The Watch and Other Related Issues Message Board: Possible Zodiac Victim Cheri Jo Bates: The Watch and Other Related Issues

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 04:37 pm:

I'm starting a new thread here to take up some of the off-topic discussion from the "Wing Walkers" thread.

Scott wrote (in regard to the idea that the watch was torn from the attacker's wrist):
"Even so, which I still doubt, it doesn't mean said attacker was the Zodiac."

I hope my reputation isn't such that you're assuming that I'm trying to rule Allen out as the Zodiac based on the watch found ten feet from CJB's body. I look at the Riverside murder as peripheral to the Z case: related somehow, but not comitted by the same person. I do think the watch came from her attacker, though.

That said, a lot of people wrote:
"A small wrist does not necessarily equal a small guy."

True enough, but CJB weighed about 110 lbs, which to my mind is slight enough that a large fella would be able to control her easily if he wanted. Ed's point -- that maybe the attacker wanted to play around with her, watch her struggle, etc -- is, of course, well taken.

Nonetheless, what we have are a few circumstances that lead me to believe that we are discussing a man of slight build. These circumstances are the watch, with its apparently small size; the crime scene, which indicated a significant struggle rather than a quick and able domination of a small young woman; and the location, a college campus with a lot of young students.

Now sure, we can make easy and obvious exceptions to each of the above, which are admittedly generalizations. A big guy might have a small wrist, a big guy might want to wrestle, and a college kid might be a beefy football player. Together, though, these phenomena point in one direction for me, and that is away from the Zodiac, who was consistently described as (and left evidence pointing to) a big guy.

Proponents of beefy CJB attackers and small Zodiacs unite! Let me have it!


By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 05:13 pm:

People of small, especially slight, build are more apt to have the kind of emotional and social problems you'd expect from a Zodiac. Granted, overweight guys might get ribbed, but they generally don't get bullied--in fact, my experience suggests that they're more likely to be the bullies.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 05:14 pm:

". . . these phenomena point in one direction for me, and that is away from the Zodiac, who was consistently described as (and left evidence pointing to) a big guy."


If I'm understanding you correctly -- that CJB's attacker was a smaller to average sized man while Zodiac was a bigger guy -- then I'm in absolute agreement. Ed and I have discussed this topic ad nauseam lately, and I still don't see how the Zodiac could have killed Cheri Jo Bates.


By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 05:21 pm:

I still tend to believe Bates was killed by "Barnett" (or someone like him), even if the hair didn't match. To me, the disgruntled-boyfriend theory makes the most sense.

If whoever killed Bates planned to kill her, certainly the alley wasn't their ideal murder scene. My bet is the suspect was hoping to get Bates into his car, and wasn't prepared when she balked in the alley.

If taken by surprise, even a big guy could have had trouble subduing an athletic girl fighting for her life.

The most likely scenario (IMHO) is this: a boyfriend tampering with Cheri's car in an effort to get her to interact with him. It almost works, but then goes horribly wrong.

By Bucko (Bucko) ( - on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 07:34 pm:


Are you saying you don't believe the hair was from her attacker? If so, why?

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 09:35 pm:

I was told hair samples were not tested from those investigators who responded to the scene. That means the hair could belong to Irv Cross, Fred Bauman, etc etc.

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) ( on Thursday, May 02, 2002 - 10:37 pm:

I am in complete agreement with Tom and Jake (there's a first, inform the media!) regarding Miss Bates murder. Every bit of evdence, both physical and circumstantial, points to a heat of passion killing by a male close to her. Possibly a stalker, but she evidently did stay and talk for a while and no screams were heard early on. If not 'Barnett' then someone from the same circumstances. It is the period of time before the actual killing then the sheer amount of violence and overkill which does not fit the Zodiac signature (using 'signature' in the forensic sense). The struggle and severity of the wounds sound so unlike the cold, almost methodical behavior of Zodiac reported by surviving witnesses. Alos, notice Zodiac NEVER STRUGGLED with his victims. His first moves in each crime involved control over his victims, and he always came prepared. He also never spent near as much time with any victim (even at Lake Berryessa) as the killer took with Miss Bates.
As to the watch, I agree it tells us some important clues, perhaps setting theoretical upper and lower limits on the size of the person by wrist size, but still a large margin for error.
BTW, I will be on vacation for the next couple of weeks starting Saturday, so if anyone replies to anything I've said and youdon't get an answer I'm have not giving up or feeling angry. I may get a chance to log in, but I doubt where I'm going has an internet cafe! Have at it.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Friday, May 03, 2002 - 12:01 am:

Okay, some thoughts before the weekend.

"If taken by surprise, even a big guy could have had trouble subduing an athletic girl fighting for her life."

