Allen's Status, Continued Yet Again Message Board: Arthur Leigh Allen: Allen's Status, Continued Yet Again

By Tom Voigt (Tomvoigt) ( - on Monday, December 04, 2000 - 07:09 pm:

The other page was taking WAY too long to load.

By Gregorypraxas (Gregorypraxas) ( - on Monday, December 04, 2000 - 09:23 pm:

Forgive me for asking, but isn't this entire discussion just a little odd? Here we are, debating whether or not Allen can be placed in Riverside at the time of the Bates murder, or when the letters were mailed. The RPD has a suspect they are convinced killed Bates, and, Tom and others seem to believe they are on the right track. Apparently, "experts" determined that Allen did not write the Zodiac letters, and, only one expert said the Zodiac wrote the Riverside writings. That same expert also concluded that Allen did not write the Zodiac letters. (I'm sure Jake or Tom will correct me if I have misspoken here.)

I would have to agree with the thoughts expressed by Doug and others when it comes to Allen and possible scratches on his face and missed work. If the RPD is right, neither Allen or the Zodiac killed Bates. If neither Allen nor the Zodiac killed Bates, then, I guess, this "placing" of Allen in Riverside is part of some attempt to link him to the letters. Yet, "experts" determined that Allen did not write the Zodiac letters, and although Morrill believed that the Zodiac did write the Riverside letters, he did not believe Allen wrote the Zodiac letters. Other experts were apparently unable to confirm Morrill's opinion regarding the Zodiac's connection to the Riverside writings, leaving even more room to doubt that the Zodiac wrote the Riverside writings.

So, what does Allen have to do with any of this? And, even if he could be placed in Riverside at the time of the killing, the RPD does has a suspect, and what appears to be good evidence to indicate their suspect killed Bates. So, if Allen didn't kill Bates, his presence in Riverside at the time of the killing seems largely irrelevant.

It has been said (by some) that the experts who examined Allen's writings did not have good samples, etc., to work with, and that their conclusions may not be sound for that reason. Personally, I find it difficult to believe that the - um, what is it now? four, then eight, then ten - law enforcement agencies actually considered Allen the best suspect, and investigated him for two decades, yet, were somehow unable to get adequate samples of his writing, or that, in all those years, the experts consistently reached the wrong conclusion.

It seems clear to me: Law enforcement considered the handwriting to be the best evidence to exclude suspects. The experts concluded that Allen did not write the Zodiac letters, and, therefore, if the Zodiac had anything to do with the Riverside writings at all, it is doubtful that Allen was the Zodiac, or the writer of the Riverside letters. If neither Allen nor the Zodiac killed Bates, and Allen did not write the Zodiac letters, and he did not write the Riverside writings, why is the possibility that he may have been in Riverside *at the time Bates was killed* relevant?

I'm not trying to start a fight or anything. I just don't see the logic here. Are we debating whether he could have killed Bates? Whether he wrote the Riverside writings? What? If so, it seems to me that, for the most part, those questions have answers already. Some people just don't seem to like those answers.

I don't see how any further handwriting analysis could be of any use in determining Allen's viability as a Zodiac suspect. Experts working in a professional capacity for law enforcement had years to go over his writing, and they reached the conclusion that Allen did not author the Zodiac letters. Are we to believe that one expert-for-hire would reach a different conclusion today? In my opinion, the conclusions of those experts who previously examined Allen's writing seem sound. I would have serious reservations about accepting a differing opinion from an expert who had been paid several thousand dollars. Just my thoughts...

By Tom Voigt (Tomvoigt) ( - on Monday, December 04, 2000 - 09:32 pm:

According to friends and family members, Allen could write with either hand. He was ambidextrous. Yet, when approached by police for handwriting samples, Allen always pretended he could only write with one hand. That's rather suspicious behavior, IMHO.
If Allen was Zodiac, he was probably writing the letters with the hand he claimed he couldn't use. My goal is to keep collecting handwriting samples from Allen that pre-date the Zodiac letters. The few samples I have feature some amazing likenesses to Zodiac's handwriting.

