Editor's Note: This is the second installment in a two-part series exploring the brutal murder of Robert Salem in San Francisco in 1970. Click here to read part one.
SFPD homicide inspectors weren't quite sure if the April 1970 murder of lamp designer Robert Salem was the work of the Zodiac Killer or a twisted copycat. However, the arrest of two hippie Satanic cultists in a hit-and run gave police a suspect in the Salem murder — and another more heinous crime.
The hippies plowed the yellow Opel sports car they'd stolen into a truck off of Highway 1 just outside Big Sur on Monday, July 13, 1970. The Detroit tourist who was driving the truck wanted to get the hippies' insurance info. The hippies fled into the woods on foot. They didn't get far before Highway Patrolman Randy Newton caught up with them.
The hippies were Stanley Dean Baker, 22, and Harry Allen Stroup, 20, both from Wyoming. After being arrested, Baker was found with a recipe for LSD, a copy of Anton LaVey's Satanic Bible
, and a human finger bone that had been gnawed on.
"I have a problem," Baker confessed to Newton. "I'm a cannibal."