Lake Berryessa: Zodiac Crime? (Part II) Message Board: Cecelia Shepard and Bryan Hartnell: Lake Berryessa: Zodiac Crime? (Part II)

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 01:15 pm:

Here's the new thread...

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 01:59 pm:

Peter H wrote:

Howard: So what I hear you saying is that
1) the similarities between LHR/BRS/PH and LB are so nconsequential that no self respecting copycat could have got it so wrong, AND

This is exactly how copycats don't work. They make an effort to appear similar so that their crime is attributed to someone else (which usually doesn't seem to work, btw).

2) the similarities between LHR/BRS/PH and LB are so important that they prove one perp did all four Z crimes.

Despite the apparent vast differences between LB versus the other three attacks, law enforcement (as I have quoted before) identified LB as a Z crime. By what you're saying, they should have immediately assumed it was the work of a copycat?

A couple of fundamental points.

1) I do not have a copycat theory.
(then what do you call it? Someone who uses his symbol, writes the dates of the real Z's attacks on Hartnell's car door, and calls the cops from near the police station like the previous attack is not a copycat?) My opinion is that there is no substantial evidence that the LB perp did any of the other three.

What evidence are you looking at? Just about everyone else is looking at the same thing, and we see the same perp, not a copycat.

2) My opinion is not based on the differences between LB and any of the others, It is based on the similarities, specifically on the unrebutted fact that not one of the similaroties -- unlike among the other 3 -- can be explained ONLY by the single perp theory.

So what are you saying? That there are not enough similarities to say that the LB perp was Z? Is that not the same as saying that there are too many differences?

I can rebut that, btw. The reason for the similarites is because the crime was committed by the same criminal.

3) Occam's Razor: Look at all the convoluted explanations you have to lay out (above) to explain the differences AND the similarities. (Tom says there "could" have been a letter that was lost? Come on. Allen "could have" left a full taped confession that was lost, too.) My approach explains everything in two words: different guy.
Inspired, copycat, creatng cover, call it what you will. I'm not even saying anything proves it was a different perp. All I'm puttng forth is that based on what is known, and the relative simplicity of the competng theories, it is far more likely that LB was a different perp.

What convoluted explanations? Occam's Razor indicates that the simplest explanation is most probably the correct one. The simplest explanation is that it was the same guy. It sounds pretty convoluted to assume it was a different guy by attempting to explain that he read about the previous crimes, designed a costume that Z didn't wear to those crimes, decided to copycat Z but used a knife instead of a gun, etc, etc...

A couple of lesser points:

1) The LB perp did not "change everything else around". He got a number of details right on, the Z sign, the dates of the ther attacks, the couple, the remote 20.

Could it be because it was the same guy?

2) It is these similarities -- not the convoluted post hoc theories trying to explain the differences -- that had the authorities convinced at the time and apparently to this day that the perp was the same.

3) He was not "far afield". He obviously convinced just about everybody.

So, if it's the similarities that lead you to think LB was the work of a different perp, then how can the same similarities have lead the cops to think it was Z?

4) On Ed's acceptance of the consensus. Since when do we "follow" the authorities just because they believe something? I thought we were here to question those who dropped leads, smudged perfect prints, forged letters etc etc etc

Since when do I accept the general consensus of anything? I do not follow blindly, as you should know from reading my posts over the last year. I have my doubts about the 10-5-1970 card, and have expressed them before, even though it is the consensus that it was Z's work. I also have my doubts about the Pines card, which I have expressed before. I am also one of a few who have strongly argued against Z being an "expert marksman." The reason I accept LB as a Z crime is that I don't see how it can have been anyone else.

5) A weak copycat theory on LHR and BRS is completely irrelevant to proof that Z did LB.

We're using the same tactics you're using. If LB was a copycat crime based on some unsub's sudden desire to kill someone and blame someone else, then those similarities you claim show that LB was not a Z crime therefore show that all of the Z crimes subsequent to LHR were the work of copycats.

What it comes down to is that, like everyone else, I don't see where you're coming from. We're all looking at the same evidence, and only you seem to think differently. And I don't think you've adequately explained your thoughts either, because it seems that no one understands how you can possibly have such an opinion.

Now, I'm curious as to how you can see exactly the same evidence yet perceive something else. Please explain how (your post that I commented on didn't really explain anything, at least not to my satisfaction).

By John R (Johnremtct) ( - on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 09:37 pm:

I also belive we sometimes look too deeply for explanations and ignore the simple answer. In this case I belive Z did not send a letter simple because he wrote a "letter" on the Car Door.

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 08:40 am:

OK, Ed. I'll make this as simple as I can.

(BTW, if you will read the intro to my last post again, you'll see that the bulk of it -- from "Howard" on down, was addressed to Howard, not to your comment. Sorry if that was not clear, especially as to the part about following the lead of the authorities -- that was his characterization, not yours).

But I digress. To boil it down:

1) The problem: LHR, BRS and PH all have links that can ONLY be explained by a single perp: the letters, the inside knowledge, the shirt. LB does not have one single fact that can ONLY be explained by a single perp. There is also nothing about LB that can only be explained by a different perp.

2) The analytical approach:
OK, There are similarities between LB and the others, and there are differences. Without assuming either explanation is correct, and therefore not placing a burden of proof on either theory, let's examine two explanations for the similarities(same guy vs. different guy) and the same two explanations for the differences.

3) The solution: Occam's Razor

a) The similarities have two equally simple explanations:

Same guy: Duh, its his own personation.

Different guy: Duh, he reads the paper.

So far, a draw. Now:

b) The differences have completely different explanations:

Same guy: REQUIRES all the speculation above and at first LB thread, all coulda--mighta--maybes: he's developing, he's becoming, lost letter, didn't need a letter we got the car door, now he needs to communicate or intimidate or dominate, the Ghia writing's just the same, no it isn't but look at the position he was in, the hood was important, no it wasn't he didn't expect them to live, the person ID'd by the dentist and in the Napa composite might not be the perp, the compression test showing he weighed 215+ is not scientific etc etc etc)

Different guy: different guy

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 01:21 pm:

"the hood was important,no it wasn't he didn't expect them to live"
LB is a large area and the crime was committed in daylight hours!

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 02:11 pm:

Peter, one minor detail about the dentist was revealed in the Berryessa report: the guy he saw wasn't the killer. Apparently, the dentist and his son were way north of the crime scene at almost the exact time of the attack, and the NCSD determined that he couldn't have made it to Twin Oak Ridge in time to stab Shepard and Hartnell. Moreover, the three girls who reported a strange man watching them described someone clean-cut and nice looking; Z was described as sloppy and overweight. It's likely that neither party saw the killer, and the composite sketch that resulted from their descriptions shouldn't be used as evidence pointing away from the Zodiac that we all know.

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 06:02 pm:

Peter: I know you addressed (mostly) Howard, but I had to put my two cents in, because I feel pretty strongly about this too.

You wrote:

Same guy: REQUIRES all the speculation above and at first LB thread, all coulda--mighta-- maybes: he's developing, he's becoming,

This is irrelevant. It's just speculation to explain what happened.

lost letter, didn't need a letter we got the car door,

There was no letter after LHR. Therefore, this is irrelevant too.

now he needs to communicate or intimidate or dominate,

We don't know that there wasn't communication at LHR, but it's almost certain that there was, because the passenger side window was rolled down on the same side that Z parked his car. It was 22 degrees that night, so it's not likely to have been down for fresh air. Thus, communication. Just like LB.

the Ghia writing's just the same, no it isn't but look at the position he was in,

Morrill apparently confirmed it was Z's writing, so this is irrelevant too.

the hood was important, no it wasn't he didn't expect them to live,

As Tom once pointed out, we don't know if he wore a hood at LHR. There were no survivors to tell us. But even if he didn't, he's a serial killer. Who knows why they do things like that?

the person ID'd by the dentist and in the Napa composite might not be the perp,

That's irrelevant.

the compression test showing he weighed 215+ is not scientific etc etc etc)

How scientific do you need? They got someone who weighed a lot, walked alongside Z's prints, and didn't sink down as deeply. Ergo, Z was heavier. Pretty simple.

As far as the different guy/copycat theory, there are definite problems. No matter what you want to call it, if it was a different guy, then he was a copycat by virtue of his use of Z's symbol and "acknowledging" the previous attacks as his when they weren't.

So, if the perp was someone who suddenly decided to kill a couple just because, and tried to make it look like Z, then why the hood? No one really had a good idea what Z looked like, so why hide his face? That's illogical, especially since both victims were supposed to die anyway.

If he was going to make it look like Z, one would think he'd shoot, not stab, his victims. Very problematic for a copycat to copycat a known criminal and not get it right.

If it was someone else, then why tie up his victims? Z did not do that. If he was going to copycat Z, he would not do something as illogical as not copycatting Z.

If it was someone else, why write the dates of the previous attacks on Hartnell's car door? Z never did that before. It's therefore not logical to do that if it was someone else.

Since he therefore tried to copycat Z and got everything wrong, then even using Z's symbol and claiming the other crimes as his should not have been enough to convince the cops that it was Z when it really wasn't.

Now, the NY Z tried to make the cops think he was the SF Z, and failed miserably. They knew immediately that he was a copycat. Why then, assuming that the LB perp was a copycat (and a pathetic one at that), did he fool everyone except you?

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 09:47 am:

Missed the point again, Ed so this is my last stab, so to speak.
Of COURSE its "all speculation to explain what happened"! That's the point, and its directly relevant! The conclusion that its the same person REQUIRES all that speculation. My listing of examples of the speculation was not to endorse any of it, but to point out the sort of undisciplined speculative theorization that is necessary to reconcile the differences between LB and all the other attacks. That goes for such details as Tom's "mighta worn the hood at LHR", the shoe print tests, all of it. Do you get it? I am not making or rebutting any of those arguments. I am pointng out that the single perp theory requires them to reconcile the differences. Its the theory that doesn't require "all the speculation to explain what happened" that is overwhelmingly more often correct.

Having said that, let's take a step back and look where this has brought us:

1) Here I am arguing that the nature of the SIMILARITIES (all public knowledge) makes it more likely that it was a different perp, and

2) there you are arguing that the stark DIFFERENCES (e.g. why write on the door, why tie them up) means it couldn't have been a different perp.

Interesting situation.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 09:55 am:

It might help to point out that following the LB incident, Zodiac left the telephone off the hook. This would seem logical, since he had experienced trouble with the telephone ringing after he hung up on July 5.

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 12:24 pm:

It would also seem logical since the trouble with the phone was publicized in at least one of the 7/31/69 letters, it would also seem logical since its been done that way in a zillion movies, it would also seem logical since he was fleeing a murder, it would also . . .
And its also one of those many details that requires some such explanation if it was the same perp.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 01:46 pm:

The trouble with the two killer scenario is one of percentages. It's not impossible, and we should keep our minds open to it, but in my opinion it's highly improbable. People don't just wake up one morning and decide to become killers. Mass/serial murder is fairly rare because generally a unique combination of motivating factors and individual circumstances contribute to it. The odds of a second Zodiac-type personality existing in the Bay area at that particular time possessing the same psychological qualities and needs as Zodiac I think are remote.

By the way, were details of the ringing phone made public? I know the letter mentioned it, but was that letter reproduced in its entirety within the media?

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 05:57 pm:

Peter: I didn't miss the point. I've always known exactly why you're saying what you're saying, but I didn't understand why until this morning when I read your post. Then it clicked. You're what Robert D. Keppel refers to as an "MO purist" in his fascinating book, Signature Killers.

