Latest on Riverside DNA Message Board: Possible Zodiac Victim Cheri Jo Bates: Latest on Riverside DNA

By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 05:08 pm:

In case I've missed something, I need a clarification. According to information on the CJB portion of this site, the results of the DNA comparison to the RSD's suspect Bob Barnett were "a definitive non-match". With no other qualification, I am assuming this is offered as fact. However, in the News Center section, Tom complains recently that the police have yet to publicly state this. So of course my question is, Did someone on the inside leak this information to you, Tom? I know you have sources, so maybe I am just not aware of the current Riverside situation.
This is surely an aspect of the case which the RSD would furiously protect if they felt they were making progress with the DNA evidence. Also, I just learned from other posts that this person is not in the US. Is this still the case? Does anyone know where this person is? (Just in case someone knows who could share his location but not his real name?)
Could the police be baiting him to return to the US with a disinformation campaign regarding the DNA results? Resolving the Riverside crime would obviously be a huge step forward.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 06:36 pm:

It was an out and out match,so no smokie-smokie and they weren't happy about the outcome either.The "local boy" does not fit period-and this includes his DNA also.
It reminds me of the Gainsville case.The PD had a guy they just 'knew' was the perp and all the evidence was there,but DNA showed otherwise.One detective said- even with that evidence- they did not want to let him go! Later Danny Rolling was convicted.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) ( - on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 07:01 am:

These days DNA evidence is releasing men from prison, and Illinois has a moritorium on the death penalty, because DNA is vindicating prisoners, some on death row.

Howard, have RPD checked CJB DNA evidence against any of the other Zodiac suspects?

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 11:22 am:

Ray, yes the information was leaked to me.

By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 03:51 pm:

In my view, DNA has a decent chance of solving this case. I'm pretty sure everyone agrees that if DNA evidence convicts Allen, it will have unilaterally solved the case, since no new suspects have been generated. In light of all the evidence, it is surely uncertain whether Zodiac killed CJB. If Riverside DNA were to match Allen, not only would it confirm he was the Zodiac, it would mean the Zodiac killed CJB. But again, if Allen is a definitive non-match it will mean absolutely nothing as to whether CJB was killed by Zodiac or whether Zodiac was ALA. Certainly, this comparison MUST BE MADE in the course of a prudent and thorough investigation, so WHY HASN'T IT BEEN MADE? The term "non-cooperation" comes to mind. The cynical side of me whispers that the VPD doesn't truly want to definitively solve this case! A possible rationale for this could be: If they are 100% sure that Allen was the Zodiac due to some fact which they are not disclosing, solving the case now would not protect lives nor would it necessarily bring credit upon the department, especially if it were discovered as a result that there were some glaring mistakes which were made in the past (e.g. search warrants not served in a timely manner, failure to arrest Allen on BATF explosive device charges, PHOTOGRAPHS NOT SHOWN TO SURVIVING VICTIMS, EVIDENCE IN AN OPEN HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION DELIBERATELY DESTROYED) which could have solved the case in the 70's, or if there was DNA evidence sitting around all this time which could have convicted Allen when he was still alive had he only been compelled to provide timely samples. This kind of embarassment would no doubt overshadow the closure of the case. Thus, if it is known internally that irrefutable proof exists that Allen was Zodiac and that the case could have been made long ago, would it not possibly be better just to take solace in knowing that he can't kill anymore and allow the case to remain officially unsolved rather than face the music which would undoubtedly play if a monnumental bungle or, worse, inaction or intentional sabotage on their part was thereby illuminated? After all, not solving the case now doesn't especially damage the department, when all they have to do is claim there are no leads left for investigators to follow. Maybe that's why Joanne West cringes at the mention of Tom's name or website. (I don't know that she actually cringes, I just get that sense when I read Jim Edwards' articles.)
I truly hope that the latter is not the case, because if it is, we shall never know who was responsible. Willful investigative negligence on such a scale would never be publicly acknowleged except possibly by a whistleblower, which would be all we could ever hope for. I am loathe to think ill of any law enforcement agency, but there seems to be evidence here calling for just that. Of course, I would love for Vallejo to prove me to be an unstable paranoid conspiracy buff! ;-) Comments?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 04:28 pm:

Well, deliberately withholding evidence that would officially close this case would be, so far as I can discern, a criminal undertaking that would subject its authors to felony prosecution.