By Ed N. (Edn) ( - on Monday, December 04, 2000 - 11:51 pm:

Gregorypraxas: if my understanding of this whole thing is correct, "Barnett" is the likely suspect to have killed Bates, but did not compose the Riverside writings. Z wrote them, taking credit for a murder he did not commit. Now, if Allen was Z, then his presence in Riverside or Pomona on 10-30-1966 is important, because that places him at/near the scene in order to have heard about the murder. He then had a month in which to decide to take credit for it by typing the "confession" letter, and if he kept track of the investigation via a friend in Riverside or perhaps a subscription to The Press and/or The Daily Enterprise, then he'd know it was not solved at the time he was ready to mail it. He could have easily taken a short (perhaps 5 to 6 hour) drive to Riverside on Monday evening, 11-28-1966, to mail it, which would ensure that it went out in Tuesday's mail. Another drive to Riverside at the end of April to mail the "Bates must die" letters would have been relatively easy too.

Now, if Allen were Z and he used his left hand to compose the Z letters as Tom opined, but gave samples to police that were composed only with his right hand, this also explains how his writing doesn't match Z's. Now, all this is only hypothetical, but it does explain why it is important that Allen be in Riverside on that critical day that CJB was murdered if he was in fact Z.

By Gregorypraxas (Gregorypraxas) ( - on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 12:28 am:

I appreciate the fact that using both hands might throw off analysis, yet there seems to be no evidence to reach such a conclusion in this case. It is clear that Allen was asked to provide samples using both hands, and that those samples were used in comparisons. I would think that law enforcement agencies had access to a lot of Allen's writing to use in comparisons, including writing which predated the Zodiac letters as well as samples of Allen's handwriting from either hand. If so, it would seem clear that the handwriting experts reached informed conclusions.

I would still be weary of any differing conclusion given by an expert-for-hire who was paid several thousands dollars to compare Allen's writing with Zodiac's. You can get any result you want from many experts-for-hire, and since 4, or 8, or 10 law enforcement agencies investigated Allen for two decades, and the experts who worked for those agencies determined that Allen did not write the Zodiac letters, I would have much more confidence in their findings. Hopefully, they were objective, and would have been reluctant to exclude Allen if they had doubts. The fact that 30 years of investigation has failed to turn up a single expert who believed that Allen wrote the Zodiac letters can hardly be dismissed, let alone with the ambidextrous explanation. If he WAS such a good suspect for all those years, I find it difficult to believe that the comparisons did not take that into account, especially when one considers that SFPD investigators were aware of his ability to write with both hands from the outset.

Det. Mulanax wrote that the Vallejo PD had obtained samples of Allen's handwriting in 1971, prior to confronting Allen. Allen wrote samples for the SFPD, using both hands. It stretches credibility to suggest that the law enforcement agencies did not thoroughly examine Allen's writing of both hands, using samples written before, or during, or after the Zodiac murders. I think investigators were more than capable of obtaining numerous samples of Allen's handwriting.

As much as this issue may seem relevant, it seems to be little more than an attempt to get blood from a stone. The evidence indicates that Allen did not write the Zodiac letters. Presenting samples to an expert-for-hire at this point seems a bit like asking the same question over a dozen times, simply because you don't like the answer. Even if this expert were to conclude that Allen had written the Zodiac letters, not only would the conclusion be suspect -- due to the origins of the comparison -- but it would still pale in comparison with the conclusions of the experts who conducted the previous comparisons. Several experts who worked in law enforcement, and presumably had access to the actual Zodiac letters and Allen's writing, reached similar conclusions, each confirming the conclusions of the others. Personally, I would not be impressed by a differing conclusion reached only after someone who has made a concerted effort to convince others that Allen was most likely the Zodiac paid that expert-for-hire several thousand dollars. I me a skeptic...

Yet again, the issues I raised, and the questions I asked, were not addressed: What is the purpose of this debate? To connect Allen to the Riverside writings? To the Bates killing? These are theories wrought with inescapable conflicts which cannot be easily dismissed. That Allen was ambidextrous is not an answer to any of my questions, let alone an explanation which would cast doubt on the conclusions of the experts who determined that Allen did not write the Zodiac letters.