I quoted extensively from his book in a post from part one of this thread on Thursday, October 26, 2000 - 07:04 pm. I quoted the following while attempting to make my point, but not quite realizing that you were an MO purist also:

p. 233: In addition, although the cause of death was from blunt impact in each case, the different variety of weapons used influenced the decision of the MO purists that separate killers were in operation. (italics mine)

They looked exclusively for the exact MO from one crime scene to the next, instead of recognizing that a killer changes his MO as he strives to get more comfortable in successive murders. (italics mine)

This was in reference to the murders committed by George W. Russell in Bellevue, WA, in 1990.

Even though now I recognize this, I don't know how to convince you. You've decided that because it looks different, it must be a different guy, but you're looking at the perp's MO (modus operandi, ie, mode of operation), which tells you it's a different guy, rather than the signature elements present within the crime, which say that it's the same guy who committed the previous three murders at LHR and BRS.

Even though MO and signature were often confused until the 1970's (and were not even really differentiated until then), Ken Narlow and the other investigators recognized the obvious signature elements of the crime as belonging to Z, which is why they knew the perp was Z and not a copycat.

Signature is why I know the LB perp was Z, and not a copycat. And MO is exactly why you will continue to think it was a different guy.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 06:21 pm:

Here's a similar quote from profiler John Douglas:

But as we studied more and more serial offenders and developed our profiling methods, we came to realize that while M.O. was important, in certain types of crimes it wasn't nearly as important as what I call "signature" -- the unique aspect that was critical not so much to accomplish the crime as to satisfy the perpetrator emotionally.

This from the same John Douglas who dismissed the Unabomber-Zodiac connection on the basis of differing M.O.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 09:52 pm:

I guess it only counts in some cases...

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Friday, April 06, 2001 - 02:30 am:

Peter-"I am back with you".You use the word Duh a lot so I will write slowly!

When you segment the 12/20/68 attack and compare it with 7/5/69 and 10/11/69 (and if we accept 3/22/70 and even 10/30/66)then we have discrepancies as we do in serial killer cases. Some kill at night then switch to day- and even weapons change, but usually with careful discernment the same man emerges, not always ,but in the text book cases I have researched it can be demonstrated.

Lets block off 12/20/68 and compare to 7/5/69. In one there is a .22 in the other there is a 9MM.One is at a deserted area and the other is a park area with people going in and out. One the perp herds the couple and shoots the boy immediately in the head and actually goes after the girl utilizing his "electric gun sight"- which I think he wanted to do as a "set up"-and guns her down as she runs.The other (BRS) he drives up and parks behind and to one side or at an angle (as the LB driver did at A/W stand with the three girls)then drives away and later comes back and assumes a similar position. He gets out of the car-holding a light,not with his .22'gun sight'with a blast into a window and wheel rim to herd them, but instead with a 9MM which he places in the window and starts shooting.After coming back to finish the job and shooting again, he gets in his car and drives off.

Now ,at LHR we are left with no call and no letter-nothing!At BRS the shooter goes close to the police station and makes that call and later, writes those detailed letters and code.

Now,how are these two similar?You say(figuratively speaking) we have a couple in a car and we have a gun and it's at night and the perp comes up and shoots.There are similarities and there are dissimilarities some greater than others -like no call and letter/s.Also,we do not know what he was wearing at LHR as there were no survivors-so that is open.

Now, lets cut over to 10/112/69 and we have Zodiac in the CITY surrounded by people and he hails a cab and that cabbie drives him to his destination and abruptly shoots him in the head. Z tears a piece of Stine's shirt and wipes the cab down and walks away and later escapes. The letter(with bloody shirt portion) came but there was no call!He did not write on Stine's cab either!We compare this with LHR and BRS we find similarities and dissimilarities-some big and others not so big.

I submit to you we are not dealing with your garden variety killer!He is capable of ANYTHING and his conduct, letters and stated philosophies,codes and calls close to a police station, plus more; all show he will do the unexpected and that it can and will be bizarre. Like his letters-we are so USED to their content and the drawings in those goofy cards/doodlings- but it shows his wild bizarre inclinations and thoughts -just crazy! One would never know what he would write or do next!

You are having a hard time with LB-you should be having a hard time on the whole case-the authorities are just as baffled as when it all started. Tens of thousands of man hours- and dollars -have been spent and what do we have-an UNSOLVED case with all the did Z kill so an so?They are still debating Donna Lass!

I have already pointed out to you the reasons I have for believing Z was the hooded(bizarre-different-yep!)man who attacked that couple at LB

One thing I want to give is that Zodiac himself claimed LB as his. In that nutty 11/8/69 card Zodiac writes Des[(12/20/68-2] July[7/5/69-1] Aug[2](this is a mystery, but he said he would NOT announce to anyone the people that he killed)SEPT[1!] [EMP mine]and Oct[10/11/69-1 = 7 All are agreed that "Sept refers to LB and this gives us the total he gave 7!I am not taking a stand on this one ,but if Graysmith is right(and cryptologist Greg Mellon-stated he was in a letter and by phone ;check out the late Mellon's credentials on the net-pretty hefty)then we have "Phone B"[Berryessa]and Z is asserting he is the perp and so he makes his reference.One thing Z says is To "ask the Vallejo cop[Lundblad] about my electric gun sight"and in the supposed solution it says "Pleas ask Lundblad."Just a point of interest.

Dave Peterson the premier zodiac expert solved the cross/circle with the x's at certain points and he started out with the LHR kill and at midway at the bottom(I will send you a copy at your request)of the circle he goes to the next x and he shows by month this to be July and Aug(just like in the 11/8/69 card) and then at Sept. sector at the x is another killing-LB.and it goes to Oct. at the x and that is Stine.I affirm the ongoing counts or baseball like scores account for LB or one victim!More later- and there is more.

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Friday, April 06, 2001 - 11:18 am:

OK, first Douglas, the Ed then Howard, just to make sure that if I offend anyone, at least its the right victim.


OK what _are_ the odds? As has been pointed out any number of times, there were plenty of such loonies operating in California at the time, the Sonoma coeds, the hitchhikers, the Family, and on and on. My approach hardly assumes someone woke up one morning and decided to become a killer, and it certainly doesn't require someone very close to Z in personality, any more than a copycat. The very existence of copycat crimes belies your theory that the odds aren't good that someone could copycat Z. Oh, and BTW, as Bill Baker has pointed out with considerable authority, there was a killer operating along the coast with _exactly_ the psychology of the LB perp as early as 1963. Check out the Santa Barbara thread from last fall.

Ed; No, I don't think you do get me. I am _not_ an MO purist. Can I make this any clearer? My argument is not that "there are differences in MO. therefore different guy." My argument is also _not_ that any of the differences, whether in MO or otherwise, mean that it is a different guy. All of my previous posts have made my point about the differences, including differences in signature and MO. That point is _not_ that the differences themselves prove anything. They may be explained either by the same perp or by a different perp. The point is that the same perp requires the more complicated explanation. Different perp is the simplest explanation that accounts for all of the facts.

And while I am on it, let me emphasize that this goes both for MO and "signature". The theorists who developed the distinction between MO and signature actually went much further than your discussion here suggests. MO is generally understood as the conduct necessary to commit the crime and escape, preferably undetected. Personation, on the other hand, is that conduct not necessary to commission of the crime or escape, but which has some personal significance, conscious or unconscious, to the perp. Signature is a special form of personation that by its characteristic use, usually repetition, becomes uniquely personal to the perp.
I understand that it is also a premise of this analysis that MO often changes, whereas personation normally does not. I believe that is the underpinnig of your assertion that I am looking at MO and seeing someone else while you are looking at signature (personation) and seeing Z. But there are two problems with that approach. First, at LB Z did not merely alter MO. Second, he did not only alter general personation, but signature as well.
MO I think we agree is very different.
Let's look at personation. At LHR/BRS we have little or no personation at the scene. Two couples. (let's deal only with what is known and not get into speculation about open car windows) Absolutely all other personation was completely after the fact. And all after LHR, incidentally: one phone call claiming both crimes, letters describing both crimes, claiming credit and actively seeking to convince of the killer's authenticity, taunting authorities, multiple ciphers, the Z-sign of course, and the Zodiac name.
Let's look at the LB personation. Exactly three elements connect with previous personation: the couple, the z-sign and the phone call. Everything else about personation was different. The hood. In itself it may only be MO, but ebmbellished with the z-sign at the crime scene is clear personation and different. Approach and conversation. Again, the stalk and approach has elements of MO, but the conversation, the cover story, the length of personal contact, were clearly personation. Bondage. Again MO related, but also a clear act of domination and control. The Ghia door. Literally signature, but similar to other the crimes only in its use of the z-sign. Never before -- or ever again -- left signature at the scene of any kind. The z-sign itself may be signature, but leaving it at the scene is a significant difference.
After the crime, not one letter, not one taunt to Napa PD or any Napa paper, or any other claim or reference to "good times at LB" or the like. Not the least attempt to connect himself with the crime. As different from BRS/LHR personation and signature as it gets. Oh, sure, there are explanations: such as after he wrote on the car he didn't need a letter. Maybe, but it's beside the point: it's a difference: substituting the door for any letter is a huge difference in signature which requires some kind of explanation.
So Ken Narlow and others are looking at three signature elements -- the couple, the z-sign, and the phone call -- and concluding identical signature, same guy? Ignoring three elephants in the room: 1)even the z-sign was different: it occurred twice at the scene, 2) every single one of the similarities in personation was public knowledge, and 3) huge elements of very important Z personation are completely missing.
I think those who are most expert on personation and signature will tell you that it is only useful to eliminate copycats if it is kept confidential. Its obviously the first thing a copycat would use. Mr. Narlow didn't take a very close look if all he had for signature was the couple, the z-sign and the phone call. Surely he had more than that. But what was it?
Again, let me be clear on this: I am not arguing -- although it would be easy to do so -- that the differences in personation mean a different killer. I am so far from being an MO purist that I am not even a signature purist. Note some differences in personation with respect to Stine. I am only pointing out that the differences between LB and the other crimes require extensive explanation, in fact far more satisfying than anything yet posted here, and the similarities -- beacuse they were all public -- require more critical study
All I am saying is that there are differences, even in personation, that require explanation. The explanations are there and may even be adequate. the problem is that they are so far more complex than:"different guy".

And last but not least, Howard:

Oh, I am feeling so misunderstood. Sure there are differences and similaritues among BRS/LHR/PH. I repeat I am not arguing that the existence of differences is conclusive. I am pointing out that of all the explanations for the differences AND the similarities at LB, different perp is the simplest one that accounts for all of the known facts. Just as with the other three, same perp is the simplest one that accounts for all of the known facts, which in those cases include the letters, the inside knowledge and Stine's shirt.
I will even acknowledge that Z-makes one express claim to one or more killings in September. In the same letter in which he makes a claim to a killing in August about which we have no clue. Connecting it to LB requires, among other things that August was two killings. Even with that, yes it is consistent with a claim for LB. Two points. So now we have this small scrap of a apeculative possible claim to LB as compared with the express, active, aggressive and specific claims and offers of proof of authenticity with BRS/LHR and PH. Again, what is the simplest explanation for the reference to September that is also consistent with the reference to August. That he will not announce his cromes? Please. He announced everything up through PH loud and clear. He only said he would stop doing so in the future. He "claimed LB was his"? That's yur conclusion, not a fact. And isn't it a stretch? At most, he claimed some killing in September. BTW, if this were a claim of LB and another unknown in August, and that August claim is confirmed by Peterson, why is there no August date on the Ghia door? How about because only the real Z knew the August date and he wasn't at LB?