By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 07:29 pm:

Well, according to Tom (and maybe others even closer to the case) have reported Captain Conway ordering the destruction of evidence. That sure sounds close to criminal to me.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 07:36 pm:

The people who gave me that info were retired Vallejo cops who were on bad terms with Conway,
so who knows if it is legit.

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 06:03 am:

Ray, let me get this straight: If Arthur Allen is a definitive non-match with the DNA evidence, as he is with the fingerprint and handwriting evidence, you would still consider him a viable suspect?


By Bucko (Bucko) ( - on Monday, October 08, 2001 - 07:24 am:

Ray wrote: "Certainly, this comparison MUST BE MADE in the course of a prudent and thorough investigation, so WHY HASN'T IT BEEN MADE?"

This is a very good question. RSD still hasn't "officially" announced the DNA results concerning Barnett. Why should we expect them to announce results of a comparison check with Allen? Here we have the most infamous suspect (Allen), in one of the most infamous serial murder cases of the century, in which DNA profiles have been run so comparisons could be made quickly, and we are led to believe this comparison hasn't been done. What would surprise me is if the comparison hasn't been done.

It has been suggested that Tom "burned his bridges" when he announced the results of the Barnett DNA ahead of an official announcement. If true, (hope it isn't) we might only learn of the results months or years after the comparison.

By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 12:25 pm:

My position is: If Allen doesn't match Riverside DNA, then he didn't kill Bates. I would then operate on the theory that CJB was not a Zodiac crime. I would not say one could eliminate Allen being Zodiac from this alone, there is just too much stuff leading to him.
Of course, if he does match, he is Z for sure.
I know this is not strict Boolean logic, it's just how I look at the case as an amatuer investigator.

By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 12:32 pm:

Allen is not a non-match to handwriting. Not being a conclusive match does not make one a non-match particularly when all the experts didn't even agree on which were the authentic Z writings. Maybe Tom can find a new source of funding for the comparison he wants to do.
As to Allen being a non-match to fingerprint evidence, I will say this; there is no fingerprint "evidence" because as far as I know there are no known Z fingerprints. But, we do have the very real possibility of fake clews, don't we?

By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 12:50 pm:

Your observations are well received, and they got me thinking. Maybe we can do some deductive reasoning based on what you say. If we don't expect an announcement to be made, this can only be if the results are a non-match, right. I mean, if Barnett was a match, he would be indicted and Riverside could wash their hands of the whole Zodiac spectre. No way they would sit on that. By the same logic, we must assume that if an Allen comparison has been made, no announcement means another non-match. But I find it nearly impossible to conceive that an Allen comparison has been made and the results kept secret. What would it take not to leak something like that? It would take not releasing this information to anybody, including VPD and Sonoma county and SFPD. This would be irresponsible hindering of an investigation. Would you find that surprising?

By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 12:54 pm:

The destruction of evidence may well be BS, but it would certainly explain why there has been no typewriter analysis. This is what I want to see. Somebody prove to me that the typewriter is still in police custody. And if it is, why isn't the thing being compared to the confession letter. Oh, that's right, I forgot. That would require inter-departmental action. How silly of me. Still waiting for law enforcement to prove me wrong. I'm all stocked up on crow, guys.

