Lake Berryessa: Zodiac crime? (continued) Message Board: Cecelia Shepard and Bryan Hartnell: Lake Berryessa: Zodiac crime? (continued)

By Tom Voigt (Tomvoigt) ( - on Saturday, October 28, 2000 - 11:49 am:

According to Sherwood Morrill, Zodiac was responsible for the handwriting on Hartnell's Karmann Ghia.
Click here to read confirmation.

By Hurley (Hurley) ( - on Saturday, October 28, 2000 - 03:52 pm:

Hm, I maybe stepping on a landmine here but here goes: I've just started reading Graysmith's book. In regards to Berryessa, Graysmith says, after committing the crimes, Zodiac walked up the bank and to the road where he put his mask in the frontseat of his car and then went to put the writing on the car door of the Ghia.

How do we know that? Maybe he tossed it in the brush, burried it, or even put it in his trunk...??

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Sunday, October 29, 2000 - 08:58 am:

Oscar, I'm posting to this new thread because the other one was loading so slowly. You wrote:
"Do you believe Z was responsible for Bates, or are you joining the crowd that is saying it probably wasn't Z? Has it ever struck you that the Bates killing has a lot in common with the Berryessa murder?"

I was holding out for Z as the Riverside offender until last year when Tom posted the info regarding the 42 stab wounds. I thought that there were enough similarities between Riverside and Berryessa to indicate that Z was a first-timer at Riverside, but the overkill in that case, to my mind, was too much like (buzzword alert) a "rage killing" or "crime of passion" to be the Zodiac's work. Finally, given the info that Riverside PD had as strong a suspect as they did, you're right -- I pretty much threw in with the camp that thinks Z did not kill Bates. However, I do believe that he wrote the "Bates Had to Die" letters and the message on the desktop.

Now, I'm just a hobbyist, but there's a fella named Mike Kelleher who does this kind of thing for a living. I must admit that my correspondence with him has colored my thinking to a great degree. He took part in two interviews at my site that also touch on the Riverside/Berryessa dichotomy: he ruled out Z as Bates' killer in the first one, which took place before the overkill factor was announced, and I was pretty skeptical. In the wake of Tom's announcement, though, everything changed -- in my opinion, anyway.

Allow me to quote from my site regarding the differences and similarities between the two attacks:

"The MO at Lake Berryessa is superficially closer in style to the Riverside attack, which was executed with a knife and preceded by some kind of verbal interchange between killer and victim, but the differences are apparent on examination: Bates' killer was ill-prepared for his attack, using only a small pocketknife on a young woman who fought back vigorously, whereas the Zodiac went to great lengths to immobilize his victims at the lake. In fact, it seems that the man who killed Cheri Jo Bates wasn't even sure that he would kill her, having conversed with her for over an hour before he lost control and stabbed her -- at Lake Berryessa, there can be little doubt as to the Zodiac's intentions."

That passage is from "A Look at Lake Berryessa;" the Kelleher interviews are at "The Latest from Mike Kelleher" and "More Q&A with Mike Kelleher." They're all accessible from my main page, linked below.

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Sunday, October 29, 2000 - 10:11 am:

To my mind the only thing that might color the conventional wisdom concerning the Riverside attack is the possibility that it began as an attempted rape. I don't associate Zodiac's personality type or victimology with rape, but since I've postulated extreme sexual frustration on the part of Zodiac the Bates attack might imply an attempt at rape strictly for the purpose of sexual curiosity and/or gratification.

By Peterh (Peterh) ( - on Monday, October 30, 2000 - 08:35 am:

Now were getting somewhere. Maybe.

Tom Wrote:

"According to Sherwood Morrill, Zodiac was responsible for the handwriting on Hartnell's Karmann Ghia. "

If verifiable, this would be the short sweet answer I have been looking for here for a month, a handwriting analysis of the letters and the Ghia door. Problem is, the report linked in the answer doesn't identify any such analysis. Its from Criminal Investigations, not specifically Questioned Documents, doesn't mention Morrill or Questioned Documents, but says only "subsequent investigation" confirmed the match. On the other hand, it notes over 900 hours in the investigation, without much other than the handwriting to account for it. So it sounds like there may have been an analysis, but it doesn't show on this document. (The 900 hours could also explain Tom's estimate of $5000 for an analysis) What gives, Tom? Is there an actual analysis or at least some statement by Morrill behind this report? Do you have a source other than the linked report for the Morrill opinion? Or do you just surmise from the source and nature of this report that a Morrill analysis is behind it?