By Parry Haskin (Parhas) ( - on Friday, April 06, 2001 - 06:07 pm:

Since you're such an authority on behavioral aspects of crime, I can only assume that you have been to the crime scenes, seen crime scene photos, and had access to police and crime lab reports regarding these particular crimes for you to make such claims. If you are relying on Graysmith or postings on this and other boards, then you are not in a position to do much more than speculate in a very broad manner. Law enforcement agencies that do have access to this material have come to the conclusion that the crimes are related. They may be wrong in some instances, but they certainly have more to go on than you or others who make unsubstantiated and probably groundless claims. Yuor opinion on the
relationship between the LB, Stine, and other z murders are food for thought only and should be presented as such.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Friday, April 06, 2001 - 09:25 pm:

Peter, I do know exactly where you're coming from, and it smacks of MO purism. You're saying (as I've explained before) that someone decided to copycat Z, read about his crimes, and incorporated some of Z's signature elements, while he got everything else wrong. That requires more finagling and twisting to place another perp in Z's shoes, rather than Z himself. Copycats copycat crimes, they don't do something half-assed. And that is exactly what the LB perp did if he was someone other than Z.

Something else you're forgetting is that, according to Keppel (as I quoted in my post from October), signature killers experiment with the core components of their signatures, which is why the signatures are always identifiable but not necessarily identical. He also explained (I don't recall the precise reference in Signature Killers) that signature killers were dynamic and not static. In other words, their crimes develop and change over time, but the signature is there.

I know you claim that you're not an MO purist, but you're looking at the differences and thinking it must be a different guy; I'm looking at the differences and and cannot see how it can possibly be a different guy who would attempt to copycat and screw it all up.

Now, the core components of the previous crimes are all there at LB:

1) A couple was the target, as demonstrated by the previous two crimes;

2) The area the crime was committed was remote and nearly deserted, as demonstrated by the previous two crimes;

3) The place the crime was committed occurred near water, as demonstrated by the previous two crimes;

4) The place the crime was committed had a name relating to water, as demonstrated by the previous two crimes;

5) Z cruised the area looking for victims, as at LHR and possibly BRS;

6) He left the scene of the crime immediately after the crime, as demonstrated the previous two times;

7) He left in a leisurely manner after the commission of the crime, as was done at BRS;

8) He left the victims out in the open where they could be found, as demonstrated by the previous two crimes;

9) He used a different weapon in the commission of the crime (which was demonstrated in the three other known Z crimes);

10) He called the police as soon as possible after the crime (a new signature element, used only once before), in order to claim credit for it;

11) He chose a phone located within half a mile of the police station/sheriff's department (a new signature element, done only once before);

12) He described the location of the bodies in reference to a known starting point (a new signature element, done only once before).

There are probably more if I really think about it, but twelve points of similarity are enough. Now, what you're asking us to believe is that someone decided to kill a couple, blame it on Z by copycatting him, and got ALL of the above correct, and yet screwed up by tying them up, using a knife rather than a gun, used a hood, etc, etc? Now that I've enumerated the above, I am more convinced than ever that LB must have been committed by Z and no one else.

I must admit that some of the components I identified are obviously MO, but some are signature too. The point is, the LB perp got those twelve points I listed above correct, and "erred" in only a few things. That is what tells me that the LB perp was Z. You're looking at the few differences, explainable by signature experimentation, and thinking it was a different perp.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Friday, April 06, 2001 - 11:25 pm:

Doug- A masterpiece-good analysis!Xerox killing is a tricky thing,but if you are going to xerox don't radically change from night to day and from gun to knife- and no letter?Why not decrease the risk and do it at night with a gun as before?The real Zodiac was a maniac and was embolden to do a daylight deal as he had killed before and wanted to increase his thrill and get more publicity with a truly bizarre crime. Z was insane enough to don a costume-I don't think a copier would go through that and of course ,the public and police would not have known there even was a costume if Bryan had expired.This so called xeroxer went through a lot of risk and trouble for nothing-and we do NOT see his copy deals again!

You are right Doug ,as there are many more similarities,such as the fact there was no,like the previous crimes,evidence of sexual assault- and robbery was not the motive.Zodiac did not dispense with using a gun either!

If the Johns's abduction be considered a Z crime then her account of Zodaic having a monotone voice is similar to Bryan's story as the hooded man-according to him -seemed to have the same kind of voice.

More later, as it's an early one for me. I want to say I appreciate your posts in the past and I think you are right on and Peter is right off; but this makes for exploration and discovery.Peter has a perfect right to believe and express his sentiments and we have the right to dissent.This is how all of us get more perspective on this complicated case.I don't think it's "easy" as Peter keeps affirming..

I don't think you answered my post question about the desk poem as I wanted your opinion on the phrase expressed in my post.I would be curious as to your eval' on this.Thanks much.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Friday, April 06, 2001 - 11:31 pm:

Howard, you are giving credit to the wrong person, but I generally agree with Ed's analysis.

I'm inclined to believe that the reason why Zodiac never alluded to this crime in later correspondences was because people were getting wise to his particular pathology and he didn't like it. That could very well be why he chose a lone man as his next victim, and went so far out of his way to obtain proof of his culpability.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 06:48 pm:

Doug-The public was never, supposed to find out about the costume- that was exposed in all the papers with Bryan's testimony.therefore,your statement about his pathology, etc. is probably true.

He followed all the news accounts(one reason was because of his ego) and he changed, as they stated he would only kill couples at night; so he strikes during the day and uses a knife, while all the stories have him using a gun, as a matter of course;and then they have him always sending a boastful letter to the paper.So he did not send a letter after LB (the writing on the car door was unlike anything he did before, unless we consider the desk poem-that is writing on a surface other than paper)that we know of, but did claim one victim in September/69 at least three times(I know the car door "score"-but he thought at that time he killed both of them even though no numerical tally appears -twice with a reference to the month considering the sphere of x's that Peterson solved and when he said up to the end of Oct./69 7 victims).Yet, his impress is at LB just as sure as the so called Z canonical 87's.

Seeing all the remarks in the news accounts about his MO he changes and kills a lone man in a cab, but doesn't make the standard phone call.Then he sends the bloody cloth(just like witches do to their enemies as a warning)to the paper.

Of course, he then affirms he will 'no longer announce his murders to anyone'-of course, after all the stories state he always boasts of his murders-well,now he won't,at least,not as directly as in the past.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 06:51 pm:

Sorry Ed I had the wrong man-your analysis was superb!

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 07:19 pm:

In reference to Peter's belief's in regard to the LB not being Zodiac's crime ,I think that one point should be made in regard to the embroidered cross/circle that Bryan found so interesting and the construction of the hood and overall costume. Bryan thought that he must have spent some time embroidering that insignia. My thought is that if you wanted to do a xerox on Zodiac why go through all the time and effort to construct and sew the hood along with the embroidery job just for two kids that would never report it to the papers as they would have been dead!

Now,if you have the mental maladies of Zodiac then we understand a little more-this is part and parcel of his emerging pathology and desire for greater thrills and excitement.The thought of frightening a young couple with an executioner/occult type costume(like the hooded TexArkana Killer, Ned Kelly-see web sites on him-and Aliester Crowley who wore a black hood and had an embroidered cross on the chest portion) was no doubt extremely exciting to our limbic distorted Zodiac.

For a xeroxer to think of this and then go through all the unnecessary efforts, and creating great risks for himself ,is in itself, much harder to digest and assimilate than the well accepted belief it was Zodiac 'doing his thing' in the way he wanted to do then!

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 07:28 pm:

That's what I've maintained all along, Howard: if it was a copycat, why bother with a hood since 1) no one had a clear idea of what Z looked like, and 2) his victims were supposed to die anyway?

Considering the hood was elaborate (ie, it had what appeared to be a professionally applied symbol, etc), that to me indicates the importance of LB to Z. Which brings us back to why? Was it a sick form of absolution for perceived feelings of inadequacy at Santa Barbara six years before?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 08:01 pm:

Howard, I believe Zodiac became quite uncomfortable when the newspapers started talking about the prospect of him being a homosexual, or sexually frustrated, individual. Perhaps those statements constituted the "lies," that Zodiac claimed were so upsetting to him. Perhaps he didn't think that people would catch on to him so quickly.

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) ( - on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 08:03 pm:

As regards the costume at Lake B., Eduoard's Zodiac-Batman site set me thinking. I mentioned in another thread that upon consideration the whole Zodiac case sounds like it would have been a perfect plot for the Batman Comics. Who wears costumes? Superheroes and SUPERVILLIANS! As several others have mentioned, I am beginning to suspect Z was more motivated by comics than movies. I think he was trying to turn himself literally into a Supervillian!

By Eduard (Eduard) ( - on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 05:49 am:

Mike, you gave me a big compliment.
What you said was the motive I build my site in the first place.
Just to show there are "other" possibilities in this case.
A good researcher overthinks every possibility.
I think you are one of them.

"The Zodiac-Batman Connection"

P.S. The very first "super" villain Batman fought was a guy called "the monk".....which wore a costume similar to the LB-costume.
He even had a chinese sign on his chest like the Mikado sign.
If I find the art I will post it on my site.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 01:20 am:

Peter- There is another problem here -Zodiac NEVER refuted the xeroxer at LB!Zodiac stated:"I hope you do not think that I was the one who wiped out that blue meannie[Brian McDonnell] with a bomb blast at the cop station...It just wouldn't doo to move in on someone elses teritory."

Zodiac did not want to claim credit for some other person's attack(as much as he hated police too!); but what makes one think that he -with his Texas sized(or Lake Berryessa sized!) ego-would tolerate someone perpetuating the LB attack using HIS symbol(both on the bib portion of the hood and the car door) and trade mark kill score along with the close to the PD station call and allowing the credit to go to the "Zodiac"-which really was HIS territory!

Since he did not want to horn in on someone else's "territory" or turf then he would not want someone taking credit for a "Zodiac crime",if in reality,the real Zodiac did not commit the LB attack!

Zodiac would have denounced the copy cat very quickly. He was proud of his crimes and did not fail to boast of them after LHR(but even then he later referred to LHR as his by phone and letter)and if a usurper did LB and staked claim to it as being done by "Zodiac" he would have written a letter and /or called the police and/or Editor!

Of course, all the experts -including Dave Peterson who,unlike you ,was at the first Z blitz in'68,are assured that the real Zodiac did LB and claimed LB in his letter totals-it just adds up!A one strike xerox machine does not!

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( on Tuesday, April 17, 2001 - 06:09 pm:

Wouldashouldacouldamightamaybealmostnearlynotquitehardly. So proud of his crimes that he said what about LB? Did not fail to boast of them? Like the man sitting in the car shot with the 38 that is not even listed as a possible? DP was at the first Z blitz, unlike who? Unlike all of us, Howard. that's why were all here second guessing the "experts". And why is DP "assured"? Couldn't be a qwerty problem, could it? In for a dime in for a dollar? The cops jump to a gut conclusion that its the same perp, the terror goes on long enough and they either have to live with an untenable theory or admit there is another unapprehended out there. Gee, where have we seen this before? Show of hands, now, how many of us believe Lee Oswald fired one single bullet that pierced JFK's upper back, emerged from his throat, pierced John Connaly's back, emerged from his chest, pierced and emerged from his wrist and lodged in his thigh (that's seven wounds and a piercing of a total of about 18 inches of soft tissue and two bones) having shattered a rib and a radius, then appeared in pristine condition on a gurney in the hospital? And how many of us believe Arlen Specter will someday renounce the single bullet theory? QWERTY. The letter totals add up? Which totals? Anything over 5, or is it 7? Hits or kills? Such as 13 and all the other totals from the verified Z letters? 35? or was it 39? There was a kill score at LB? I know there were dates, all previously published (and curiously omitting the August reference) but "kill score"? Musta been on the inside of the door that only Greysmith saw . . .