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 02:38 pm:


Interested in your conclusion that if ALA did CJB, then he is certainly Z. How do you get that? If you had ALA dead bang on CJB, that would not even be admissible -- much less conclusive -- to prove LHR, BRS, LB or PH, unless you have something to connect CJB to the others, and something pretty strong at that. And please don't tell me that this is some legal standard or "technicality" that has nothing to do with common sense. It is an ingrained rule of law for the very reason that judges, juries and law enforcement have proven and accepted time and time again that a prior crime does not tend to prove a present one -- or at least its not worth the risk of prejudice -- without a pretty strong signature or at least pattern in MO. As I have said on related topics, I think guilt on CJB would tend to exonerate on the others. Now if he did the letters, the notes or the poem, you may have a connection with Z. I don't happen to think you do, but its stronger than the connection between Z and the CJB crime itself.

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 03:21 pm:

Ray wrote:
"Allen is not a non-match to handwriting."

Insp. William Armstrong, SFPD, wrote:
"[Allen's] handwriting exemplars were provided to [redacted, probably Sherwood Morrill], CII Documents Examiner .... [Redacted]compared exemplars with suspect letters and that said [sic] printing was not the same." (14 Sept 1972, emphasis mine)

Capt. Roy Conway, VPD, wrote:
"Experts indicated that the handwriting was similar but definitely not that of the Zodiac killer." (21 February 1991, emphasis mine)

Allen was, in fact, a non-match to the Zodiac's handwriting.


By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 05:52 pm:

No I don't think you're talking technicalities. In fact I don't think technicalities really exist. There is only the law, and when someone starts complaining of technicalities, it is invariably because the law is not on their side in that instance. When I said if Allen matches on Bates, then he is Z for sure, I meant that is how I would feel about it. I would want to get veracious in my investigation of Allen at that point, which I wish law enforcement would be doing right now, such as testing the typewriter and the knife, if they have them at all. Hopefully these would establish those all important links as you rightly point out are desperately needed if a court case is to be made. As of right now I could go either way on Z doing Bates, even though I feel pretty good about Allen being in Riverside. My only between Z and CJB was that he claimed her. Nothing can be proved here, but certainly an investigation could be re-focused.

By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 08:02 pm:

This wouldn't be an analysis of the samples which Allen provided to police knowing full well they would be so examined? Could experts have been fooled? Does Capt. Conway, a non-expert, quoting an expert, give additional credence to that opinion?

By Bucko (Bucko) ( - on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 08:34 pm:

Ray wrote: "But I find it nearly impossible to conceive that an Allen comparison has been made and the results kept secret. What would it take not to leak something like that?"

Oh, I dunno...the al-Qaida network seemed to do a pretty good job of keeping secrets. Of course, this is just how I look at the case as an amateur investigator. There are many interpretations, including yours.

By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 02:29 pm:

There sure are. That's what keeps me coming back to read these posts. Man, I love this site!

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 05:37 pm:

Ray wrote:
"Could experts have been fooled? Does Capt. Conway, a non-expert, quoting an expert, give additional credence to that opinion?"

May I ask who your expert is, and why you place more confidence in him/her than in the Chief Document Examiner of the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation for the State of California?


By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 06:30 pm:

I don't have an expert nor do I claim to be one myself. I certainly haven't done any analysis on case evidence. I only pose the questions could someone alter their writing intentionally to confuse a handwriting analyst? Do reports prepared by experts invariably reach the correct conclusions? Is there no room here to even wonder? Wouldn't fingerprints and handwriting enjoy the same identifying or excluding power as DNA if there wasn't? What do you think?

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 01:54 pm:

Ray wrote:
"Is there no room here to even wonder?"

Sure there is, but there didn't seem to be a question mark in your declaration that Allen was not a handwriting non-match. The Armstrong and Conway quotes were supplied for the purpose of informed wonderation.


By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 06:17 pm:

There is a great deal of information on the handwriting issue contained in old posts.
I knew the late Document Expert Henry Silver and no one could deceive him relative to disguising their real handwriting.
He told me several times (with several demonstrations)it is impossible to trick a good Expert and that an astute Expert can detect disguised writing,etc.
I would say that former State Examiner of Questioned Documents Sherwood Morrill was of the same caliber as Silver-definite.