By Gregorypraxas (Gregorypraxas) ( - on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 01:02 am:


I appreciate your points, as well as the fact that you actually addressed the issues I raised :)

Allen would not need to be IN Riverside ON the DAY of the murder in order to know of the crime. If he were keeping track of the investigation via a friend, or newspapers, he wouldn't even need to be anywhere near the crime scene at the time. Yet, only one handwriting expert linked Zodiac to the Riverside writings, and that expert also concluded that Allen did not write the Zodiac letters.

Now, is it possible that Allen wrote the Zodiac letters and the Riverside writings? I suppose. Yet, what I find strange is asking this question over and over again in hopes of getting a different answer. Experts have examined Allen's writing, and reached their conclusions. Is it possible that ALL of these experts are wrong? It would seem unlikely.

What seems far more plausible to me is the idea that Allen did not write the Zodiac letters, or the Riverside writings, and that he had nothing to do with any of the crimes connected to those writings. The available evidence tends to support that conclusion. In order to connect Allen to the Zodiac or Riverside writings requires a twist in logic, and all the known facts, as well as the dismissal of the conclusions reached by ALL the experts to date. Forgive me, but I have trouble accepting that scenario. If and when Allen's typewriter is compared to the Confession, we may have answers to these questions.

But, what if the typewriter comparison yet again excludes Allen? Just what will it take to put the issue to rest? Just what will Allen's accusers accept as evidence to exclude him, let alone stop touting him as the "best" suspect? Somehow, I don't think they would accept anything short of the identification of the Zodiac. Until then, I have a feeling that people will keep shoving Allen in our faces as "the man who was most likely the Zodiac," regardless of how much evidence surfaces to indicate otherwise. I think they just can't let go, and, when faced with negative results from the typewriter comparison, or future DNA examinations, they will undoubtedly find some explanation to wish all that away, too.

By Mike (Mike) ( - on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 05:58 am:


I don't believe that the typewriter necessarily means anything. Don't forget, it was found in 1991, in the "post-RG" era. For a guy who apparently loved to play mind games (and definitely, if he were not Z, went to some lengths to make himself LOOK as though he were) like Allen did, who's to say that he didn't purchase it at a flea market as soon as the book identified the model (in 1986) used to write the Confession?

I also have to wonder just how many different types of fonts were available on those typewriters in the 1960's (after all, the typewriter had to be manufactured with the typeface, since they were not interchangeable, as far as I know). If there were only two--Elite and Pica, then it is a 50/50 proposition that Allen could have even bought the correct model by chance. In other words, if it is proven that Allen's typewriter had the exact same typeface as the one used for the Confession, how many other models of the same typewriter does it EXCLUDE?


By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 11:00 am:

I would assume given the forensics and technology
of today,police would have a very good chance of identifying any match.

By Gregorypraxas (Gregorypraxas) ( - on Wednesday, December 06, 2000 - 04:41 pm:

So, tell me - was Allen in Pomona, or Riverside, at the time of the Bates murder? Which is it?

Here's my problem with the scenario:

Ed said that the Riverside suspect did not write the Riverside letters, but that Z was the author. This is a conclusion apparently reached only by Sherwood Morrill, and other experts were unable to confirm that conclusion. So, again, the ONLY link between Riverside and the Zodiac is Morrill -- who, among others, said that Allen did not write the Zodiac letters.

It has been said that Allen was altering his handwriting, or attempting to use only one hand, when asked to give samples to police. This may be true, however, the theories regarding his motives for doing so are odd. Are we to believe that a man who told almost everyone he knew that he either planned to commit "Zodiac" crimes or wanted to hunt people, told Spinelli he was going to kill a cab driver immediately after being questioned by police as a Zodiac suspect, who kept the same typewriter he wrote the Riverside letter with, who kept the same knife he used at Berryessa, kept bombs and illegal weapons, and on and on and on, suddenly got worried about altering his handwriting for fear of arrest? This is a rather incredulous theory. If we are to believe what we have heard about Allen, he often acted with reckless disregard for the possible consequences of his acts, and made little attempt to conceal his guilt. Therefore, I find this entire notion that he suddenly became concerned about altering his handwriting to be ridiculous.