Keep on Truckin'

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Tuesday, April 17, 2001 - 08:39 pm:

Peter: you're talking apples and oranges. It's pretty obvious that Oswald had nothing to do with the assassination of JFK (at least, he wasn't there to kill him); the facts support that contention. However, the facts, as I outlined above on April 6th, demonstrate that there were more than enough points of similarity between LB and the previous two crimes to justify the cops' conclusion that the perp was in fact Z.

No matter what you say, you're an MO purist, and the reason you insist it was someone else was because of a few things that "don't match," while ignoring everything else that does. As I pointed out on April 4th, a copycat wouldn't make such drastic changes to a crime and be able to fool everyone, but Z would, as he was experimenting with the core components of his signature.

I'm still waiting for a reasonable, factual explanation as to why you think it was a different perp. Different fingerprints, writing, DNA? As far as a different perp goes, in your own word(s?):


It was the same guy.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, April 18, 2001 - 02:33 am:


By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( on Wednesday, April 18, 2001 - 10:56 am:

Ed: The point was not whether Oswald did it, but whether authorities invested in a conventional wisdom can ever afford to revise an opinion in the face of countervailing evidence. But now that you mention it, if it is obvious that Oswald didn't do it, it should be just as obvious that the Warren report -- or more specifically the single bullet theory on which it entirely depends -- will never be recanted by any of its authors(such as Arlen Specter or Gerald Ford) for the very same reason that the theory that LB was the same perp as LHR, BRS and PH will always be defended by any of the authorities who drew that initial conclusion, despite a lack of conclusive evidence.
OK, simple, factual:
1) Certain connections between LHR and BRS (letters, inside info) can ONLY be explained as the work of the same perp
2) Fact: Not one connection between LB and LHR/BRS can be explained ONLY as the work of the same perp.
3) Fact: The two explanations for the connections (same perp with a taste for variety/different perp who reads) are equally simple.
4) Fact: Not one difference between LB and LHR/BRS can be explained ONLY as the work of a different perp.*
5) Fact: Of the two explanations for the differences, different perp is by far the simpler, and therefore the more likely.

Howard: OK I've had my coffee. Let me posit this to you. Let's say you have your suspect dead-bang-open-and-shut life times 4 without parole on BRS, LHR and PH. Prints, DNA, Mageau suddenly has perfect recall, whatever you need. Now, with only what we now have on LB, how do you get
1) a criminal conviction (proof beyond a reasonable doubt)
2) a civil verdict (proof by the preponderance of the evidence)?


* So much for MO purism. As I said, MO variations are irrelevant to me. Its the personation differences that are more complicated to explain. Not impossible; not conclusive; just more complex, and therefore less likely.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Wednesday, April 18, 2001 - 11:02 am:

Hey Folks!
This is one of my first postings, so go easy on me please!
Some thoughts concerning the LB debate:
1. I believe that Z was trying to make his attacks at LB more personalized. In other words, he was trying to make the murders more intimate for him. Hence the knife as opposed to the gun.
2. Additionally, wouldn't have the loud report of a firearm drawn more attention to the crime scene, especially given the fact that it occurred during the day?
3. Z never intended for his victims to live and therefore the hood was clearly not intended to disguise himself from his victims. But what about the possibility of desiring to remain hidden from anybody else who might have been at the lake? Or, perhaps he WANTED something that was CLEARLY identifiable to any potential witnesses. Instead of telling the police that they saw a man in a mask or, let's say a stocking, the Z hood would never have been mistaken by anyone (ie, the hood was black. No. It was red. No. I believe it was navy blue. Etc.). Any possible eyewitnesses would have focused on the hood's emblem. Z would probably have desired this type of identification/description.
4. I have no doubt in my mind that Z would have shot the couple if they'd attempted to thwart his attack and resist being tied up. This is probably one of the more unfortunate aspects to the LB crime. If Bryan HAD resisted, and there's enough reason to believe that he at least contemplated doing so, he may have come out victorious and Z's murdering days would have come to an end. It's sad to think that Bryan allowed himself to be tied up in the first place. Surely he should have known at that point that robbery was not his attacker's intention. Personally, I would have risked taking the bullet as opposed to being rendered completely helpless. Don't get me wrong, I feel for Bryan and Cecilia. Panic can completely cloud your judgement.
5. If the guy who attacked Bryan and Cecilia was not Z, then why did he stop trying to copycat him? I can't accept postulations that a different guy would stop killing after only one attack, especially if he went through all the trouble of making it look like Z did it. Given the savage nature of the crime at LB, it seems unlikely that this would have been his first murder. Was this alleged "different guy" another serial killer who was also never apprehended?
6. If Z really did kill as many as he claimed, it's quite possible that he "graduated" to a more personal and advanced M.O. and signature. It's likely that he eventually began killing people with his bare hands; an even more personalized form of attack than a knife.

If you took the time to read all of this, I thank you.


By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, April 18, 2001 - 02:21 pm:

Peter: you're making the assumption that because it's more complex, it must therefore be less likely. That is MO purism, to wit: ANY slight variation proves that it has to be a different perp because then we have to make up all sorts of bizarre and twisted explanations as to why it must be the same perp.

As far as the Warren Commission report goes, it was a whitewash from the beginning, and Ford will tell you today that they made the correct judgment based on the evidence they had (which, btw, they did. Much of the evidence they needed was suppressed by Warren and Dulles because their agenda was to cover up the assassination conspiracy).

We do not have that with Z. There is no conspiracy to prove that Z was the LB perp if it was in fact someone else. The facts show that he was, and all the facts are in (unlike JFK). And if there was anything that could prove otherwise, then Z would be dropped as a potential suspect. We did exactly the same thing with CJB and Riverside. The facts seemed to indicate that Z was responsible, but now, even though he appears to have written the letters, the general consensus based on the facts is that he did not kill her.

What you call "personation 'differences'" is nothing more than signature experimentation, which is easy to explain. We must therefore, using your logic, reject every crime attributed to Z after LHR as being the work of a copycat because of the differences and the similarities. But we've gone over this before, and you don't want to admit that you're using two different sets of criteria to identify Z as the perp of some crimes, and a copycat as the perp of LB. So we're back at square one.

Either way, you are still a long way from proving that it was a different perp. And I don't understand why you want it to be a different guy.

Scott: I still think the reason he didn't use the gun is because he had no intention of using it. It's purpose was to gain power over his victims to tie them up and stab them. He wasn't afraid to use it, all he had to do was place the barrel against their heads and fire. No report that way. But he didn't want a simple execution, which his previous three murders were, hence the knife.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Wednesday, April 18, 2001 - 03:05 pm:

Ed N:
Thanks for the response. I feel that you are absolutely correct in your theory about the knife. And I can guarantee that he wasn't afraid to use the gun; the gun was how he strong armed them into submission. I honestly feel that as time progressed, Z wanted a more "intimate" contact with his victims. I don't feel that he would have announced a change in the way of "collecting slaves" if he didn't intend to do exactly that. Z was an egotist but not a liar. I feel that many of the "possible" victims attributed to Zodiac are genuine Z victims. Who's to say that he only wore the hood once? He only wore the hood once that we are AWARE of. It's quite possible that many "possible" victims also saw the hood. I know that you know this already; I'm just trying to emphasize the fact that I really believe that there are as many victims as Z claims that there are. But I digress. I have no intention of losing the train of thought in this thread. The ongoing debate between you and Peter is fascinating stuff.


By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Wednesday, April 18, 2001 - 11:00 pm:

I still think that the sensational nature of the Manson murders a few weeks before LB had something to do with the choice of weapons.

By Mark (Mark) ( - on Thursday, April 19, 2001 - 05:34 am:

Peter-I can understand where you're coming from with this devil's advocate postition but why do you bring up the lack of a letter? I think the key word here is message, why would he write a letter when he writes on the car door in big bold letters a boastful "list"? He has no need to, I imagine he got quite a thrill from tagging the victims car also. I think Howard was right on track about Zodiac's unpredictability, he was capable of anything, there seemed to be an undercurrent of compulsiveness in his actions. So rather than a letter his message was "sent" via the car door, he was just using a different mode of communication that's all. It's good to be skeptical but I think this was definately a Zodiac crime.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, April 19, 2001 - 08:22 am:

Mark: Your reasoning points to what I'd been trying to convey as well. The HOOD was a "message" for any eyewitnesses, the car door was a message to the police. The crime was committed in broad daylight, almost as though he were trying to send a message to the world, "You are no longer safe during the day now."

Douglas: God forbid that Z would allow himself to be outshined in the press! I wonder what kind of affect the media explosion following the Manson arrests had on Z?

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( on Thursday, April 19, 2001 - 09:11 am:

Mark: I bring up the lack of a letter for the same reason I examine all of the differences and similarities between LB and the others. All of the differences -- different MO, different signature, time of day, location, the hood -- can be explained in terms of either same perp or different perp. the lack of a letter is not special in that regard. The fact that there are a number of explanations for of these facts does not alter the fact that the differences exist. My approach -- as Ed correctly observes -- is to make the assumption that the simplest explanation that acounts for all of the facts is the more likely. Not conclusive, not exclusive not final or determnitive, just the more likely. Take your comment on the lack of the letter and your speculation that he didn't need one because he tagged the car. Sure its an explanation of the tag, but that's still a difference between LB and all the others that requires a relatively complex explanation, as do all the other differences. Add them up and you have pages and pages of analysis and explanation and conjecture, as opposed to: different guy.

Ed: I give up. If you need to dismiss the logic of Occam's razor as "MO purism", fine, have it your way.

As for Ford and the Warren report, however, it simply proves my point that no one who was invested in it will will back off from the single bullet -- or single perp -- theory. Ford's comment hides behind inconclusive later evidence of a conspiracy (which the Congressional investigation identified in terms of probability, BTW, not a conclusive finding). None of the later conspiracy evidence was necessary to refute the basic premise of the warren report. They had all the evidence they needed at the time of the Warren investigation to dismiss the absurd single bullet theory: the Zapruder film, seven wounds, a pristine bullet and the laws of physics.

AS to your comment about my logic eliminating every crime after LHR as Z: you're not paying attention. The logic calls for the simplest theory that accounts for all of the facts. ALL of them, (got that ?) including the letters, the inside info and Stines shirt. These are very difficult -- if not impossible -- to explain in terms other than that they were all Z. The simplest explanation for all of the facts of LHR, BRS and PH is therefore that one perp did all three. Not so with LB. You simply do not have any such facts that are anything like that difficult to explain in terms of another perp.

As far as being "a long way from proving" that LB was a different perp; that's neither my intent nor my claim. My intent is to point out that the "authorities" are a long way from proving that it was the same perp. Would you -- or anybody out there -- like to take up my challenge to Howard? The defense spots the prosecution three convictions -- LHR, BRS and PH. Better yet, to make it more interesting, instead of a conviction, Defendant X gets immunity on LHR, BRS and PH just as an incentive to solve the crimes. Full confession, including additional inside info wraps up all three. But he's got immunity, remember, so he walks from those three and doesn't even do time unless you, the prosecutor, can nail him on LB. How do you do it? As ALA must have instructed his students: Show your work . . .