Tom, you are absolutely correct. My wife, though substantially smaller than me (obviously), could definitely "bring" a fight to an attacker who wasn't prepared mentally and/or physically. If an attacker didn't bring her down in the first or second strike, I'd place my bet on her for the final outcome against a lot of different men. Size can only account for so much. I agree with you that the will to survive is immeasurably greater and can't be accounted for with any accuracy.

Doug wrote, ". . . overweight guys might get ribbed, but they generally don't get bullied . . ."

I'm not so sure about that, Doug. Because of my size -- I was "abnormally" tall and thin as a kid; I was, until my junior year of high school, as tall or taller than people much older than me -- I was picked on constantly. I swear to you, I was terrorized by kids who were 1 to 3 years older than me until I was roughly 13 years old. That was when something boiled within me that, honestly, I wish hadn't. I got mad . . . really fu*king mad. Every sideways glance became a friggin' challenge and every misinterpreted statement became a "who's got the bigger schlontz" contest. When I was in my early 20s and living in Florida, I had a couple of "live or die" encounters that, once again, altered my disposition. Since that time, I have tried my hardest to embrace all that life has to offer and to enjoy each day for what it is worth.

I say all of that to say this, "The person with the greater will to live will not only likely be victorious, but will also perish, if necessary, with a greater obligation to honor."

In my mind, Cheri Jo Bates was just such a woman. It's harder to snuff the will to live, especially when done by hand or knife, than you would imagine. If CJB was already conversing with her attacker prior to the attack upon her, I don't find it at all remarkable that a struggle ensued before she expired. To put it more simply, it's harder than you'd think to kill a person with your bare hands, despite size differentiation. If you've ever been in a street fight, you probably know what I mean. If you've been in many street fights, it's probably not even open for debate.

Some food for thought.


By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Friday, May 03, 2002 - 12:22 am:

Scott, I was speaking about fat kids. They tend not to get pushed around because, well, it's so darned hard to push them, period. Their bulk alone protects them. In the case of someone unusually fraile, height won't necessarily help, although height in conjunction with good upper body strength is always a winning combination.

A good example of this is the Kaczynski brothers, Ted and Dave. Both were fairly nerdy; both skipped two years of school and entered college early; both had trouble with relationships. I think the difference between the two of them was that Dave was physically imposing and less likely to develop the defensive mechanisms that led to social isolation, pathology and criminal behavior in his brother.

By Prisk29 (Prisk29) ( - on Friday, May 03, 2002 - 12:47 am:

Speaking as a former fat kid, believe me when I say it aint that hard to push 'em around. When I was in that particular boat, there was no realistic way I would have been the aggressor. On top of that, chubby kids are more likely to lack the outgoing mental state being a bully requires. Bullying is posturing. Fat kids don't have much to posture over.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Friday, May 03, 2002 - 12:59 am:

Prisk29, that's exactly the point--fat kids don't have much to posture over, so consequently, they posture. Egomaniacs, you've probably noticed, have the same problem. The mental state required to be a bully is one predicated on feelings of inferiority, not superiority.

By Tony (Mahalo) ( - on Friday, May 03, 2002 - 02:44 am:

I also believe Cheri Jo was tough, athletic, strong willed, and totally surprised her attacker. She may not have even felt the first 2 or 3 stabbings from a 3 1/2" knife; from pure addrenalin. A lot of shark bite victims say they only felt a kind of tugging then to later realize they've been lacerated. Shock can also have this effect. If they could prove Cheri Jo's attacker wasn't Zodiac, then that would also prove that Z boasted about crimes he didn't committ. I wonder if ALA ever met Cheri Jo at the race track??

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Friday, May 03, 2002 - 12:16 pm:

From the Cheri Jo Bates autopsy report that I have posted on my Z site:

"Laying[Cheri] MAINLY FACE DOWN[the hands tucked under the body]...Autopsy started and SEVERAL HAIRS removed from the BASE of the right thumb[which was 'clinched'!] and placed in a 4 x 1-1/2 inch clear plastic container held by detective Earl T.Brown...Nail SCRAPINGS,HAIRS from base of right thumb..."(EMP mine).