By Ed N. (Edn) ( - on Monday, October 30, 2000 - 03:05 pm:

Peter H: you just don't want to believe, do you? What gives? CI&I agent Mel Nicolai, writing just seven months after the attack, surely would not have written the following if he did not know for a fact that the writing was positively identified as Z's:

The suspect had handprinted numbers and letters on the passenger door of victim HARTNELL'S vehicle. Additional investigation revealed that the person who had printed on the car door was the same individual who had sent letters to the Vallejo Times Herald, San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle (italics mine) claiming to have killed three people in Solano County.

Regardless of who did what, and regardless of the availability of documents that contain the proof you apparently need, his statement sounds pretty convincing to me.

I'm sure that there are lots of other things that have never been published that proves that Z did what we know he did, yet you aren't too particularly concerned about those. Why zero in on Lake B? Your refusal to accept this now that your proof has materialized is not logical.

By Tom Voigt (Tomvoigt) ( - on Monday, October 30, 2000 - 03:28 pm:

Sherwood Morrill was the documents examiner used by CII on the Zodiac case.
This is getting silly.

By Peterh (Peterh) ( on Tuesday, October 31, 2000 - 07:24 am:


It is not that I don't want to believe,its just that I don't understand all the beating around the bush. Scott started this thread two months ago with the simple inquiry whether the Ghia "calling card" positively ID'd Z as the LB killer. Chrissy raised the car door writing in several discussions on Sept 4-12, and I asked specifically about handwriting comparison on Oct 4. Twice since then Jake unequivocally stated that there was no single piece of evidence positively linking Z with LB. On Oct 17 EdN discussed a "preliminary match of fingerprints and handwritng" and I asked again about the conclusions on the "preliminary" matches. (We know there was no conculusive match of prints, so it seems reasonable to question the conclusion on the handwriting) Tom responded twice in the meantime with speculations about a lost letter (Oct 18) and on Z's use of the knife (Oct 24) then answered EdN's and my questions on what a definitive handwritng analysis would cost.
_Finally_, on Oct 28, Tom reveals that Morrill did do the Ghia door comparison and concluded it was Z.
If that's the case, then I would say, Jake, that there certainly _is_ conclusive evidence that Z did LB, and that Tom could have told us this weeks ago. That's what's silly. And that's why I still question whether the Nicolai report refers to a Morrill analysis that we haven't seen.
EdN: Lots of unpublished stuff that proves he did what we know he did? The info in the first series of letters proves that on LHR and BRS, and Sines shirt proves Stine. Nothing more is needed on those. Until the Morrill analysis, there is no such material on LB. Why rely on faith in what we haven't seen or on faith in what an investigator surely would or would not have done? There is an interesting mixture on this board of abject cynicism in what we know certain investigators did (or omitted) and blind faith in what we believe any investigator must have done.

PeterH, still wondering


By Jake (Jake) ( - on Tuesday, October 31, 2000 - 03:43 pm:

PeterH wrote:
"If that's the case, then I would say, Jake, that there certainly _is_ conclusive evidence that Z did LB, and that Tom could have told us this weeks ago."

Look, Peter, I'm a hobbyist, not a G-Man. Instead of busting everybody's balls about the information we didn't or couldn't produce, why not call and write to every law enforcement agency in California yourself and harangue them until they told you what you wanted to hear? Either that, or content yourself with the knowledge that you had stumped the "experts" and earned your merit badge in Teapot Tempestry?

But wait -- there's still time! Morrill authenticated the 1978 letter, and we're (almost) all agreed that that one was a phony. So if Morrill was wrong once, he could have been wrong about the car door, in which case it doesn't count as conclusive evidence! Unless Z LICKED the car door and left a DNA sample. Did anyone test the door for saliva? TOM??

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Gregorypraxas (Gregorypraxas) ( - on Tuesday, October 31, 2000 - 05:11 pm:

Apparently, the car door WAS covered in gallons of saliva. Police were unable to explain this bizarre clue, but eventually decided that the killer was most likely sending some sort of message using the drool.