I also find it odd that this discussion about Allen's possible presence in Riverside at the time of the Bates murder has overlooked the obvious flaw in the theory that Allen was there and heard of the crime.

If Allen was in Riverside on October 29 and/or 30, he may have been there at the time that Bates was killed, in the late evening of the 30th. However, Bates' body was not discovered until 6:30 MONDAY morning. The first newspaper stories reporting the crime appeared on Monday afternoon. Therefore, in order for Allen to have been in Riverside AND hear of the crime, he would have to have stayed in Riverside until well into Monday morning or afternoon.

Of course, this presents several problems. If Allen was expected at work on Monday, why would he stay in Riverside well into Monday? In order to see if any murders which he might want to take credit for had occurred? That seems odd. Since there is no evidence that Allen missed work on that Monday, we can only assume that he was at work. Tom stated that he thought Allen maybe had an excused absence on Monday, but failed to secure Tuesday as a sick day. Well, if Allen was not at work on Monday, did he call in to work Monday morning to tell them he wouldn't be there? And, why? If Bates' body had not been discovered until 6:30am, and the newspapers did not report the crime until that afternoon, what would be Allen's reason for calling in and not going to work? Did he hear about the crime on the radio somehow? I'm sure it's possible, however, this simply raises the same question again - why would Allen stay in the area Sunday night and well into Monday if he did not know about the crime until sometime Monday morning or afternoon?

The only reason Allen's presence in Riverside during the weekend could be important was if Allen was somehow involved in the murder itself. If he was involved, and missed work because of scratches on his face, it would seem odd to suggest that he would go to work on Monday with such wounds, yet not report to work on Tuesday for that reason. If he did miss work on Monday and Tuesday for this reason, it is doubtful that his wounds would have healed in little more than 48 hours, as the wounds to the killer were severe enough to yield fragments of skin and hair, which were found at the scene.

Since there seems to be a good case that someone other than Allen actually killed Cheri Jo Bates, the issue may be moot. Since there is no real evidence (other than Morrill's conclusions) that the Zodiac wrote the Riverside letters, it is a tenuous connection at best. Even more tenuous when you consider that no one has ever concluded that Allen wrote the Zodiac letters, and that the ONE expert who connected Zodiac to the Riverside writings ALSO said that Allen did not write the Zodiac letters.

Don't get me wrong - I'm more than willing to entertain the theory that Allen was the Zodiac, or that Zodiac wrote the Riverside letters. Yet, it seems to me that the theories regarding Allen and Riverside have been built on a very, very shaky foundation, and are not consistent within themselves. That's my two cents...

By Tom Voigt (Tomvoigt) ( - on Wednesday, December 06, 2000 - 04:53 pm:

I'm sorry I ever found that friggin' absence slip.

By Gregorypraxas (Gregorypraxas) ( - on Wednesday, December 06, 2000 - 07:34 pm:

I don't know why you say that, Tom. The absentee slip isn't the issue, and really has nothing to do with the questions I have raised. I only mentioned the absence because it was part of the discussion.

What does Allen's possible presence in Riverside on that weekend have to do with anything? Since the body was not found and the crime was not reported until well into Monday, his possible presence in Riverside on Saturday or Sunday is only relevant if you believe he killed Bates.

By Tom Voigt (Tomvoigt) ( - on Wednesday, December 06, 2000 - 09:00 pm:

I get the feeling I'm in bootcamp, being grilled by my sarge. No answer I can possibly give will suffice...

By Gregorypraxas (Gregorypraxas) ( - on Wednesday, December 06, 2000 - 10:17 pm:


You may find this hard to believe, but I'm not trying to be argumentative. You said that he was in Riverside at the time, and that this is some sort of "connection." I'm just trying to understand what you believe that "connection" to be. Do you think he killed Bates? Do you think he only wrote the letters? I don't understand what "connection" you are trying to make. You're the one who is saying there is a "connection," and, therefore, you are the one who should explain it. If you can't explain what you're trying to suggest, perhaps you shouldn't have tried to suggest the "connection" in the first place. Just my thoughts - not trying to pick a fight. (no smiley face 'cause you don't like 'em)

By Mike (Mike) ( - on Thursday, December 07, 2000 - 04:31 am:

Dear Mr. Praxas-

While I do not necessarily enjoy seeing anyone grilled as relentlessly as our Tom is being taken to task right now, I do agree wholeheartedly with you in principle for taking a long, hard look at the evidence surrounding Allen. So much of it seems to be smoke and mirrors--like the unlikely story of the "hunters", as well as all those statements Allen made to Mulanax et. al. implicating himself, that one really has to work hard at separating fact from fiction and relevant from irrelevant.