I say that the HAIRS(pl.)and the nail scrapings came from the person she fought("some of them fought -it was horrible"-Bates being one of his victims?) with in the alley.The hairs were at the BASE of her right thumb.
The information at the time(that's all I will say for my part-I firmly,as does Dave Peterson who spoke to detectives at the time, believe the "hairs" and skin scrapings are from the killer) believe they came from her killer.This could be one reason Z kept quiet about the homicide in later years until he clearly saw he was 'safe'by '71 and that ALL the RPDs focus was on the "local boy",oh um.
The conviction was and they exclaimed this to the public many times,that the location and position of the body being face down along with the "hairs" at the BASE of her thumb and the "nail scrapings" mingled with the killers "skin",indicated they belonged to the killer,NOT the detectives or a photographer!
If this is what RPD is saying now and I am not surprised in the slightest,then why don't they test all hairs(forget about the skin!) belonging to any detectives,photograpers,etc.?They KNOW who was there and they boasted about a 'pristine' crime scene that THEY MAINTAINED.I don't buy it, period.
Also,the young Z was evolving as a serial killer at this early period and this may be one reason he later did move to a more 'efficient'(chilling I know) way to dispatch his victims,'but we know he did go back to a knife on at least one occasion at LB.I have read and studied a ton of serial killer info and this DOES happen.He clearly wrote that Cheri "...WAS NOT THE FIRST..."[victim].We just don't know WHO all of his victims were and how he killed them.I say Z was a different kind of an animal-he was no Jack the predictable method,by knife Ripper.Z said 'by knife,gun,rope( besides binding,hanging Pam Tan ?(See my site under victims FYI)and fire.'This mechanical xerox method of dispatch for each victim theory has got to go!Z was NOT your garden variety of serial killer.He did not always kill just couples or only those of a certain sex or kill them in a certain manner or approach them in the same way either!We need the whole victim list.
There have been serial killers that abducted victims using different means ,including trickery like Bundy and killed them elsewhere and the same killer would also kill them on the spot.At another time the same killer would kill a couple or a lone female or male.At times, they would strangle, but then later use a knife or at other times ,kill the victim with a knife.Sometimes it's fast, other times it is slow to torture(Z spoke of victim "torture" big time!)the victim.These kind are not as plentiful,but they were and are doing just as I've described!I believe Z was this kind of killer.Also, how many killers write in detail about their crimes and have the kind of content Z used in his letters!Very few.

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Friday, May 03, 2002 - 12:48 pm:

TOm: I am pleased to agree wholeheartedly with your take on CJB. Someone close, certainly not Z. Jake: excellent application of Occam's razor,even though you didn't identify it as such: sure there are other possible explanations for each of these indications, but which is the more likely? Not a big guy, not Z.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( on Friday, May 03, 2002 - 01:13 pm:

Further application of Occam's Razor: not bald, not Z.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Friday, May 03, 2002 - 06:57 pm:

I meant to say kill with a gun.I repeatd myself.Sorry!

By Tony (Mahalo) ( - on Friday, May 03, 2002 - 07:31 pm:

Howard: Just read the CJB autopsy report over at your site.It's strange how RPD claim 42 stab wounds. Always gave me the impression that her angered killer sat there and kept stabbing her unconsious body. But from the autopsy report, we can see how most of these are defensive lacerations to the hands, fingers, and arms as she fought for her life. That's sure alot different than 'stab wounds'. Thanks for the info H.

By Judy (Judy) ( - on Monday, May 06, 2002 - 04:18 pm:

Perhaps Ms. Bates did know her killer-that still
doesn't mean that her killer could not be the


By Mike_D (Mike_D) ( - on Monday, May 06, 2002 - 08:40 pm:

Tom-the alley might not have been the best place for a murder,but its not the worst.Whatever if your implying that the Z would be smarter than that let me say shooting a cab driver in a crowded
neighborhood wasn't the smartest commonsense move he ever made either.

By Brian_D (Brian_D) ( - on Friday, November 01, 2002 - 08:18 am:

Much has been made of the watch found at the scene reading 1223 while the autopsy claims a time of death at around 9:30 - 10:00. Penn made a big stink trying to read into it his silly kabbalistic binary fantasy to produce an angle that in his own head, if no one elese's, would prove MHOH was responsibel and therefore the Zodiac. I think the answer is quite simple and fairly prosaiac (sp?). During the struggle with her attacker, CJB tore the watch off and at the same time turned the stem of the watch with either her fingers or side of her hand. I used to have a watch with a stem and the simple act of intentionally taking it off would add or subtract 5 to ten mins to the correct time. If the stem was pulled up durring the attack, not much effort was needed to roll the time forward to the time we see now. Again, just a thought

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, November 02, 2002 - 12:26 am:

That cheap military Timex(purchased from a PX in Great Britain)was,of course,a wind up and it could simply have run its course from its wound up starting point as it lay on the ground till it got to 12:23.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Saturday, November 02, 2002 - 02:56 am:

Brian, what's to say that the watch continued to run after the attack and simply stopped when it wound down? Is there any natural law that says a watch must needs stop at the precise instant of its owner's death?

By Brian_D (Brian_D) ( - on Saturday, November 02, 2002 - 03:46 am:

Douglas, your point is well taken. My point was that the time displayed it is incidental and not integral to this case. What I postulate may be only half the truth. Perhaps it broke upon landing. Ultimately, who can sa authoritatively? I just dont think it was a deliberate subterfuge by her killer. And NO, I'm not aware of any natural law that says a watch must needs stop at the precise instant of its owner's death... :-)