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Wrecknball
Username: Wrecknball

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 - 10:51 pm:   

I'll start off by sayng that the evidence in the case tends to indicate the killer had more of an association with the crime scene as opposed to the victims. The only evidence indicating a relationship with the victims is the post-mortem activity with the female victim, which in the modern science of criminal profiling, is also suggestive of sexual assault as motive. There is really nothing to rule out the murders as being the product of a sexual assault gone bad.

What is known is that the killer came to the crime scene armed with a .22 caliber rifle, boxes of Winchester Super-X rifle ammo, and pre-cut cord...with the intent of engaging in a crime, but not necessarily murder. After committing the crime the killer drags the victims, as they fell, to the lean-to shack where the post-mortem cutting of he female victim's bathing suit takes place. He then attempts to burn the shack.

On the archived board Det. Bill confirmed two things of note:
A) The shack wasn't visible from the stream bed.
B) The only place in the general area that stocked the ammo was VAFB.

This makes it easier for me to believe the killer as being local to the area.

What I don't know is the criteria for being allowed to shop at VAFB. Must one be stationed there?

The killer evidently felt that he had left some evidence at the crime scene, otherwise why burn the shack unless you're attempting to call attention to the crime scene? Had the killer been successful in setting the shack on fire the crime scene likely would have been found sooner than it was. Being that this was prior to the days of DNA, the only thing in the shack to conceal would have been a connection to the pre-cut cord, or lastly, the ammo.

To this day, the ammo is the best evidence in the case because of where it was likely purchased...VAFB. Was the killer stationed there and off base that day? If so, was a record kept of the comings and goings of personnel?

If the killer was indeed a classmate of the victims, then possibly a parent of close friend of the killer purchased the ammo for him. Another reason for him to dispose of it. Was the brand of ammo made public back then? If not, that could have inavertently hindered the case because someone may have recognized purchasing it for the killer.

Sorry to have been all over the place in my statements and questions, but like everyone else I want to see this case solved, and am just trying to narrow the scope of an investigation that already has little to go on.

I'd elaborate more on more specific investigative routes to take on this case, but for now, I'll just wait until after I get some feedback from you guys.
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Greygost
Username: Greygost

Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 - 12:09 am:   

Hello Wr

Just two observations:

I was in the Air Force from 69 thru 73 and on your days off you were not tracked. You could come and go as you pleased if you were a non-com (Sgt. or above) and only needed a 125 mile pass authorization below that (which the First Sergeant gave to you when checking into the outfit). Even then getting thru the main gate mostly consisted of showing a military ID.

The west is a pretty big place, and I never had trouble buying .22 ammo for plinking anywhere (stationed at Cannon AFB, NM before going to RVN in 70). At the time most department stores sold ammo and guns, particularly .22's, so I'm not sure the Vandenburg angle is that crucial here. In any event the BX records have probably been destroyed long ago.

I think you're right about the crime scene association and poor Robert and Linda had the bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Cheers,

Bernie
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Wrecknball
Username: Wrecknball

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 - 11:27 am:   

Greyghost,

So getting on base and more importantly making a purchase on base would have required the showing of military ID? Correct?
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Greygost
Username: Greygost

Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 - 3:40 pm:   

Wr

Basically yes. The purchase at the BX (Base Exchange in the AF and the more familiar PX, Post Exchange in the Army) would have required a Military ID, particularly in civilian clothes. Entrance to the base would be more difficult to flatly categorize. Military members and dependents most often had personal vehicles, which were Id'd by a sticker which most MP's and SP's would simply wave thru the gate. Female companionship was prized at the various clubs and a carful of people was usually waved thru if the sticker was there. Simple fact is that it wasn't too hard to get on any military post back then. Don't know how it is now.
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 - 5:19 pm:   

It's tough now, unless you're a pizza delivery person. Seriously, I work at a military base, and following 9-11 security tightened considerably. Several years ago a guidance was sent out detailing the new rules for base entrance. Pizza and other food deliveries were given an exemption.
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Johno
Username: Johno

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 - 5:52 pm:   

Doug, I guess Homeland Security has forgotten about the Erie, Pennsylvania "Pizza Bomber" of 2003.
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Vallejo_dave
Username: Vallejo_dave

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 - 6:00 pm:   

Grey--It was easy to get on or off any military post back then. At the Presidio, I never saw them stop a vehicle entering the base. You also had people walking onto the base from the Marina District, with no check whatsoever.