By Hurley (Hurley) ( - on Monday, December 11, 2000 - 04:24 am:

I just received my copy of Tom's Zodiac video. The first clip is of an interview with Allen. Allen said he wasn't the d*mn Zodiac. I didn't find his statement convincing. I thought he looked like he was lying. In fact if I was that reporter I would have said "Man you are such a Zodiac!" Then you would have seen Allen lunge across the sofa and start choking me!

It just seemed phony to me and I could see it as another way to be in the spotlight. No need to write letters anymore when you can have the press come to you and ask if you are Zodiac. It's the same game just a different method.

So maybe he wasn't Zodiac but he does seem to enjoy being accused of it.

Also after only viewing it once, wasn't that a typewriter and projector there on the other side of the room!

By Hurley (Hurley) ( - on Monday, December 11, 2000 - 04:35 am:

It was stated in RG book that the police say Zodiac masturbated while writing the letters and ciphers. Now, gee I don't know how they know this but doesn't that mean we now have Zodiac DNA? I don't know how that stuff holds up after 30 years but couldn't it be tested to match Z suspects?

Also in the book it stated that it was human blood on one of Zodiac's letters. Can't that be tested as well to see if it matches anyone and how did they know it was human blood?

By Hurley (Hurley) ( - on Monday, December 11, 2000 - 04:39 am:

Oh, And another the interview on Tom's video, Allen states that he was never in the navy but did work painting on a ship.

I've been thinking for some time about that hood Z wore at LB. I've never seen Mikado but I've often thought that with the navy connection Z is supposed to have that it looks like it could have been patterned after hoods a naval fireman would use or even someone who painted ships or worked in an environment where special precautions had to be taken.

I wonder just what Allen wore when painting in a ship.

Or was it exactly like any costumes being worn in Mikado plays in that area at that time?

By Ed N. (Edn) ( - on Monday, December 11, 2000 - 11:58 am:

Hurley, Allen lied about being in the Navy. His death certificate states that he was, from 1956 to 1958.

By Jake Wark (Jake) ( - on Monday, December 11, 2000 - 02:24 pm:

Hurley wrote:
"Now, gee I don't know how they know this but doesn't that mean we now have Zodiac DNA? I don't know how that stuff holds up after 30 years but couldn't it be tested to match Z suspects?"

This is the great unanswered question of the Zodiac case (one of 'em, anyway). My feeling is that there must be some good DNA somewhere, but the cops aren't talking, and probably won't unless there is and they match someone from it. Until then, I think we're all in the dark.

"....Allen states that he was never in the navy but did work painting on a ship."

I just got the vid today, haven't watched it, but it's funny: the paint on the Riverside watch was described to me as being "of the type used to paint ships." I got this info in '98 or so -- I wonder if ALA could have heard about it somehow and slipped that (phony) detail in to make himself look guilty of Bates' murder?

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Monday, December 11, 2000 - 04:38 pm:

Jake, the Riverside newspapers stated that the paint was house paint, I believe of the exterior variety.

By Jake Wark (Jake) ( - on Monday, December 11, 2000 - 06:21 pm:

Jeez, how mundane. Sounds like someone had a summer job.


By Clark Kent (Clark) ( - on Tuesday, March 06, 2001 - 10:56 pm:

To resurrect a dormant discussion... In addition to DNA testing on the knife found at Allen's in 1991, I would also like to see the actual handwriting retrieved from the 1992 search, particularly the word "ploglams" (or "programs") as it appeared on his computer disk catalog. I would also like to know the results of any testing that was done on the blood-stained clothing found in Allen's trailer in 1972. This would go a long way in settling Allen's status as a suspect!