The Bodziak Diagram

During the criminal trial the prosecution presented an exhibit to show the footprints of the man in the Bruno Magli shoes; this portrayal is sometimes called the "Bodziak Diagram," after FBI special agent William Bodziak who analyzed the shoe print evidence and testified on June 19th.  Two versions of the exhibit are reprinted in Hank Goldberg's book, "The Prosecution Responds" at pps. 130 +6&7.  The upper of these two is a magnified view of the front (east) half of the diagram, the lower version is the whole diagram.  The entire diagram portrays an outline of the condo and the lot from the Bundy street in front to the alley in back, and contains very few details other than a comprehensive diagram of the footprints and the five drop blood trail.  It is of a very awkward shape, since the area of interest is only about 10 feet wide, but is 150 feet long.  Therefore, it is often shown as a series of snippets.  In these, the detail of the footprints is clear, but the sense of perspective is lost because the context for the snippet is not shown.

A typical portrayal is that in Figure 1 [FEET2.TIF] feet2s.jpg (5874 bytes)which shows a stretch of about 22 feet along the north walk in the vicinity of the front door.  (Notice the architectural symbol for an exterior door near the bottom of the figure in a diagonal wall.)  Since footsteps from about "Q" to "AF" are depicted (increasing to the left) it is implied that a considerable distance (16 footsteps) to the right is not shown.  This is what is known of the situation from John Junot's site, for example, and it is considered by some people to be the most authentic kind of information because it has the graininess that implies it was taken off television.

WORD DESCRIPTIONS: The situation is confounded somewhat by courtroom testimony and books which gave word descriptions that are misleading or confusing.   Many of the LAPD officers testified to the effect, "I just walked out the front door and looked down, and there was Nicole's body."  Even according to Figure 1, there is something wrong with this.  It shows that the Bruno Magli trail was at footstep "U" as it passed the door, and at the gait between "Q" and "AF" in that figure, there is 1-1/3 feet between footprints.   Therefore, the Bruno Magli trail begins 22 feet to the east of the front door.   This is not exactly what we imagine from "...looked down, and there she was..."  There is also a problem that if we take such statements literally, there is a "knee" in the north condo wall that blocks the view of the front gate from exactly at the front door, though by walking a few yards one is past it.  (I can not explain the reason for the officers to use such a form of expression.)

Then there are features that have been described, but not accurately located: where is the porch light, for example?  There were discussions about a "mid-gate" (different than the front gate and the back gate), where is that?  Some have mentioned a "dog run"; where is that?  In his book, Fuhrman talks about a "trough" in the back walk, what is he talking about with that?

MAGNIFIED VIEW: In Figure 2 [BODZ4.JPG]bodz4s.jpg (6912 bytes) I show the magnified version of the Bodziak chart.  It depicts the region from the sidewalk to a set of steps down into "Fuhrman's trough" (west of the front porch).  (The entire Bodziak diagram is shown at the end of this article but the shoe print detail in that is lost in the need to convey such an extensive area.)  Some details in Figure 2 are different than in the published version.  In general, I have added the notes shown in white and all of the notes east of the front gate.  I have also added the arrow and note, "Nicole's Path," and the glass door.  The details in the vicinity of the mailbox are also slightly different than in the original diagram, as described in detail below.

MAILBOX: In the original diagram, the object I call "mailbox" was called "intercom."  On the basis of Figure 3 [CONDO_1.JPG], condo_1s.jpg (8067 bytes)a picture from the L.A. Times shortly after the crime, I made some revisions.  In that picture, a small white box is seen on the gate post on the left side of the gate about four feet above the ground.  This I consider to the be intercom, and I have shown the intercom in that position in the diagrams.  A foot or two to the left of that is a larger white object on a post at about the same height.  I recognize this as a mailbox, and I have shown it as such in the diagram.  Just to the left of the mailbox and behind it there is a recess in the front wall, perhaps two feet wide, and a little more than a foot deep.  This I have shown on the diagram as the "Mailbox Recess."

THE GLASS DOOR: In Figure 4 [FRNTDOOR.JPG]frntdoors.jpg (3082 bytes) I show a picture taken by a visitor to LA from Chicago in November 1996, Edward Bill.   This is a feature in the north condo wall which he believed to be Nicole's front door.  (From his possible positions at the front fence, he could not see the actual front door.)  In the article, "Condo Layout," I explain the reasons for believing that this was probably a floor-to-ceiling window, although today it is a glass door.  In that article I also show photographic evidence that if it was a door in 1994, it was not used as a door on the night of the murders.  Nicole left the condo to meet her doom through the regular (wood) front door 20 feet to the west, up three steps, and around a corner from here.

FUHRMAN'S TROUGH: Edward Bill's photo number "b8" which I have annotated in blue is shown as Figure 5 [B8A.JPG]. b8as.jpg (5126 bytes) It was taken over Nicole's back gate, also in November 1996.  I believe it very clearly shows the depression in the back walk that is mentioned as "Fuhrman's trough."  From the position in this picture, we are outside the back gate, looking east, straight down an undeveloped planter bed between a fence on the left and a concrete wall to its right.  Against the left side of the concrete wall in the foreground is a little piece of a railing that disappears quickly because it is going down.  The steps that also go down are not seen.