Camp Roberts was near Vandenburg, and there was a PX there. I agree, you could buy a .22 and ammo almost anywhere back then. The perp could have bought a .22 at Sears in Lompoc, for that matter.---Btw, can you give us a synopsis of your Nam experience?--I'm interested in where you embarked from the US, and where you returned.
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Greygost
Username: Greygost

Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 - 9:30 pm:   

Sure Dave. I'll send you a private e-mail. Don't want to clutter up the board.
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Oklahoma_mike
Username: Oklahoma_mike

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 - 9:37 pm:   

Since I first learned of this crime I have suspected a military man stationed in the area who dated or tried to date local girls. The developing serial killer would have his fantasies of control and possibly killing developing for several years, and likely feeling very awkward around the opposite sex tried to pick up younger women (meaning the killer would have been maybe mid-20's) like local high school girls. He felt rejected by miss Edwards and something finally pushed him into acting out the fantasies. I believe he knew at least her and this crime was personal. That is why he never mentioned it or took credit for it later when he developed into Zodiac. The fact it was an AF base does not mean he had to be AF, as you point out, an Army post was nearby and the Navy tested missles out of V'Berg, so Navy personnel were also there. Some people have expressed the idea Z was a troubled Vietnam Vet, but I don't buy that. The crimes do NOT show commando skills other than stealth (he was an above average but not great shot and had no idea how to kill with a knife, though he imagined he did). My bet is a technical enlisted man, in communications or electronics (think codes and circuit diagrams).
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Wrecknball
Username: Wrecknball

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 - 3:55 am:   

Dave- As far as the ammo goes, it was determined by LE back in '63 that the only location where it was sold in the general area was VAFB.

Greyghost--Thank you for the info you have provided. While it may not have been difficult for the suspect to get on base, if he were a civilian, why not just buy the ammo elsewhere? Why VAFB?
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Greygost
Username: Greygost

Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 - 8:44 am:   

Sorry Wr, but I'm not convinced because the supply of such ammo was available only in the general area at VAFB means it is absolutely certain he bought it there. I've always respected Det. Baker's opinion on the case (that's who I think you're referring to as Det. Bill, right?) but unless the killer left empty ammo boxes with lot numbers on them behind, I fail to see how a positive undeniable connection can be made.

Let's consider two scenarios on the ammo.

A lot of people have made their case for Arthur Allen as the Zodiac, and by extension as the Cherie Jo Bates killer (I'm not one of them). If this were true it means ALA had to drive from Vallejo or Valley Springs where he was teaching to Riverside to commit his murder, showing considerable mobility and a willingness to travel. My CA geography is hazy as I haven't been out there in a couple of years, but the distance has to be what, about 300-400 road miles? If this documented suspect traveled this far, I think you have to consider the possibility the Santa Barbara killer may have done so. Mobility of murderers is nothing new. And I bet you could have found plenty of civilian suppliers of the Super-X ammo in 1963 in a three hundred mile radius of Santa Barbara.

Alternatively, let's stipulate the killer was a GI stationed at Vandenburg for discussion purposes only. What's to say he wasn't recently transferred there from another military facility. At the time I was in in 69 the Army and Air Force stocked their exchanges and commissaries from a joint entity known as AAFES, or the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. I don't know how they do it now, perhaps Doug can let us know. As such, if Vandenburg had the ammo, you can be sure other posts in the system had it and he could have easily brought it with him. And that doesn't even take into consideration Naval and Marine Corps bases and stations, which had their own supply system. There's plenty of military posts within driving distance of Santa Barbara.

Wr, you may be right about the VAFB ammo connection. It just seems to me to be a lot to hang your hat on because a particular type of bullets were available convenient to a local jurisdiction. And it's no wonder local authorities thought that way. Our friendly neighborhood American serial killers and their habits hadn't yet made their impression on the national consciousness back in 1963.

