (August) and Attack #10 (December).
Nicknames: Bourbon Drive; Evil David Cassidy
NOTE: An enhancement was made of this composite by AETV user icyu2. However, unlike the other enhancements, I question how accurately it depicts the original, which has thinner cheeks and spikier hair. I realize this is a mostly pointless quibble decades later, so I will post the enhancement below.
A suspicious man seen near Primrose Drive in Citrus Heights. January 22, 1977.
Context: Victim #12 was struck on January 24, near Primrose and Farmgate Way. The next victim in the Birdcage area of Citrus Heights would be #20 in May.
In Shelby’s Hunting a Psychopath, he describes a sighting that is most likely the source of this composite. Two days before the January 24 attack, a woman saw a suspicious man, resulting in a “detailed composite” that was “passed around the entire country.”
“About 12: 30 A.M., she saw a man walking very quickly and quietly across the front yards of her neighbors’ houses while staying close to the shrubbery. [….] This man, who was walking across her neighbors’ front yards, stopped and looked straight at her. He was standing no more than twenty feet away. No emotion of any kind showed on his face. [….] According to the description provided by this woman, the man she saw was a white male, 30 to 40, weighing about 175 and standing 6 ft. tall. He had a square face and dark curly hair. He wore a hip-length jacket of medium-brown color and dark pants” (HAP, Ch. 25).
Validity: As with nearly every EAR composite, this is just a suspicious person. There’s been no reason to rule it out or to lend it any particular weight.
Nicknames: Elf Ears; Primrose Man
From a College View Way sighting on 1/28/1978.
This was a suspicious person on a bicycle on College View Way, near American River College. He was noted as being in his early 20’s (possibly as young as 18), wearing a maroon or purple windbreaker with Levis.
Context: On this date, victims #29 and #30 were attacked near American River College at 10:30 p.m. EAR smashed through the front door and assaulted two teenage sisters. His previous attack was on 12/2/77, which was aborted due to noisy teens outside. After that failed attempt, December and January were communicative months from EAR, with threatening phone calls and the mailing of the “Excitement’s Crave” poem. This may have been a particularly frustrated EAR who abandoned his silent tactics to bust through a door so loudly as to wake one of the victims.
Validity: This composite tends to be the subject of mockery among forum members. He has been dubbed “Little Lord Fauntleroy,” and I join the mockery with my nickname for him. Indeed, the composite does not really convey “menacing.” However, the description estimated his size around 6 feet, 150-160 pounds. We may be underestimating the reality behind the composite. As ever, though, it is evidence of a suspicious person, not a direct sighting of EAR.
Nicknames: French Prince of College View Way; Little Lord Fauntleroy