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, April 19, 2001 - 09:49 am:

Peter: Allow me to take a "stab" at this, as it were. If a handwriting expert could provide testimony that the handwriting on the car resembled that of Zodiac, this would in essence constitute a confession, would it not? If the knife and sheath found at ALA's home in 1971(?)could be matched to the wounds on Cecilia or Bryan, maybe even through the use of DNA, this would provide a murder weapon, right? And then, you have the body of Cecilia Shepherd to throw into the mix, and what do you come up with? A body, a murder weapon, and a confession. What more would you need to get a conviction for the LB crime? Furthermore, I KNOW that this is a bit of a stretch, but wouldn't the elaborate hood with Z's sign on it also serve as a confession of sorts?


By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, April 19, 2001 - 11:37 am:

Even if you had to throw out all of the evidence that was directly linked to Z, it would be hard to refute DNA evidence that has yet to be considered. In essence, even if Z wasn't convicted of the LH, PH, BRS, murders, the DNA would be NEW evidence. I'm trying to take into account Peter's "Defendant X" example that assumes we had a suspect who was granted "immunity" to begin with. I wonder what the probabilities of that are?

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Thursday, April 19, 2001 - 01:59 pm:

Sorry, Scott, I guess I was not clear on the rules of the game. If you had all that you wouldn't need LHR, BRS or PH. I meant to posit that the proof would be based on what we now have, not on what the prosecutor would like to have. this is a way of testing the sufficiency of the present evidence that LB was a Z-deed. I would appreciate your taking another stab at it, pun intended, from this perspective. Based on what we know now, how does a prosecutor get a conviction on LB , given absolute proof and identity of the LHR/BRS/PH killer?

BTW, the hood -- like all the opther personation -- is no kind of confession unless (1) you have already established the wearer was Z, which is what you are trying to prove, or (2) only the LHR/BRS killer knew about it at the time of LB. The Z-sign was well publicized, as were all of the other points of similarity between LHR/BRS and LB. Easy for anyone to copy. Another hint. Work on the handwriting angle. I have asked I don't know how many times for direct corroboration of the common assertion that Sherwood Morril ID'd the Ghia handwriting as that of Z. No one has ever responded with a copy of or even direct knowledge of Morrils analysis. I have my doubts about Morrill, but I would at least like to get some direct confirmation -- other than the bare assertion that it exists -- of a Morril analysis.


By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, April 19, 2001 - 04:31 pm:

Peter: Not sure about Morrill's involvement with the handwriting on the car door. As for, "Based on what we now know," a prosecutor wouldn't be able to get a conviction for the LB crimes. However, he probably wouldn't be able to get a conviction for LHR, BRS, or PH, either. However, it has been asserted before that the police were very close to making an arrest just prior to ALA's death. I feel there is a lot of evidence that was uncovered in the 1991 search warrant that we know nothing about. I truly believe that, had Allen lived long enough, he would have been indicted on murder charges. But what would be the point of rushing the investigation if your prime suspect was dead? I'll try to find out the status of the writing on the car door. I feel sure that I've read something about it before. I'll be glad to investigate this and find out if the writing had ever been analyzed by a handwriting expert.
Tom? Did I overlook or forget something? I'm still trying to read all of the posted messages, so forgive me if I've yet to come across it.

One more thing, Peter. If a handwriting expert did analyze the car door, and concluded that it was the work of Z, would this quash your theory about a second perp?
I'll be happy to have another "stab" at your ideas when I've gathered more information.


By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Thursday, April 19, 2001 - 06:01 pm:

Peter: I am not dismissing the logic of Occam's Razor. It cuts both ways. You see the different perp as being simpler with lots of bizarre explanations being needed if we assume it was actually Z. I see it just the opposite: the simplest explanation demands it be Z, while we must need lots of bizarre explanations if we assume it was actually a different perp.

I have paid attention to everything you've written so far, and if I go by your side of the Razor, I must eliminate everything after LHR as being the work of a copycat.

Either way, a suspect can be put away for life based on circumstantial evidence. Those twelve points I outlined above I suspect would be more than enough to convict Z of the LB crime, with signature experimentation to prove the differences weren't because of a different guy.

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Friday, April 20, 2001 - 12:07 pm:

Scott: The handwriting analysis would satisfy my inquiry for proof of the same perp if (big if) it is both conclusive and convincing. My problem with Morril is that he is reported to be the lone proponent of a match between the undisputed Z letters and the 1978 Toschi letter, which was otherwise unanimously declared a forgery. He is also reported as identifying the Bates letters as Z's, which I find implausible, as well as the desk poem, which I find patently absurd.

Ed: Sure you can get a conviction on circumstantial evidence. Do you know how hard it is? Circumstantial evidence is defined as proof from which some intermediate inference must be made. Direct evidence is defined as proof that tends to establish a fact without the proof of any other fact. Until the revision of the federal rule of evidence 404, evidence of other crimes was inadmissible in most jurisdictions unless the pattern of conduct was so clear that it amounted to unique signature. This usually meant that even signature could not be admitted if was tainted by public disclosure. This may seem to be an arcane legal rule, but it is based on the empirical conclusion that except for unmistakable signature or identical pattern, such evidence was given far more weight by juries than it rationally deserves. Under rule 404, other crimes "May" be admissible, but subject to challenge as being more prejudicial than probative. What all this means is that the courts recognize that juries tend to do just what most investigators have done with LB: attribute far more significance to the few points of similarity between LB and the others than is rational.
BTW: "signature experimentation" is hardly a simple explanation for all the variations at LB. Its just a label for a very complex explanation that would have to establish among other things a psychological consistency between the LB behavior the previous 2 crimes and PH. Not a simple task at all.
OK, let's look at your 12 points of similarity on the "core elements" quoted from your post above:

1) A couple was the target, as demonstrated by the previous two crimes;

PH (remember PH? our boy did that one, too)was a lone male. No pattern there. Not so unusual, either. The 1963 Santa Barbara slaying was also a couple as were Tate/LaBianca (2 couples) and many more.

2) The area the crime was committed was remote and nearly deserted, as demonstrated by the previous two crimes;

Good place for any crime, no? Except that PH was downtown SF, as unremote as it gets. Are remote locations unusual for such crimes? Yosemite, Appalachian trail, Green River . . .

3) The place the crime was committed occurred near water, as demonstrated by the previous two crimes;

I would bet that most of us reading this right now are as near water as the LHR and BRS scenes. I am, and there is a body of water in the name of the street outside my door. PH was much farther from water and had none in the street name.

4) The place the crime was committed had a name relating to water, as demonstrated by the previous two crimes;

See 3)

5) Z cruised the area looking for victims, as at LHR and possibly BRS;

Cruisng? At LHR a car was seen cruising the gate area over an hour before the crime. There is no evidence linking that car to any killer. "Possibly" at BRS. Objection: speculative. Sustained. At LB he stalked on foot for a long time. Of course he was looking for victims: these were random killings, remember?

6) He left the scene of the crime immediately after the crime, as demonstrated the previous two times;

Nope. He walked back to the Ghia, and hung around to tag the car door. Then, presumably he left, but we don't know when or how fast. He left the previous two scenes directly in his car. At LB, he left the immediate scene on foot, walking (several hundred feet?) back to the cars. At PH, he hung around wiping the cab, left on foot, car not involved that we know of.

7) He left in a leisurely manner after the commission of the crime, as was done at BRS;

You have no evidence of how he left LB or LHR, and he hauled buns out of BRS according to both Mageau and George Bryant. He walked from PH. Any way he leaves LB he has to match one of them.

8) He left the victims out in the open where they could be found, as demonstrated by the previous two crimes;

Nope: Mageau and Ferrin were in the car, as was Stine. M & F could have been there for days after, for all the killer knew. In fact at LHR it appears he actually forced them from the car with his fire, but pinned them in at BRS.

9) He used a different weapon in the commission of the crime (which was demonstrated in the three other known Z crimes);

I love this one: the other three were by firearms, but of different types, so using a knife is point of similarity rather than of difference? You're kidding, right?

10) He called the police as soon as possible after the crime (a new signature element, used only once before), in order to claim credit for it;

Its not signature if its new, by definition. No call either at LHR or PH and the one after BRS was less than 40 minutes later, and at LB over an hour: hardly ASAP after either crime. That's about a 100 percent variation between the timing of the first call and the second.

11) He chose a phone located within half a mile of the police station/sheriff's department (a new signature element, done only once before);

How much of downtown Napa or Vallejo is NOT within 1/2 mile of a police or sheriff's station? "Only once before" makes it personation but not signature or even part of a pattern. Also it was well publicized that Z had previously made a call. Also he never made another call, not after PH. So you've got two crimes with phone calls and two without.

12) He described the location of the bodies in reference to a known starting point (a new signature element, done only once before).

I love this one almost as much as 9).
What an unusual way to describe a location: a given distance from a reference point. Actually, he didn't use a reference point at BRS, just "if you go one mile east" but no "starting point" is given.

So what's the box score here? You have exactly three of your twelve points (couple, remote area, water in the place name) that match two of the other crimes, LHR and BRS. Of the other 9, you have exactly one addtional point similar to LHR, leaving the bodies out in the open. Of the same 9, you have one additional point with BRS, the phone call. Two if you count think the location within a one mile circle is significant. Of the 12 points, You have exactly zero similarities with Stine.
The scantness of the similarities alone is enough to leave reasonble doubt of any connection between LHR/BRS/PH and LB. Everynone of them, which you term "core" elements, is 1) not unusual (with the possible exception of the phone call, and 2)highly publicized shortly before LB. I doubt the judge would even let this case get to a jury, much less that a jury would accept it as proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Please note that I reach this conclusion without one word about the differences between LB and the others. (Except, of course to point out factual inaccuracies in your 12 points of similarity. The failure of proof can be based solely on the weakness of the similarities.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the defendant previously attacked two couples in remote locations with a body of water in their names. In both instances, the couples were in cars parked half a mile or so from a body of water. In addition, he killed a lone male cabbie in downtown San Francisco, nowhere near the waterfront, on a street with a tree in its name. After one of the earlier crimes he called the police to report it, actually giving directions to the location, and after another he left the bodies out in the open where they might easily be discovered. In the other two, he left them in the car. After one crime, he drove from the scene at a high rate of speed. He walked casually away from another and left the third in an unknown manner, exactly like at Lake Berryessa. Also after the two previous crimes, he left immediately, and at Presidio Heights he hung around doing something to the victim's car sort of like at Berryessa. He might possibly have been cruising for one or more of the earlier victims. Finally, we know this for certain; in each and every one of the other crimes he shot his victims with different firearms; and at Lake Berryessa, the killer used a knife. Your honor,the prosecution rests."
I really do have a serious suggestion to make. If a west coast Z conference ever happens, let's actualy do this as a trial. Let's impanel a jury of 12 folks who don't know the details of the cases, and put a defendant on trial purely on the basis of what is known about the crimes and a stipulation that he did the other three. We'll get a retired judge to rule on evidence, present the cases and give it to the jury.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Friday, April 20, 2001 - 03:37 pm:

Peter: I have to admit, that was pretty impressive. There are holes in your logic, however. I don't have the time right now to explain fully, so I shall save it for later. Besides, I'll give Ed the first shot at a rebuttal.