Cheers,

Bernie
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 - 9:39 am:   

Bernie, AAFES is still in existence. In fact, it was my first employer, back in 1971, though for the life of me I can't recall ever seeing any firearms or ammunition stocked in the store where I worked at Dover AFB. If so, it wouldn't have been stocked at the main BX, but at a place called (at the time) the "Four Seasons Store." But that was the place where I worked, and I don't recall seeing any firearms or ammunition, and in fact, I can almost say conclusively that there were none.
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Greygost
Username: Greygost

Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 - 10:35 am:   

Thanks, Doug. I myself can't recall guns or ammo being sold at BX's or PX's myself, but I'm only relying on the VAFB connection because of prior reports and discussions on this site and because Wrecknball brought it up. I usually bought the stuff at the local department store, gas station, gun store, hardware store, etc. After all we're talking about the west. Besides, there could be other considerations concerning Dover. Although Federal reservations are mostly single Federal juridiction as opposed to concurrent jurisdiction with State authorities (Fort George Meade, MD comes to mind) perhaps Delaware had more restrictive firearms laws on the books than other States and the military chose not to allow those sales. In any event, a lot of bases did have Rod and Reel and Hunting Clubs. I'm wondering if a Hunting Club at Vandenburg may have been the source of this alleged stock. Maybe some of the other vets contemporary with this period have some thoughts. Vallejo Dave?
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Vallejo_dave
Username: Vallejo_dave

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 - 11:01 am:   

I am not aware of any Hunting or Fishing clubs at any of the bases I was at. This was all army. I do agree that there had to have been many places within a 400 mile radius of the crime to purchase the ammo. It could have been purchased at VAFB as well.---I visited many a rifle range, but the only pistols I saw being fired were .45's.
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Sandy
Username: Sandy

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 - 1:35 pm:   

I bought a gun in the late 70's , the person who sold it to me, threw in a 22 rifle and a almost full box of Winchester super X long rifle 22 cal. copper coated bullets. Someone had broken the trigger mec,so I never got to fire it. As I remember reading both guns had 6 lands 6 groves with a right hand twist. I forgot to ask Bill Baker if that was true or not. I do remember he did say that it was only believed that the bullets could have come from VAFB, because they did have them there, and it was fairly close. They had no proof that it was so. Oddly enough they were looking for someone named Sandy ( a guy with light hair). Correct me if I am wrong Bill.
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Greygost
Username: Greygost

Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 - 4:01 pm:   

I was rereading one of my above posts and think I ought to make a clarification. When I referred to lot numbers on empty ammo boxes, I should have added "exclusive to VFAB".

Sorry.
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Wrecknball
Username: Wrecknball

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 - 4:45 pm:   

Greyghost,

The reason I "hang my hat" on VAFB is due large in part to the killer's specific knowledge of the crime scene. Detective Bill was able to confirm in chat awhile back that the area where the victims had their blanket spread was visible from the mouth of the trail leading down, however the shack was not...nor was it visible from the area where the victims were killed.

The average passerby isn't going to have this knowledge so the most reasonable assumption to make is that the killer is local. If one believes the killer to be local, then the next most reasonable assumption to make is that the killer purchased his ammo locally(ie VAFB).

I think this line of thinking is most helpful to those sleuths who believe the killer to have been a classmate of the victims. Now you're looking for a guy who went to Lompoc High, who had access to VAFB or someone close to him who purchased the ammo. If you are one of those people who pursues the classmate/military angle, then the yearbook you probably want to get is one from D&E's freshman year. The suspect likely would have been older, yet would have went to school with victims if this were some sort of "revenge" killing.
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Vallejo_dave
Username: Vallejo_dave

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 - 5:17 pm:   

Let's not forget about the Gaviota State Park and Beach angle. If the perp was a transient, working at the park, he may have used that shack by the murder scene as a refuge.
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Wrecknball
Username: Wrecknball

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 - 6:44 pm:   

Very true, Dave.

I'm not so sure the killer wasn't already in the shack or at the scene, prior to the victims arriving.

The thing that gets me is...why leave a couple of boxes of ammo behind, presumably to burn in the structure fire?

The only reason I can figure is that the killer suspected that someone could connect him to the ammo, and if they could connect him to the ammo, then he could be connected to the murder weapon.
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Sandy
Username: Sandy

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 - 8:09 pm:   

I just don't think that someone that young would think like that. It would have been smarter if he took the ammo and ditched it some place else. Unless he wanted the fire to ignite the ammo and kill whom ever came to put out the fire, like firemen. Has anyone else noticed that there was construction going on near by a lot of the Z sites ? Santa Barbara was building a new University at that time, Riverside collage had new construction in 66 and was celebrating there 50th anniversary. Vallejo had started building new homes not far from Blue Rock Springs 68-69. New construction at Lake Tahoe when Donna Lass disappeared. Could the clue on the Sought victim 12 post card be: I work in construction ? Just some food for thought.

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