Everything that has ever happened on this planet has a piece of time and territory attached to it. Some events can occur simultaneously in the same arena and some cancel others out -- like home runs cancel out strikeouts. You can't strike out and hit a home run in the same time at bat. That's the principle behind this timeline analysis.
We are going to look at two timelines attached to several others. These merging timelines should narrow the window of opportunity for the murders in the 800 block of South Bundy Drive to an opening so small that it's highly improbably anyone could have slipped through by chance.
The Robert Heidstra timeline represents a reliable "clock" (as defined in Donald Freed's Killing Time) because of Heidstra's regular dog-walking habits. He was conscious of the time because he waked his dogs on the same rout every day, sometimes as often as three times a day for over ten years. He tried to do it at 6:00, 8:00 and 10:00, which required frequent references to a timepiece. He wore a wristwatch.
Heidstra lived on Dorothy, three buildings west of Westgate. His normal evening routine was to leave his apartment with his dogs for the last time at 10:00. He would go counterclockwise around the long block bounded by Westgate, Gorham, Bundy and Dorothy. He walked the same route with his dogs hundreds of times beginning from the same place at the same hour and ending at the same place in plenty of time before the eleven o'clock news started.
It took twenty minutes for Heidstra to get from his apartment to the intersection of Gorham and Bundy, which means that he normally got there at 10:20 and crossed in front of Nicole's condo (on the opposite side of the street) at 10:25. By 10:35 he normally would have been halfway between Bundy and home. If his normal habits were being monitored over time the killer would have expected him to have come and gone before the attack began if he was coming at all.
This time things were a little different. Heidstra didn't get around to starting his walk until 10:15. So, instead of arriving at the intersection of Gorham and Bundy at 10:20, he got there fifteen minutes later - at around 10:35. And instead of turning south on Bundy, he altered his rout out of fear for his old, crippled dogs because of the "hysterical" way the Akita was barking and his perception that the dog sounded like he was on the street. He went down the alley on the east side of Bundy where the old woman kept the black dog and where he heard the "Hey! Hey! Hey!" followed by the two men arguing.
The second voice - the deeper one - had to be a man.
Heidstra could tell by the distinctive way that each dog barked whether it was Nicole's big, white Akita or Elsie Tistaert's little black dog. Heidstra testified that the argument went back and forth for about fifteen seconds WHILE the dogs were barking.
MR. DARDEN: The voice sounded like the voice of a white male?
MR. HEIDSTRA: How could I say that is a white male? I don't know the voice. It could be anybody there.
MR. DARDEN: Did you ever tell Mr. Stevens, my investigator, that it sounded like a white male?
MR. HEIDSTRA: No.
MR. DARDEN: Never said that?
MR. HEIDSTRA: I don't recall that at all. I said it was a clear voice but never what kind of white or brown or yellow.
MR. DARDEN: And then there was that second voice, correct?
MR. HEIDSTRA: Right.
MR. DARDEN: And that second voice, that voice sounded deeper than the first voice, didn't it?
MR. HEIDSTRA: A little bit, but I couldn't hardly hear it with the dogs, the commotion with two dogs there. It was very short.
MR. DARDEN: Did you ever tell anyone that the second voice was a deep voice?
MR. HEIDSTRA: It was deep, it was deeper than the other one other than, "Hey, hey, hey."
Now, here is the crucial sequence. Nearly everyone got this wrong, Fuhrman, Toobin, Bosco, Shapiro, Petrocelli, etc. Heidstra said the same thing every time. The people who reported it got it wrong...
1) 10:35: Hears Akita barking hysterically as he reaches intersection of Gorham and Bundy.
2) 10:35: Turns around and walks dogs down alley.
3) 10:40: Hears black dog near Mrs. Tistaert's garage begin to barking.
4) 10:40: Hears Akita hesitate.
5) 10:40: Hears man across the street call out in a clear voice, "Hey! Hey! Hey!"
