The Confession(s) Message Board: Possible Zodiac Victim Cheri Jo Bates: The Confession(s)

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Thursday, February 14, 2002 - 07:03 am:

The Desktop Poem Part II was speeding off on a Confession letter tangent. The focus of the discussion is currently finding an explanation for the two distinct versions of The Confession, one a Press-Enetrprise photo and one associated with and FBI memo and photograph. I thought it prudent to start this thread anew during a brief pause (perhaps) while Howard is tracking down a source on the PE version. So in the meantime . . . uh . . . how about them Patriots?

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Friday, February 15, 2002 - 07:37 am:


I also tend to credit the FBI copy, in spite of the lack of fold marks and torn edges in the photo, for the very reasons you state. I also credit the PE photo because it does show the fold marks and torn edges, as well as the envelope. This is why I tend to the theory that two different letters were sent, although I would not be surprised to find that the FBI/RPD specimen was a facsimile produced for linguistic or other purely informational purposes, much like Jake's reproduction of the text and basic formattng at his site. What do your sources say?

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Friday, February 15, 2002 - 06:56 pm:

On my FBI copy there are two fold lines.The middle fold line or crease is 3 3/4 inches to the next fold and just about 3 inches from there to the top of the page.The paper is 7 1/2 inches in length and 8 1/16 inches in width.

In a 12/1/66 news article it says":Police said today,they are sending two copies of an unsigned letter confessing the murder ...of Cheri Jo Bates to the state crime lab for examination.The two identical[!] letters,typed in capital letters,were received yesterday by the police department and the Press...Both copies of the letter turned up yesterday in the post office.The envelopes in each case were addressed with a felt pen[good Z trait!]and did not have stamps on them.They were postmarked Nov.29(Tuesday).Both letters were carbon copies of an original[no plural],which had not turned up last night....As of today the chief had not received a third copy[the original?],and Capt. Cross theorized the copy addressed to the Homicide detail might have been the one the sender meant."

The two copies referred to can be none other than both the Press' copy and the RPDs copy of the one letter.Since it was sent to the state crime lab, we also know the same two carbons were sent to the FBI.The same was true of the finger prints that were found at the scence.Peter,why don't you request both letter copies from the state of California?Let's all work together on this.I am open to this as it could go to show Z did type both and one is slightly different,indicating a second letter was typed too.This would be like what Z did in'the three'69 start letters.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Saturday, February 16, 2002 - 07:10 am:

In his book,Graysmith says;-"I obtained a complete copy only with the use of a magnifying glass and a copy of a photo of a desk at Riverside P.D on which the confession was propped.
Narlow could not show me his,but proofread mine and said it was correct".
Could this explain how the second version(without
spelling errors)came into play?.Perhaps R.P.D released this second version,wanting to hold back
something from the original? Was there not a section of a later letter also witheld?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Saturday, February 16, 2002 - 07:38 am:

The Press-Enterprise ran a story (December 1 or thereabouts, 1966) with a photo of the letter (the copy we've all seen) and a transcription, minus the "shocking" parts. See

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Monday, February 18, 2002 - 12:09 pm:

Howard: If your copy is the source of the post at this site, I guess something was lost in the transmittal. In addition to the folds, does your copy show detail such as the ragged top or bottom edges of the paper, the separately articulated underscores following "by" etc? How perfectly is it reproduced at this site?

I would be glad to try to get both copies, but I am not nearly as familiar with the specific channels as you or Tom. Since you have more experience on the case, perhaps you could direct me to the most likely contact for getting copies. (I am not exactly in the neighborhood). Also if you have the specific case file reference they work from, that might also be helpful.

Lapumo: I don't think the differences can be explained by something Greysmith typed. It is the photo he was supposedly transcribing and the RPD/FBI version that differ. We are not looking at anything from Greysmith, but from RPD and FBI. Unless his or some other facsimile was substituted for one of these copies, we still have no explanation for the differences.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 05:58 pm:

I have several copies.The copies closest to the FBI copy retain the fold marks,but not the edge tears of the teletype paper,including the fold lines.The copy at this site either does not show the creases from display blur or the copy I sent does not have them.They are clearly visible in my copy.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 06:01 pm:

I note the article Confession says "brunett" not "brownette."