As for the Zodiac convention idea that you mentioned, I'd pay a high ticket price to see it go down like that!

Strangely, it seems as though you and Ed are arguing opposite sides of the same coin; the "coin" being the FACT that we have no idea who committed the crime at LB.

However, I truly believe that IF we had a suspect in custody who was connected to the LH, PH, and BRS murders, we'd also be able to nail him on LB, as well.

One more thought, if the killer at LB was not Z, then where is the real killer? Do you honestly believe that he'd copycat Z only one time, and with such savagery, and then never do it again?

More later, I promise.


By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( on Friday, April 20, 2001 - 05:40 pm:

Scott: i appreciate your reply. Ok, let me have it: say we have him dead to rights on LHR/BRS/PH. How would YOU go after the same suspect on LB?

As to whether a copy cat quit after one: Z apparently quit after Stine. Also, I am with Bill Baker, who has posited that at least the LB perp was the same as the 1963 beach double near SB. If its the same perp, he waited 6 years between those two, he could have waited another 6. BTW if it was the SB killer, he didn't exactly copycat Z. He exhibited his own MO and personation almost exclusively, adding a few superficial Z touches for cover. And it worked. He could have gone on with his own personation and MO and dropped the Z gloss, in which case he would never be tied back to LB, just as LB has not been tied back to SB. BTW In light of what Det. Baker has brought to this discussion, I am truly puzzled as to why the 1963 SB attack is not considered at least as high a possible as CJB and KJ. It is so close to LB in both personation and MO -- much more so than are BRS and LHR -- that it is highly unlikely that it is coincidental. In fact, the only element that is missing from SB that is present at LB is the Z sign and the dates of the Z priors, which obviously had not occured at the the time of SB. But I digress. Give Ed first crack at my logic, but in the meantime let me see your summation to the jury on LB.


By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, April 21, 2001 - 01:34 am:

Peter-Alright, so you think that the desk poem and other writings are not Zodiac's and that Expert Morrill was incorrect in some of his professional pronouncements;then please show me which letters and within those missives -in detail-which points you can't accept.I am prepared to debate each and every point-so what's first?

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Saturday, April 21, 2001 - 02:12 am:

Peter H and Co, if we were to weigh these "Lake B wasn't Z" threads, they would easily exceed 1000 pounds. Any chance we can just agree to disagree?

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( on Saturday, April 21, 2001 - 09:23 am:

Howard: I am not and never have claimed to be a handwriting analyst. Are you? If so, you could make a huge contribution here and provide your qualifications and complete analysis of the writings. If not, the debate you propose would just be a spitting contest between the uneducated. As other non-experts on this site have done, I could give you -- and in fact have in the past -- this layman's perspective on some clearly apparent differences between the authenticated letters on one hand and the Ghia, Bates letters and poems on the other. That, however, would be no better than any of other lay opinions, which vary from "the Ghia door is different, but that's because . . ." to "the Ghia door is exactly the same . . .". I do not believe that line of inquiry by non-experts is very productive. My approach is different in two ways.
One: I am still looking for direct information on any expert analysis of the Ghia door, Bates letters and poem. I am willing to be convinced by competent experts, including Morril. As I have said before, however, my doubts about Morril, based on his reported stand on the 1978 Toschi letter, create a heavier burden of proof of his accuracy, but I am open to it. Come to think of it, I haven't seen any direct evidence of his 1978 analysis, so I would also have to say that I can't assume that my information on him in that regard is accurate either. I would have to see all of his work on the Ghia, Bates letters, poem AND Toschi letter to be confident of an objective take on the whole body of writing.
Two: I defer to the experts on handwritng, but not on content. I am absolutely with Mike from Oklahoma on his psychological analysis of the poem, (see: Letters; the Desk-Top Poem)which precisely reflects my literary interpretation and that of a good sample of teachers and practitioners of poetry. My acceptance ofthe authentication of the non-controversial Z-letters is also based to a significant extent on content. Information in the early letters could only have come from one with first-hand knowledge of the killings, whcih is either the killer, a close associate, or the investigators. The latter is so unlikely (and would require a very complex set of behavior) that I believe it can be dismissed, leaving the perp or one close to him. The same cannot be said of the Ghia door, the Baates letters, the poem, or for that matter the 1978 Toschi letter. No content in any of them not available publicly.

Ed: Scott is waiting for you to take a shot before he lets me have both barrels. Do you have a rebuttal to my take on on your 12 points?

Scott: I guess Ed has chosen not to reply. Won't you please follow up at least with your take on the holes in my logic. I would like an opportunity to repair them, if you would oblige me.

Tom: If I read you right, you are suggesting dropping this debate because it has attracted so much attention. Interesting position. Have you taken that position on any other relevant debate? Why, I do believe that LB-was-Z has evolved to the level of Sacred Cow. (Oscar, that's your cue . . .)

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Saturday, April 21, 2001 - 01:16 pm:

Oscar's gone.

I don't have a problem with discussion or debate, hence this message board, but the posts in this thread have been extremely repetitive for months. Additionally, Peter can't seem to make a point using less than 15,000 words.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Saturday, April 21, 2001 - 02:14 pm:

Tom: I agree that this thread is becoming extremely repetitive, so I shall be brief.

Peter: According to the CA DOJ, the handwriting on the car door at LB HAS been analyzed, and they are of the opinion that it matches all of the known Zodiac letters. What more do you need? If the CA DOJ doesn't think it was a different perp, then why do you? It seems to me that your assertion that the LB perp was not Zodiac is far more complicated than showing that he was.

I reiterate, the CA DOJ believes, based upon their analysis, that Z left the message on the car door. What more do you need or want?


By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Saturday, April 21, 2001 - 08:04 pm:


Sorry about Oscar. What happened?


I've heard _about_ CADOJ's assertion before, always 2d, 3d, or 4th hand, never an original source or basis. That's what more I want. I have explained why I don't think anyone has proven it was the same perp. No one has explained why DOJ thinks it was.

Nope. The assertion is 2 words: different guy. We haven't seen the _showing_ that it was the same guy, yours or Ed's. Trace this thread back and look at all the explanations for the LB variations.

So what about the "holes" in my logic? Still waiting.

Ed: Still waiting.

Tom: 106 words.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Sunday, April 22, 2001 - 05:03 am:

What happened to Oscar? Was he banished for heterodoxy? Cavorting with the wrong crowd?

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Sunday, April 22, 2001 - 09:59 am:

Peter: Two things:

1. The DOJ BCII report says, "additional investigation REVEALED that the person who had printed on the car door was the SAME INDIVIDUAL who had sent letters to the (newspapers)."
Emphasis is mine.

2. I'm still trying to build my case with regard to "holes in your logic." Please be patient.

Tom: Are you going to allow this thread to continue for a while longer? If not, there's no sense in posting a lengthy rebuttal to Peter's assertion, "it was a different guy."


ps. Peter, I'm still trying to determine if you'll stick to your theory if it has been maintained by the DOJ that it was the same guy who wrote both the letters and the message on the car door. In fact, I do believe that the aforementioned quote has already been cited in this thread before.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Sunday, April 22, 2001 - 12:39 pm:

"I do believe that the aforementioned quote has already been cited in this thread before."

Scott, just about everything in these threads about Lake Berryessa has been repeated.

How about this: anyone who has something new to add to the discussion, post it here. Those of you that want to cover the same material, e-mail each other.

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( on Monday, April 23, 2001 - 07:40 am:

Tom: 1)A direct quote or description of the BASIS for DOJ's conclusion -- or an admission that none exists -- would be new.

2) So would a step-by-step proof that LB was Z, which is what I thought ed was going to do with his 12 points, and its apparently what Scott has in mind. I think that's worth looking at, particularly in view of Scott's apparent qualifications - and Ed's known expertise -- to provide it.

Scott. It is NOT my assertion that LB was a different guy: there is obviously no conclusive proof either way. My assertion is only that based on what has been made known, that is the more likely explanation of all the facts. My position on LB is similar to Tom's position on ALA in this respect: as I appreciate it, Tom does not assert that ALA was Z, but that he is the best suspect, i.e. that he is more likely to be Z than is any other susupect.

Nor is it my goal to prove -- or even convince -- that LB was not Z. My intent all along is to elicit a the best proof reasonably possible that LB is Z, by challenging the assertion.

As to your PS: I'll stick to my theory as long as all we know s that "DOJ has MAINTAINED that it was the same guy". Law enforcement has MAINTAINED a lot of things about this case with little or no basis, and we deserve to know whether this is one of them. The very fact that the DOJ report cites only "further investigation" without saying what that investigation consists of raises my suspicions. One reason the report of DOJ's assertion that an investigation "revealed" anything is that similar assertions have been made as to prints, which further direct information turned out not to have revealed anything. I am lookng for similar direct information on the handwriting. That would be new and makes this thread worth continuing. If it turns out that the basis for the assertion of DOJ's "revelation" has no more basis than the simnilar preliminary assertions as to prints, then it becomes more and more likely that we are dealng with 2 perps. Wouldn't that be important to know?

By Mike (Mike) ( - on Monday, April 23, 2001 - 09:46 am:


It seems odd that another perp would spring from nowhere and not only try to frame Z for crimes but do so in such a bizarre fashion. The hood worn at LB was not solely a disguise. It was part of a fantasy. Did this other person get inside Z's head for just one day and then disappear?

Furthermore, the hood at LB was an executioner's hood. This seems to anticipate Z's letters about the Mikado/Lord High Executioner. Did Z then copy the theme of an executioner by "copycatting the copycat" (by adopting the executioner theme in his later letters)? Or might it have been that the hood/LB attack was all part and parcel of an escalation of Z's overall fantasy? In that case, Occam's razor comes down on the side of Z having done LB.


By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Monday, April 23, 2001 - 09:48 am:

Peter: I agree that "looking for similar direct information on the handwriting," IS important. In fact, until the DOJ officially CONCLUDES (based upon a formal handwriting analysis) that the writing on the door is unquestionably that of Z, then I agree with your reasoning about the possibility of two perps. However, until such a conclusion becomes manifest, we're probably doing nothing more than chasing our tails here.

I believe that Tom is correct, maybe we just need to agree to disagree. However, in one of the other threads (I would rather not name drop), it was asserted that the DOJ's "further investigation," WAS formal handwriting analysis.

Feel free to e-mail me, Peter. I'd be happy to continue this discussion privately. Given the nature of this case, it would be unreasonable and irresponsible to claim ANYTHING as factual without conclusive evidence.

Tom: HELP! Is there anything out there that would substantiate that the DOJ's conclusions were based upon handwriting analysis?


By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( on Monday, April 23, 2001 - 02:18 pm:


I agree that the hood seems like more than a disguise, a fantasy perhaps, certainly disctinct personation. Your characterizations beyond that, however are pure assumption and speculation. What evidence is there that such a fantazy came from 'Inside Z's head"? There isn't another instance of the hood anywhere. It is also an assumption that it is an executioners' hood in Z's mind. How do we know what it was in the mind of the wearer? The Koko connection is one possible connection, but there is no evidence for it: certainly the LB personation didn't take it any further than the wearing of the hood.

Another LB perp needn't have "sprung out of nowhere". Look at the 1963 Santa Barbara beach slayings. They track LB in every known detail except the superficial Z signature, which anyone could adopt. He certainbly didn't have to get inside Z's heas to do that: he only had to read the papers. If this was "part and parcel" of an accelerating fantasy of Z's, he suddenly stopped it on a dime and gave nine cents change. Occam's razor certainly does not come down on the side of Z then dropping it completely, as he certainly did at PH and thereafter.