The reason for this depression in the back walk always mystified me, but upon seeing this picture, I think I now understand it: it is the outside of the maid's quarters with windows (1), (3), and (4), and its own outside door (2).  We see on the far side that the steps going up consist of a flight of 6 steps and a flight of 9; figuring 8 inches per step, this would be 120" = 10 feet, just right for an entire story.  The Fuhrman trough is to allow outside exposure and separate access for the maid's quarters.   (However, there are only 6 steps coming up out of the depression toward the alley -- 4 feet.)

OTHER FEATURES: Notice in Figure 5 also the diagonal wall at (5) with a window in it.  This is a similar feature to the diagonal wall shown in the Bodziak diagram a few yards to the cast, which contains the front door.  Since diagonal walls are unusual, I am much comforted to find one in a photograph, when the one in the diagram is so central to understanding the front door.

Also, I see at (6) that at some point to the east, after the walk has resumed its normal elevation, it comes to a dead end in what appears to be a low wrought iron gate of vertical rails.  This appears to be about at the place where the narrower "back walk" joins the porch, and may be the "mid-gate" discussed by defense attorneys in their mistaken search for Heidstra's clang.  I think that Fuhrman also described a "dog run" bounded by a gate, and I take it to be this gate, and the dog run itself to be the up-and-down back walk from the mid-gate to the back gate.

I notice that there is a second story over the area I have called "porch", and I take this gate to be at about footprint "Z" in the Bodziak diagram.   (I have considered that the porch light is at "R", and by seeing here that there is a second story of the condo over the porch and some of the upper walk, I know that the porch light can not be much more than 8 feet above the ground -- important for calculating the extent of shadows near the gate.  Also, I see there is a post (7), near the mid-gate, holding up the second story just west of  the porch.

GRADE: Since the maid's room floor is only four feet below the walk at the back gate, it can not be much below the garage, which floor is also at the back walk grade.  But, from the complete Bodziak diagram I see that it is 12 feet from the west building line (on the alley) to the gate, and 9 feet further east to the top of the 6 steps down into the "trough" and the level of the maid's room.  Therefore, there is 21 feet from the westernmost part of the maid's room to the back condo wall, and this is enough length for a garage, so there is no need that the maid's room is under the garage.

In Figure 5A [UPR_WALK.JPG]upr_walks.jpg (3910 bytes) is seen the picture from Goldberg, p. 242+2 (top) of Nicole's upper walk; from that, the three steps at the "knee" in the north condo wall are seen to be full height (8").  From this, the porch is seven steps above the Bundy sidewalk, or about 4-1/2 feet.  (Plus any slope in the walks, that can not be estimated.)  The bottom of the trough is 10 feet lower, or 5-1/2 feet below the Bundy sidewalk.  And the back gate is four feet higher than the bottom of the trough, or 1-1/2 feet lower than the Bundy sidewalk.  However, from Bill's "bl1", the gate itself is two steps above the west condo wall.  (Also notice that since the glass door at the north east corner of the building is in the living room, and that is at the upper walk grade, the living room itself must be "sunken" three steps below the porch.)

The original Bodziak diagram has the notation, "Up" outside the back gate, and I have taken this to mean that there is a slight uphill ramp to the walk between the gate and the west condo wall.  This interpretation also seems supported by the picture in Lange & Vannatter, p. 178+4 (bottom) which shows the stairs up out of the trough looking toward and through the back gate.  From the perspective revealed by the (presumably level) steps, this photograph was taken from the same height as the top of the back stairs, and yet it shows an additional rise of about 2 steps beyond the stairs.   From this, I consider that the height at the top of the back stairs is about the same as the back condo wall.

Finally, when one stands in the alley behind the condo, he notices that the garage floor is conspicuously lower than the alley, the concrete "driveway" is sloped down from the alley.  Figure 6 [NIC_ANGL.JPG]nic_ang2s.jpg (3551 bytes) is a photograph of three trash barrels at the back of the condo.  The green one is on this slope, and by measuring the angle from vertical of this barrel we can deduce that the driveway slopes down at 14 degrees.  If the entire 16 foot width of the driveway were at this angle, the garage floor would be 3.87 feet below the alley.  But, this ramp is feathered at the top and bottom, and I estimate the garage floor is only 2 feet below the alley.

Putting all of the foregoing together, I have constructed the elevation plot at the top of Figure 7 [ELEV'N.JPG]. elevatns.jpg (7700 bytes) It is consistent with the observation of one who walks around the block from the front of the condo to the back that the public areas on both ends are at about the same elevation.

BACK STAIRS: We see that the living room/kitchen floor is 4 feet above the Bundy sidewalk, and the garage is about 2 feet lower than that benchmark.   Therefore, the kitchen is about 6 feet higher than the garage floor, and we see the reason for the steps (presumably 9 or so) leading from the kitchen down to the garage, on the banister of which was found the ice cream cup.

Because of limitations in fitting such a stairway without intruding on the ceiling of the maid's quarters, there are few places that this can be.  I have added in white a stairway in one of the few possible locations.  This leaves a small area between the garage and the base of the stairway at the same level as the garage.  I have taken this to be a laundry room and have so labeled it.

CONCLUSION: Figure 7 gives a more comprehensive understanding of the condo layout than is usually seen, and the details shown there are consistent with photographs and first hand observations.  I consider that it is reliable.

Dick Wagner . Van Nuys, CA (8/8/99) NG_545

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