6) 10:40: Hears man with slightly deeper voice say something angrily.
7) 10:40: Hears 15 to 20-second argument between "Clear Voice" and "Deep Voice." Cannot make out words.
8) 10:4?: Hears metal gate slam.
9) 10:45-47: Walks to Dorothy
10) 10:45-47 (last Heidstra spotlight on Dog Walkers 2 animation): Turns head back to Bundy/Dorothy intersection. Sees light-colored Jeep-like vehicle facing him on Dorothy at the stoplight. Also sees a car going north and another one going south on Bundy pass each other at the intersection.
11) 10:45-47: Sees the vehicle on Dorothy turn south onto Bundy and speed away.
12) 11:00: Arrives home just as the two dogs' barking was winding down (they were still barking). He knows what time it is because the eleven o'clock news is about to come on.
Dividing the length of Dorothy, Westgate, Gorham and the alley east of Bundy into 12 equal segments gives you a pretty good way of measuring the time it took for Heidstra to get from point to point in five-minute increments. That, of course assumes a constant rate of speed averaged over each five minute segment with a two minute allowance for the length of time Heidstra stopped to change course and to listen to the commotion in Nicole's front yard. He had no reliable way of timing the stop.
Working forward from the time Heidstra left the house, backward from the time he returned and using Denise Pilnak's five minute call to her mother at 10:25 as an interim check on when the Akita started barking, the margin of error can't be more than two or three minutes. That's plus or minus a minute and a half. And for a murder investigation with open-ended theories, red hearings and false timelines up the ying-yang, that's a damn good clock. --Jasper
Steven Schwab's Timeline
Note: The maps I saw of the area surrounding the murder scene were so different that I couldn't tell precisely where to put the houses. The maps on Wagner's site also had significant location and proportion problems. Both of the maps I pulled off of the web put Steven Schwab's house closer to San Vicente than Bundy. He testified that he lived only three houses from Bundy and placed a house icon on one of Marcia Clark's maps that looked about right to him. The overall difference in the various locations of Schwab's house on the maps is about two and a half minutes. In the end, I decided that Schwab must have had a better idea of where he lived than anyone else did. I put his starting point as close as I could to where he said it was.
You should also note that the "time zones" I superimposed on the maps below are segmented in equal five or ten minute increments to make it easier to gauge the range of time involved in various events. The end time for Schwab's June 12 dog walk is not that precise (about five minutes into the Mary Tyler Moore Show). He could have gotten home two or three minutes later than he estimated because of his encounter with the dog and the cop (Officer Jones from the Pacific Division). --Jasper
|Steven Schwab's normal
dog-walking routine on Sundays took him from his home east of Bundy on
Montana at 10:30 on a
predominantly counterclockwise route. He went from Gretna Green to Gorham, to Amherst to
Dorothy, to Bundy then clockwise back to his home in time to catch the start of the Mary
Tyler Moore Show at 11:00. He was rarely more than five minutes late. The orange dots
segmenting the dashed orange line in five-minute increments indicate where he would have
been along that path if he had left his house precisely at 10:30. On the night of the
murders he started a few minutes late.
Robert Heidstra's normal dog walking routine is shown in the blue line segmented in ten-minute increments with blue dots. It began at 10 o'clock and took him past Nicole's condo between 10:20 and 10:25 every night. You can see that his pace is twice as slow as Schwab's. Still, he would have been only five minutes away from 10:35 if he had left home on time on the night of the killings.
(Note: Check hotspots on the dotted lines below for key transcript references to Schwab and Heidstra's criminal trial testimony.
On June 12, 1994 Heidstra left fifteen minutes late and altered his path to go down the alley east of Bundy instead of going down the street when he heard Nicole's Akita begin to bark "hysterically."
Heidstra and Schwab looked at their watches at some point before or during their walk Heidstra checked his at 10:15. Schwab checked his at 10:37.