Don't give up on me now, buddy. Your (anticipated) point-by-point is precisely what I have been trying to elicit here for months, and you are the first and only to step up. I may be on the verge of being convinced, here.

Tom: One other new thing: my suggestion for a trial of the LB facts is a serious one. Whatever DID happen to the idea of a Z conference? I was hoping that was serious, too. Certainly LB as second perp deserves at least as much examination as Ted or Bruce as Z, both of which theories get a lot of play here, repetitive and otherwise.


By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Monday, April 23, 2001 - 03:38 pm:

Man, I should have done this months ago:

*State Of California
*Department Of Justice
*Bureau Of Criminal Identification And Investigation Report
Melvin H. Nicolai, Special Agent
Kenneth Horton, Supervising Special Agent

"On October 7, 1969 Mr. Sherwood Morrill, Questioned Document Examiner, advised that the person who had printed the message on the victims' vehicle at Lake Berryessa was the same individual who had sent handprinted letters to the Vallejo Times Herald, San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner claiming to have murdered three persons in Solano County."

By Brian D (Brian) ( - on Monday, April 23, 2001 - 05:21 pm:

Thank you. Hopefully this will answer the same question being asked for the past few months.
I've been following this conversation (monologue?)
for quite a while and that was the only decisive thing I have seen.

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( on Monday, April 23, 2001 - 06:00 pm:

Tom: 1. Thank you.
2. Uh, yes, that would have been appreciated, but it is all the more, now.
3. Uh, is anything more available on either Morrill's actual analysis or whether there were any other corroborating or dissenting analyses? Sorry, but as I have said before, there is the 1978 Toschi thing, and I have to ask.

Brian: Yes, this answers one of the questions: that is, whether The Man himself ever made the assertion on the Ghia door. What it doesn't answer is . . . I think I'll let it go at that for now.

Scott: Suffice it to say that this information, while clarifying, leaves enough unanswered that your take is more welcome now than ever. Tom has landed a good jab: let's see the rest of the combination, because I can assure you, I am a counterpuncher.

Ed: ?


By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Monday, April 23, 2001 - 07:45 pm:

Peter: I haven't been ignoring you, I work weekends and rarely get a chance to post then (I thought everyone knew that by now). Last time I checked for messages was approximately 3.4 days ago (you do the math), and, to be honest, I'm quite surprised. For the last several weeks, I could catch up on all of the weekend's posts in 10 or 15 minutes; this afternoon, I spent almost two hours attempting to catch up (just like the old days).

Your argument has holes in it (as do mine, as you pointed out), but I tried to exclude PH and base Z's presumed guilt for LB only on his previous two crimes.

Your inclusion of SB into the discussion is erroneous based on your own reasoning, because the victims were not stabbed, but were in fact shot. The SB perp then tried to burn the bodies in the shack. Ooops. Couldn't possibly be Z. Must be a different guy, based on the way you view Occam's Razor, signature, MO and personation.

In any case, I shall have to go over your "argument" again, and rebut it. In the meantime, Scott, feel free to go first. I was a little hesitant to continue with this thread, as Tom pointed out that it has become repetitive, but if we make this our last shot at it, we can let everyone else read both parts and make up their own minds.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Monday, April 23, 2001 - 07:48 pm:

I should have said, "Couldn't possibly be the LB copycat. Must be a different guy..."

By Brian D (Brian) ( - on Monday, April 23, 2001 - 11:47 pm:

I think that the way the Lake Herman Road murders contrast (Modus Operandi wise) with the Blue Rock Springs killings is as divergent as that of Lake Berryessa and Presidio Heights are with any combination thereof. In the LHR crime, the killer seemed determined to drive the kids from the car for whatever reason he had. The police record 10 shots being fired. The first four were fired into the car with a view toward forcing the kids out the door.
BRS was more of a true "blitz" style attack in that the killer returned minutes after driving off a first time and approached the car without giving any indication of his intentions and without a word began firing. He made no attempt to force the kids out of the car as at LHR and departed when his "work" was done to his satisfaction. I can find no evidence that suggests he was driven from any crime scene by approaching witnesses, either in a car or on foot.
He may have seen the kids in the house across the street in PH but it doesn't seem to have caused him to depart the scene any sooner.
The reason I make these points here is that there are enough legitimate points of contention regarding MO in all the accepted Zodiac attacks that a subjective reading of evidence and personal opinion could argue that each attack was the work of a different man making the whole case a sham.
I don't claim to be a forensics expert but psychologically speaking, a need to "run the show" and taking complete control seems to be the common thread running through these killings with the chief physical evidence being the handwritten letters and ciphers.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 02:15 am:

Peter-Hello again!The '63 SB went awry as the male victim's body indicated trauma such as one finds on a body of a victim that was engaged in a life or death struggle.There are indications that the victims were to be tied, but the male broke free and fought("Some of them fought it was horrible"said Z's card)and the perp shot the male and the female.Not ALL of the details were given to the public-and det. Baker can keep details to himself unless he sees fit to relate them for his own reasons.I believe Z planned to stab them , but the male broke loose and fought.Z fulfilled his fantasy at LB ,but this time he was experienced in managing his victims.

What I am saying-partially- is that Baker is very conservative and he sees Zodiac as a strong possibility, but he must do this while at the same time not give away the store.He has given enough out to raise strong suspicions that the SB'87 was a Z hit.There are other members, both former and present of the SBPD, that believe that Z may very well be their man.

Since all, or lets say, most of the parallels between SB and LB have been delineated and posted it won't be necessary to put them out again.

I affirm that if Hartnell-like the male victim at SB- would have tried to resist,we could have had quite a different crime scene that day;Z having learned from the SB site to make certain the victims should be securely bound .Also,Z showed Hartnell that the gun was loaded-it was not for show!

Zodiac displayed the same confidence at LB as witnesses describe at BRS and S.F.-he 'walked slowly away' from the scene-a Z trait!

Just thinking about these two sets of crimes makes one wonder why there should be a moratorium on the death penality.Now, if the serial killers and other murderers have their own moratorium on killing then lets think about the present suggestion,if not lets fire up ol' Bertha!

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 08:14 am:

Ed: Sorry, didn't mean to get impatient with you. Thanks for hanging in, My point in bringing SB into it was to offer a complete alternate theory, but to answer Mike's comment that it is unlikely that an LB copycat would "spring from nowhere". SB makes LB much more plausible either as a Z copycat (or as signature experimentation if LB turns out to be Z) who did not spring from nowhere.
I do happen think it is more likely than not that SB and LB were the same perp for the reasons that Bill Baker has shared, and so I wonder why it is not generally considered a possible. There is a much better connection there than with Donna Lass and at least as good as CJB or KJ.

Howard: Z displayed such a wide range of behavior that almost anything could be described as "a Z trait". He didn't walk slowly away from BRS as did at PH, he peeled out and sped away. He left BRS and apparently LHR immediately, while the perps lingered at LB and PH to tag or wipe the repective cars.

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 08:16 am:

Oops. I meant to write "my point was NOT to offer a comnplete alternate theory".

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 10:56 am:

Peter: At the moment, I feel that I must concede to Tom's wishes. He's expressed his concern about the repetitive nature of this thread and, given the fact that this is HIS message board, I have no desire to anger him.

E-mail me and we can continue this discussion further. Unless I receive a green light to continue forward with this thread, I've no choice but to respect Tom's wishes.



Ps. Thanks Tom for the info that you posted at 3:38 on April 23rd. I honestly don't know what else needs to be said with regard to the car door at LB. It seems pretty black and white to me.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 12:41 pm:

And until Toschi admits that he forged the 1978 letter, I see no proof that Sherwood Morrill ever made a mistake authenticating Zodiac's handwriting.

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 02:09 pm:

No Proof? May I quote Jake?

TO wit:

"By August [1978], no fewer than four experts, including Keith Woodward, former chief of the LAPD's document department; Robert Prouty, the specialist bypassed by Toschi in April; his BCII colleague Terrence Pascoe; and John Shimoda, the Postal Service expert who had initially confirmed the letter; had determined that the April letter was a fake, "a carefully drawn copy of the true Zodiac printing .... constructed by a person that had access to printed letters of the Zodiac" [Footnote 3]. The lone holdout to this finding was the retired Sherwood Morrill, whose bitter statements to the media revealed a determined loyalty to Toschi and a great disrespect for Gain".

(Jake Wark)

To a jury, that's proof enough.

Scott: I would be glad to email you, but you need to reconfigure your log in on this site to allow it. Or post your email address.

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 02:17 pm:

Tom and Peter (and everyone), I've just started a new thread for this line of conversation, if you want to keep it going.

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 05:36 pm:

Thanks, Jake, see you there.

By Esau (Esau) ( - on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 05:56 pm:

I seriously doubt that a professional like Sherwood Morrill would put his career and reputation on the line because he thought Toschi was a cool dude and Chief Gain was a jerk. I may be incorrect but as far as I know the only reason anyone ever suspected Toschi of the 1978 forgery is because of the infamous press conference to announce that the letter was a forgery and Toschi was being demoted to pawn shop detail. If Feinstein really was thinking of appointing Toschi to the position of Chief Of Police when elected mayor that would be a huge threat to the police brass and there's a good motive for the press conference. Another good example of political agendas getting in the way of the truth.

By Esau (Esau) ( - on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 06:00 pm:

I left out that Toschi admitted to forging fan letters about himself. That doesn't mean that he forged a Zodiac letter. Just my humble opinion.

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Wednesday, April 25, 2001 - 09:03 am:

I think he admitted to "one" fan letter. I also don't think he forged any z letter. He was the only one back in the early 70's who kept intouch with me on the man who was either playing he was Z or is z. Toschi wanted me to get a hand written note from the guy, the only one I had at that time was in cursive, a love letter! At the end of that letter , he wrote : fighting the urge to add, non- plus. It was unsigned, and sent to me in 69 in Napa. The cursive was fancy in a feminine way.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Wednesday, April 25, 2001 - 01:53 pm:

Peter: I sent you an e-mail with my e-mail address. Let me know if you didn't get it.

It seems that a lot of people are in agreement about the handwriting on the car door at Lake Berryessa. Perhaps this matter has been put to rest?

Jake: Will check out the new thread. Thanks.


By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( on Wednesday, April 25, 2001 - 02:02 pm:


The email embedded in my posts is no longer correct. Reach me/resend to


By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, April 25, 2001 - 07:38 pm:

Peter-Please read my post! I was referring to Zodiac 'slowly' WALKING away from the crime scene at BRS as given by Mageau.At LB it is Harnell that recounts that the perp walked 'slowly' away or at a normal pace.The teen witnesses indicated that they observed the same thing-a normal stride and pace. The DOJ says Z walked from the scene "NONCHALANTLY"!On every occasion Zodiac had good reason to rush from the scene, but like at Berryessa did not!

On 11/9/69 Zodiac wrote"...up to the end of Oct I have killed 7 people", which includes our lone LB victim.The clincher is 11/8/69 "Des July Aug [I have my theory on who these two unknowns are]SEPT=ONE, OCT=7."D =2,J=1,A=2,SEPT =ONE/LB and O=1=SEVEN!And Zodiac's circle or wheel of death with the x's has a sector for SEPT!(EMP mine) finis.