It was later discovered that this was apparently done by Arthur Allen, as part of an attempt to mislead and confuse the police. For months, Allen collected the drool of his dog in a bucket, and, when the time came, he covered the car door with this drool. When police attempted to check the blood type, it would not match Allen.

Allen was later seen with this bucket by a patrolman who gave him a speeding ticket three inches from the crime scene. The patrolman noted that Allen had the bucket, was acting suspicious, carrying two dozen bloody knives and STILL wearing his hooded costume. The patrolmen warned Allen that it was unwise to be so distracted while driving, and let him off with a warning. Later, he remembered the incident and called Vallejo PD's John Lynch, who then questioned Allen regarding the incident, and, in particular, the drool. Allen denied owning any drool, but did offer that he had once shot several people on Lake Herman Road, and claimed to have particiapted in the assassination of JFK as well. Lynch found these claims to be incredulous, and therefore wrote a quick and unremarkable entry in his reports regarding the interview.

So, I hope this puts this issue to rest. It's just sad that it has taken so long for the truth to come out...

By Ed N. (Edn) ( - on Tuesday, October 31, 2000 - 07:38 pm:

I believe it was also noted that Allen stated he was on his way to a Halloween party on LHR, and the patrolman stated that he thought it a little unusual that Allen was dressed for such a party, especially since it wasn't quite that time of the year, but otherwise thought nothing of it.

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Sunday, November 05, 2000 - 01:58 pm:

No No! What came to pass was, Allen was lost for 11 mo. following a Halloween party at Darlene house on Wallace st.Everyone was there (all the Z victims that is)And while Allen suffered the amnesia, he tried to kill everyone. When he regained his memory, he remembered he owed Stine for a ride a few weeks before! Stine accused him of causing the accident he had,that made Allen pull out the gun and tell Stine: forget about it! I will not pay for this ride either!!(BANG)

By Realtor (Realtor) ( on Monday, November 06, 2000 - 12:01 pm:

Careful, children. Tom chides us from time to time for wasting space, you know!!

Actually, the handwriting on the car door is real obvious to me as being Z's. Look at the 9's if you don't even look at anything else. And he did this standing up, writing on a surface in a vertical plane. It's just odd to me to realize how unchanged the writing is from the sitting-down writing on a flat surface hand. When I write on a flip chart or chalk board or dry erase board, my handwriting really doesn't look like mine. But Z's looks like Z's. How about it, y'all?


By Hurley (Hurley) ( - on Monday, November 06, 2000 - 01:46 pm:

I think the handwriting on the car door looks like Z's too.

If I had to guess, I'd say Tom is a Scorpio.

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Tuesday, November 07, 2000 - 04:03 am:

The absense of blood on the car door, still bothers me.Did he have on gloves? And then take them off to write? Or was someone else with him?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( on Tuesday, November 07, 2000 - 06:18 am:

Zodiac's handprinting is far too generic to allow for fine comparisons, in my opinion.

By Realtor (Realtor) ( on Tuesday, November 07, 2000 - 12:27 pm:


It is generic in the sense that he printed and made few, if any, letters in an extraordinary manner. However, taken one by one, each letter can be found to have its own little personality that appears over and over throughout Z's missives. Take something simple for example...the lower case y. Each of us write it our own way, even though it only takes a short straight line intersecting a longer straight line. Some of us make a "U" and put a long tail on it...It's still a y. Some of us make that tail short, others make it long, some of us make it curl down to the left, and some of us bring the tail back up across the line. Still others bring it up and out like a flag. All of this, and it's still a y. Well, Zodiac made one short stroke and one longer stroke AND THAT LONGER STOKE FREQUENTLY BENT/CURLED BACK TO THE RIGHT AT THE END. Get out a magnifying glass and look over Z's work. You won't see every y made this way, but it happens often enough to be HIS. (It's the same Y that Larry Cane made in his sample posted by Tom.)

The number 9 is simply a ball with a tail printed above the line, right? Some of us curve the tail, some of us let it go down below the line. Some of us make BIG balls and short tails, etc. Zodiac made small balls that are squashed down from the top and long straight tails.

So, yes, the printing is generic but each letter has its own characteristics that can be found by looking closely.

Sorry to bore you with my ramblings. I get carried away.