If Schwab found the Akita when and where he said he did, he had to have been behind his average overall pace by nearly five minutes before he found the Akita. His testimony combined with Robert Heidstra's confirms that he was. http://www.wagnerandson.com/oj/curve/storfera.jpg
Schwab testified that he walked the entire two blocks on Dorothy from Amherst to Bundy without noticing any barking. Considering Heidstra's geriatric pace and the similar distance from Amherst to Bundy and Heidstra's distance from the alley to his apartment just west of Westgate on Dorothy, Schwab almost certainly covered the same distance as Heidstra in half the time.
This raises the question of why Schwab testified that he heard no barking when Heidstra did between 10:45 and 10:55.
We know that sound carries differently under different conditions and different people are more sensitive to certain sounds than others. We know that people tune some sounds in and tune others out depending on their priorities.
The trees and buildings between Schwab and the two dogs would have acted as sound barriers for most of his trip. Any elevated areas between them would have been even more effective sound barriers. Schwab had the additional sound barrier of houses in his way and he had no previous awareness of any barking to focus his attention on it and where it was coming from. Not so with Heidstra.
A good look at the time markers on the map explains more of the apparent discrepancy.
You also have to take into account increasingly longer pauses between barks with the black dog farthest away from Schwab and closet to Heidstra doing most of the barking between 10:50 and 10:55. For Heidstra the barking would have been continuous or virtually continuous for ten or fifteen minutes. At 10:55 it would have been new to Schwab. The idea that both dogs paused for a while is supported by the fact that Schwab didn't see the Akita until he was about a minute away from Bundy and didn't hear any barking until the Akita began to bark at 10:55. It suggests that the dog was standing or walking in Nicole's courtyard or somewhere nearby until 10:55.
At 10:55, the Akita began to bark again in the way that Heidstra described it, as he stood in front of his building shortly before 11:00. We know that the Akita's barking was intermittent from that point on and we know that Schwab's attention was focused on the Akita. He didn't say that the little black dog was not barking when he was on the 800 block of Bundy; he said that he didn't remember. He had no reason to remember. The Akita and the black dog needed to be silent for only a minute or two for Schwab to have noticed no barking at all before he reached the Akita.
It seems likely that Schwab disregarded any faint, intermittent barking he might have heard before and shortly after he got to Dorothy because he was too far away to hear it distinctly. By the time the barking from the Akita, -- the dog closest to Schwab -- had actually ceased for a little while Heidstra was still in earshot of the little black dog.
This view is supported by a statement Heidstra made that may not have been as accurate as he wanted it to be and he tried to correct when Cochran pinned him down on the time he reached his apartment. That is to say, the barking must have paused for a long time before Heidstra got to the front of his apartment where it resumed for a while then went away.
MR. HEIDSTRA: Okay. Sorry. I stood in front of my building listening to the two dogs still barking and I was puzzled. I say what's going on?
MR. COCHRAN: What time was it that you got back to your building?
MR. HEIDSTRA: Well, let me explain it a little bit. So all of a sudden the two dogs started slower and slower barking and I said, ah, it is all over now. I don't know what is happening there. So I went inside and turned my TV to the local news, every night I do at eleven o'clock, and it was just announcing the news, so I was about eleven o'clock back home.
Heidstra appears to have made a common memory error of confusing time and place and didn't realize it until the wrong words were out of his mouth. He could not have gotten back to the building with his slow-moving dogs before 10:57. He undoubtedly heard the almost continuous barking on his way to his apartment, but the "slower and slower barking" could only have meant longer and longer intervals between, which could only have happened before he got home and stood in front of his apartment. The longest intervals were when Schwab was walking with his dog and the Akita north on Bundy to his home on Montana.
See "PAWPRINTS AND THE GATE" and "THE DOG'S TRIAL RUN" threads on the January 2007 Iago Discussion Board .