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( on Thursday, April 26, 2001 - 01:56 am:

Howard: I read it. Walking back to his car, parked a few feet away, is not exactly leaving the scene. Peeling out and hauling buns was leaving the scene. Likewise at LHR a car likely to have been Z's was observed speeding from the scene. At LB, we don't know how the perp left the scene, only how he left Hartnell. We do know that he wasted no time lingering at BRS, while he spent time wiping Stines cab, and at LB the perp stayed to tag the car. Point is z displayed sucha broad range of behavior, some characteristics of just about any hit are likely to match some of it.

Problems with the total of 7: 1) depends on assumptions about too many variables: August =x. Give me an open ended formula like that and I can make any number match any other number. 2) No objective evidence. 3) Z was a lair. Tie in 2 for August and the numbers match, but so what. Sept might have been LB or another unknown. Z's own talliea go all over the place, and he claimed one or two outright that he couldn't have done. Finis? Not even QED.

By The Fife (Thefife) ( - on Thursday, July 26, 2001 - 11:24 am:

Tom V

I was wondering. I have noticed on the LB artist's drawing of the guy with the rounder face, that there is a line drawn in on the left forehead. I haven't noticed where that is explained. Do you know why that line is there?

Tom F

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Thursday, July 26, 2001 - 11:50 am:

My bet is something got on the xerox machine when the composites were being printed, as the suspicious person was never described as having anything unusual on his forehead.

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Wednesday, August 01, 2001 - 06:01 pm:

It looks deliberate to me, like showing his hair was slightly unkept.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Wednesday, August 01, 2001 - 06:22 pm:

Sandy, the suspect was not described as having messy hair, or anything unusual on his forehead.

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Saturday, August 04, 2001 - 08:32 pm:

I wouldn't call one hair out of place messy. Looking at the drawing, the other lines were about as thick as the one on his forhead.It wouldn't be something to comment on, after all that one hair wouldn't get him caught.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Saturday, August 04, 2001 - 10:18 pm:

Sandy, try hard and understand: the sketch was based on the descriptions of the three girls.
None of the girls ever mentioned the suspect had that characteristic.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Friday, August 09, 2002 - 01:26 pm:

Just in a general sense.....Why do you think scrutinizing MO is important in relation to LB,when Zodiac shows he was capable of changing that at P.H?

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Monday, August 12, 2002 - 09:11 am:

Good question. The short answer is: because it is so completely different at LB.

The implication of the question is correct: MO is not as important as such other things as personation and signature. I think the most dyed in the wool profilers will say that MO can change significantly without a change in personation. But if you look closely I think you find that MO at PH has significant elements in common with LHR and BRS, whereas LB has almost nothing in common. Definition of MO I refer to is only those acts necessary to perform the elements of the crime and escape detection. The means of the crime, not the meaning of the crime. Anything not necessary to the criminal act but carrying some personal significance for the perp falls under personation.

You look at the MO elements: weapon, type of wound, location of the victim in the car, cover of darkness: at least a few things remain at PH. Others are opbviously different: urban locale, approach and escape on foot, hailing the cab. But the only commmon element I would ascribe to LB is remote location, which is hardly a remarkable similarity. Another interesting thing about the relationship of the LB and PH MO is that if it was the same perp, it was not a linear progression of MO, but some kind of peak at LB and a retreat to a mode more like BRS and LHR 2 weeks later.

There are, of course some similarities in MO between LB and PH, largely in the approach and escape.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Monday, August 12, 2002 - 09:36 am:

Peter, don't forget victimology. It was essentially the same at LB, and there was no overkill.

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Monday, August 12, 2002 - 09:51 am:

Doug: True, but:

Under the best definitions as I understand them, and as applied by commentators in this case, both victimology and overkill would be personation. You can find a lot of people in remote locatons who are not in a lover's lane scenario. the remote location is important to committing the crime and escaping detection: the choice of couple almst certainly has a personal mening to Z. Overkill ala CJB is also certainly personation. Lack of overkill? If that aspect MO were as obvious as say one contact wound to the occipital lobe, yeah, I would have to say that's deliberate MO. But the wounds were all over the lot: one in the head, five in the back, multiple stab wounds, non-fatal stab wounds. All I could say is that there is no obvious overkill in the personation: I certanly couldn't say that there is obvious limitation to the wounds in the MO.

There is all kinds of personation at LB in common with LHR and BRS. What I fnd remarkable about it is (1) it all consists of the most highly publicized and obvious of the Z culture and (2) the personatio that is most marked and characteristic at LB is completely different.

So I stand on my positin on this one: completely different MO and essentially different personation.

By Chrissy Shaw (Chrissy_Shaw) ( - on Monday, October 07, 2002 - 03:00 pm:

Dear Group:

I see no forensic reason to exclude the Berryessa attack and homicide from the known cases. MOs change and if one is bold enough to compare this crime scene with the non-offically linked crime in the Santa Barbara at the beach, then this crime scene fits a very long pattern of a single culprit who had an underlying desire to be quite theatrical in his homicidal fantasies. If all that were available were these two crime scenes I can see no reason on MO alone that a link would not be drawn.

The forensic evidence is conclusive regarding the overall pattern of behavior. Massive assualt upon the female, less lethal upon the male victim. Post crime behavior(at scene)claim by Z made at scene vicinity(ie:car) and call to authorities and further claims. Those are consistant factors. They also represent MO and simply a variation in manner of attack regarding weapon and the fact that this scene the suspect wore a costume is not enough to override the forensic and behavioral elements mentioned.


By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, December 08, 2003 - 09:43 pm:

On the car door at LB Zodiac wrote"Sept 27-69..."
Note this is the exact pattern of the month, day, year we find in his 7/31/69 kickoff letters.
There is "Aug-1-69,"with a capitol and abbreviation and no period after the g -just as we have on the car door.
The p in Sept has a pointed feature just as we find in Zs p's throughout mixed in throughout his letters.
The a in Vallejo is a classic Z styled a-a compressed circle with a short drooping tail.
The 6 on the door looks like the 6 in the 7/31/69(line 12) letter.
The 6:30 has two periods or 'colon' that are circle style.This rare for Z.There are the circle periods on the '66 Confession envelope.(FYI)
We find his i's in the 1/29/74 note written in this fashion.
On the 3/13/71 envelope there are two circle periods used in L.A. and the i in the second "Mail."
The 4 on the car door does not have the popular customary horizonal bar going through the center stem.This style of 4 is found in all Z letters,like the 7/31/69 Group.Even on the Halloween card 14 is used twice and we have the same kind of 4.There are several examples.
Not putting PM after the 6:30 is a nice Z touch.
"By knife" is found in the Halloween card.
Note Zs customary three stroke k in knife(he didn't always use the three stroke k and this was confirmed by Morrill-anyone can see this).
That f in knife has that Z 'sway back' appearance to it.
All words on the door were printed ,which was a Z trait.
What is like Zodiac is the fact that he had just stabbed two people and now he walks up to the victims car right NEXT to the road-a highway that the police and public used, so at any time a police and/or ranger car or civilian witness/s could drive by and either see him writing and/or finishing and going to his car,thus giving a witness a chance to ID his car.
Note:this car was DIFFERENT than the car the three young females saw earlier, as the wheel bases were different in length.I contacted General Motors for some of the info.
This bold,daring kind of trait was pure Z.We certainly see it demostrated at PH!
The fact that the writer got so many Z traits and details in the writng correct with ,no doubt,a lot of stress and being in a hurry is remarkable.

By Mike_Cole (Mike_Cole) ( - on Monday, December 08, 2003 - 11:20 pm:

Hi Howard,

Good points. I would add that there are some circle dots on the kick-off envelopes. In particular, the i's in "Calif." and "Editor" on the Examiner envelope; "Editor" on the Chronicle envelope; and probably "Editor" on the Vallejo Times Herald envelope. Also, there's a clear instance in the Examiner letter on the word "cipher" (perhaps others...). And arguably, many more of the "dots" are really filled-in circles. Of course, these occurrences are much closer in temporal proximity to the commission of the LB crime - which further bolsters the point.

Additionally, just the use of dashes ("-") in the formation of dates (e.g. 7-4-69, Sept 27-69) is a somewhat infrequent characteristic. I certainly don't have any numbers to back this up, but informally, most people use slashes ("/") (as you and others have done in this thread). I've paid attention to this fact for a while because, for a very long time, I used dashes when forming dates.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, December 09, 2003 - 12:40 pm:

Saw those(had them before me),but I was giving some examples.I was going to be more extensive on my site later.
They are not used with great frequency so this is why I listed some examples.Glad you make mention of them and placed them for others to view.

By ScottN (Scottn) ( on Tuesday, December 09, 2003 - 03:37 pm:

Howard, I am still fascinated by your use of the differing wheel bases to eliminate the car as being the one the three PUC women saw earlier in the day.

Could you be more specific as to how you arrrived at this conclusion? We know that the women saw a late model Chevy; what does your data suggest about the vehicle parked behind the Ghia?

Great work...

By Peter Hirst (Peter_H) ( - on Tuesday, December 09, 2003 - 05:56 pm:

Does Howard mean "track"? Can't imagine how one determines wheel base without having the car.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 08:32 pm:

Howdy!I took the make and model of the car the three females saw earlier in the day(9/2769) and contacted GM.They gave the measurments from each inner wheel surface to the other wheel.Since I ONLY had PD measurements in the LB report, this is the only way I could make a determination if there were two differnt cars or if they were the same-at least as far as inner wheel measurements go.
I always try to zilk every scrap of info, especially if it is scarce!
Then I found the perps(or the car parked behind BHs car)inner wheel to wheel surface measurements in the LBPD report and found they HAD to be two different cars as the measurements were different by several inches.
I assume that if this fact be so -then the wheel bases would be different too.I firmly believe they were different cars.I had gone into such detail in past posts that I just used this terminology.Sorry, as I should have just referred to the inner wheel measurements as this was as far as I could go.
Peter,you contributed to that past discussion,as I believe you have an extensive knowledge of cars,etc.,as I recall.You made some comments about'wheel bases' and so on.You mentioned,I think,how that the measurements in the PD report couldn't be the make and model of the car the three girls saw.-not that you were confirming my info(that would have given me a cardiac arrest with a stroke!),but you were offering your views on cars,wheel bases,etc.
I now recall you posted that the perps car could have been a smaller automobile than the kind the female students observed.

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 10:04 am:


"I found the perps(or the car parked behind BHs car)inner wheel to wheel surface measurements in the LBPD report and found they HAD to be two different cars as the measurements were different by several inches. "

That's "track". Wheelbase is the distance front to back between axle centers.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 01:16 pm:

I am using the KIND of terminology that is in the LBPD report when they state they 'measured the inside of the front wheel to the other front wheel inner side.'
I know what the wheel base is or means, which I tried to correct in the above post.I didn't want a misunderstanding between the two.I was attempting to stay with what the PD report has.
Either way,those two cars different.
I would like to do a check on all cars with that particular track to track measurement.
Thanx for correction.

By ScottN (Scottn) ( - on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 07:51 pm:

Howard: was the distance between the wheels of the car parked behind the Ghia greater or lesser than the data given to you by GM to describe the girls' car?

They described, I believe, a "late model Chevy" which I've always assumed was an Impala, a Bonneville or the like. If the track of the car behind the Ghia was smaller, could this indicate a sports car or a foreign car; conversely, if it was larger could it indicate a station wagon or a pick-up or??

It would be fun to track down the possible cars.