By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Tuesday, November 07, 2000 - 08:53 pm:

Realtor, I have a note that is believed to be too much like the Zodiacs to be his! It was given to a friend of mine from a man looking like kane. He told my friend to give the note to me, it would help me find the Zodiac. I would like you to look at it ,and tell me what you think. Please email me, and I will send it to you. sandy

By Realtor (Realtor) ( on Wednesday, November 08, 2000 - 11:50 am:


I'd be happy to. What's your email address? Do I go thru Tom to get in touch with you? It doesn't appear when I click on your name above.



By Bruced (Bruced) ( - on Wednesday, November 08, 2000 - 04:19 pm:

Since Tom has gone to the user name and password,we can't access each other's email address.
Bruce D.

By Realtor (Realtor) ( - on Wednesday, November 08, 2000 - 06:38 pm:


I get Douglas' email when I click on his name. I guess the difference is whether we chose to be available when we signed up with Tom.


By Ed N. (Edn) ( - on Wednesday, November 08, 2000 - 08:38 pm:

Ladies and gentlemen...

Click on the "user profile" icon and then you can add your e-mail address to your profile. Then we can all e-mail each other...

By Hurley (Hurley) ( - on Wednesday, December 27, 2000 - 11:28 am:

The police report listed several witnesses to a suspicious person on the day of the crime at LB. Does anyone know if these people were ever asked to identify Zodiac suspects from photos or a line-up?

By Hurley (Hurley) ( - on Wednesday, December 27, 2000 - 11:45 am:

The LB police report also states they had a list of individuals who purchased the wing walker shoe in the months before that crime. Does anyone know if any of the current Z suspects were listed?

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Sunday, May 13, 2001 - 01:23 am:

In looking at the car door and searching for small internal details I found in the August 1st letter "Aug 1-69" and this compares with the car door at LB "Sept 27 -69".In addition,there is no period after either month.

Z may have called the Palo Alto times 10/20/69 at 6:30 p.m.; and the door writer, a month earlier, marked the time as 6:30 p.m.FYI.

When I first looked at the door writing I looked for an f with a right to left stem curve and found it in the "f" in knife. I saw the same kind of f in the poem at Riverside.Also, the same d's in the poem were the same kind written by Z in the 7/24/70 missive.

Zodiac wrote "BY KNIFE" on the Halloween card 10/27/70 and we have "by knife" on the car door.FYI

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Sunday, May 13, 2001 - 01:28 am:

Excuse me- the 7/26/70 Johns letter-in reference to my 5/13/01 post.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Friday, June 01, 2001 - 04:52 am:

Please forgive me if I am asking a question already dealt with on this site.I have looked and may have missed it.
Can anyone tell me if,Hartnell ever indicated that Zodiac either asked the time or checked his watch during that episode.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) ( - on Sunday, September 02, 2001 - 11:01 pm:

The Zodiac learned from the murder and attempted murder of Darlene Ferrin and Mike Mageau, and I think that it was the same person who killed Cecelia Sheperd at Berryessa.

Mike Mageau gave the killer a fight, kicking his feet. At Berryessa the killer tied both victims before he stabbed them, making sure they couldn't use their hands and feet to fight him.

By Spencer (Spencer) ( - on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 01:36 pm:

Bookworm wrote:
<<Mike Mageau gave the killer a fight, kicking his feet. At Berryessa the killer tied both victims before he stabbed them, making sure they couldn't use their hands and feet to fight him.>>

Z was never touched by Mageau. Mageau's kicking was a reaction to getting shot, and a successful attempt on his part to get into the back seat of the car, and away from Z's direct line of fire.

Shooting someone exposes the killer to little risk of attack by his victims, whereas stabbing someone ups the risk to the attacker.

In Dave Peterson's Vallejo News-Chronicle article, "Killer's Sole Survivor Talks" (appearing Tuesday, August 19, 1969, on the paper's front page):

"Mageau described how he half-leaped, was half-knocked onto the back floor of the car. His legs threshed [sic] out, partly from the shock of the wounds and partly from his efforts to evade or to ward off the slugs with his own limbs

"When the killer stopped firing after the first fusillade Mageau partly boosted himself up on the rear seat. 'He started firing again,' Mageau said, and he lashed out with his legs again."

Hope that clears up any confusion.


By Bookworm (Bookworm) ( - on Monday, September 03, 2001 - 08:34 pm:

My first message disappeared, so I'll rewrite it. Thank you. It's very important to be accurate. I'll have to read things more than once.