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 12:54 am:

And I believe that's what it actually says on the letter--not that you can see the word because it's badly distorted on account of one of the folds. But the word in question takes up seven spaces, not eight. It looks to me as if we have two very similar letters typed independently of one another with minor variations in wording and spelling.

Now, why would he do this? If he's making a stack of carbons, why not simply take the last two carbons in the stack and use them? Why does he feel constrained to type two separate letters?

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Thursday, February 21, 2002 - 01:41 am:

In a private letter (I thought should be in my book)to the sheriff of Napa county with attention to Captain Donald Townsend from the Riverside Chief of Police L.T.Kinkead, dated 10/20/69, he writes"One month after the homicide[of Cheri Bates],letters were received at the Press and our department written by the suspect of our homicide.The suspect used a black felt tip pen[like at LB]to address the envelopes and had used upper case print[like Z did at times].The confession letter[no plural] was typed.There are numerous errors in spelling ,punctuation,etc.[like Z]as you will notice.The person who wrote the confession letter is aware of facts about the homicide that ONLY the killer would know[like Z again].There is NO DOUBT that the person who wrote the confession letter is OUR homicide suspect.The original of this letter was evidently destroyed or kept by the suspect,as the Press and our department received a carbon copy[each] OF THE ORIGINAL[no plural].These carbon copies were a forth or fifth copy and difficult to read.A photograph of this letter[no plural]and the envelopes[plural]is attached."He writes of "copies"received by the two organizations.Note plural or two copies, but from the "original".One gets the impression that he is stating,in private,to a fellow law enforcemnt officer of high rank,that there was one original and only two copies from the one original!I see no reason for him to try and deceive the Napa authorties as he seems almost desperate for help on the RPD homicide.I am open(I am working on some angles),but it sure seems that they believed there was just one letter not two very similar confessions.(EMP mine)

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Thursday, February 21, 2002 - 05:52 am:

It seems pretty clear from all of the accounts that the RPD, FBI and PE all supposed there was only one letter in multiple carbons. The fact remains that the FBI image on this site and the image of the PE letter at Jake's site and elsewhere are not and cannot be the same. There would seem to be only two possible explanations for these facts: (1) a facsimile was typed and slipped into the chain of evidence at some point, or (2) the writer typed two separate letters. Pick 'em.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Thursday, February 21, 2002 - 10:50 am:

I've been following this discussion with interest, and if Z did take the trouble to type two Confessions and used copies from each, I wouldn't be surprised. And why did law enforcement therefore think that they were copies of the same original instead of two different originals? As we've seen time and again in this case, it wouldn't be the first time they either didn't pay close attention to the facts, or just simply dropped the ball. Maybe it was a little of both in this instance, and, if so, it's an important new twist to the case. Why would Z go to the trouble of composing two letters and copies instead of sending two copies from the one letter?

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Saturday, December 28, 2002 - 11:13 am:

For those of you interested in the differences between copies,I will use the photo on Jake's site to list how that copy differs from the FBI copy posted at this site.

1.The signature line "BY__________ " covers 13 spaces.The FBI copy covers 19 spaces.
2. There is an extra word on line five."Blue eyed brownett that said no *** when I asked her.
I cannot make out what this word is!
3.The other differences are all related to the amount of words on particular lines.Add these words to the end of numbered lines,taking these words from the beginning of the following ones.
line 11 add "HER"
line 12 add "I"
line 17 add "KNIFE"
line 18 add "FIRM UNDER"
line 19 add "BRUSH OFFS"
line 20 add "SQUIRMED AND"
line 21 add "ONCE AND"
line 22 add "BROKE"
line 23 add "INSANE"
line 24 add "ALL TO READ"
line 25 add " YOU.IT WILL"
line 26 add "ALSO.IT WAS"

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, December 28, 2002 - 12:26 pm:

Good comparison work Lampumo.The DOJ overview report of a typed copy of the Confession has differences too!Some are amazing.
Peter is correct about a 'pick and choose'here.
Is it possible that a PD carbon was done that differed at certain points from the original so as to hold back details to rule out false confessions?
I do know RSPD has some information that has not been made public.I just wanted to throw in another possibility no matter how slight the chance is of it being a correct alternative.
If there were two slightly different carbon letters done by the writer,then we have a duplication of sorts of Zodiacs three grand letters ,that had some differences ,to the three newspapers in '69(for fun reverse the 9!).