What If . . .

Zodiackiller.com Message Board: General Zodiac Discussion: What If . . .

By Billbaker (Billbaker) (pool0465.cvx38-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net - on Tuesday, January 02, 2001 - 11:07 pm:

There was a report in 1969 at a location in Napa County of a double homicide occurring on the shoreline of a body of water, that the victims were a male and female, in their late teens, who had been tied at gunpoint with pre-cut lengths of rope, and then shot, rather than stabbed, because the male victim broke away, followed by the female, forcing their assailant to open fire and kill them as they fled. Would that have not evoked an immediate connection to the Shepard/Hartnell assault at Lake Berryessa?

The killings described above were committed in 1963, in Santa Barbara County. Years and hundreds of miles removed. So? As an investigator, what would you do? As a retired investigator who worked the case since 1970, I've done what common sense directed me to do: follow the logic.

Irrespective of any critical naysayers to my reasoning, I still believe, after the nearly 40 years of investigative work that has preceded this moment, that the Zodiac is our killer. In whatever remaining years I have, unless shown, irrefutably, that he is not our killer, I will forever hold that premise as my conviction.

Sorry for my absence, but I only recently returned from being out of the country for the past three months. I can see from the archived postings that little has been resolved in the ongoing debate over the who-what-when-where issues. Maybe some day . . .

Bill Baker

By Howard (Howard) (dialup- - on Wednesday, January 03, 2001 - 02:32 am:

DET Bill- You are probably right about the 63' 87'-your work on the case was excellent and Dave Peterson thought you did a great job . As you know, in his article on the couple he links it to Zodiac.It was Peterson that got me to look at the Z traits in that case and they are there ,so stay with your convictions!Hopefully, new evidence will help further support your views.Many thanks for the report/s you posted in the past.

By Bryan (Bryan) ( on Wednesday, January 24, 2001 - 07:46 am:

Did you know Charlie Davis SBPD?

By Billbaker (Billbaker) (pool0205.cvx11-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net - on Wednesday, January 24, 2001 - 10:44 am:


Yes I did. In fact, he and my sister and her then husband were friends of his from the late 50's on. Charlie had a blue Austin Healy (or maybe it was an MG) with leather belts to secure the hood. He stopped by our house on occasion to meet with Don and Irene. They were all gymkhana enthusiasts at the time, racing their cars in local events. I didn't have much contact with Charlie at the SBPD once I became a deputy (in 1966) with the Sheriff's Dept. He was a very popular figure in town, and many, including myself, mourned his passing

By Peterh (Peterh) (adsl-141-154-78-63.bostma.adsl.bellatlantic.net - on Wednesday, January 24, 2001 - 01:02 pm:

Welcome back. You make an excellent point on the 1963 Tajiguas attack and Lake Berryessa. I buy it.

Now, by the same token: What If:
There was a report in 1964 at a location near say Ojai, of a double homicide occurring on a remote mountain road, that the victims were a male and female, in their late teens, who had been blitzed in their parked car by an assailant who drove up, unloaded ten rounds in as much time as it took to approach the car from the rear and move around to the front, and then drove off immediately. Would that have evoked any connection to the assault at Tajiguas?
Even suppose that before driving off, the assailant had written "Tajiguas 6/4/63" in black magic marker on the victims' car and even left some other piece of apparent personation that matched with the Tajiguas attack, but which was also widely publicized? Sure, there is an apparent connection, but do you assume this is the guy that did the beach attack? Suppose further that you nailed your man in the beach attack, he willingly confessed and even delighted in his description of that and numerous other very similar crimes, and he never mentions Ojai? What have you got to connect with Ojai?

While you were away, you may have missed the debate between me and about everyone else on the board about whether LB was a Z crime. My point in rephrasing your question is that there are a hell of a lot more similarities between Tajiguas and LB than between LB and any of the other Z crimes. In fact, the only connections between LB and the other Zs are widely publicized facts, a few minor elements of MO and _none_ of personations except the crossed circle.

On the other hand, MO and personation (signature?) are almost a perfect match between Tajiguas and LB.

Point is, I think it is far more likely -- even probable -- that Tajiguas and LB were the same responsible than it is that LB and any of the other confirmed or suspected Z crimes were by the same individual. What do you think?

BTW, I appreciate your response on my inquiry about the 5/10/71 (KAS) murder. I don't know if you received my email reply. I no longer believe that the Z of LB (and Tajiguas) did KAS, but I do beleive the "real" Z may have. There is also an apparent similarity between KAS and other highway killings, including I believe some of the Santa Rosa individual females of that era. I distinctly recall that either the Santa Rosa victims or some other similar series were of a particular physical profile, which KAS exemplified: short, dark, attractive, good figure. Does that ring any bells?


By Peterh (Peterh) (adsl-141-154-78-63.bostma.adsl.bellatlantic.net - on Wednesday, January 24, 2001 - 02:38 pm:

P.S. to Bill:

In your last communication to me you asserted that it was a low probability that KAS was killed by Z, in part because her .22 wounds were not characteristic of Z's weapons. I have since learned that Jensen and Farraday (LHR) were shot with .22 LR, probably from a semi-auto pistol. Consistent w/ KAS?


By Peterh (Peterh) (adsl-141-154-78-63.bostma.adsl.bellatlantic.net - on Wednesday, January 24, 2001 - 02:42 pm:


Oh. I forgot the more inmportant point: Tajiguas was .22 as well.


By Bryan (Bryan) ( on Wednesday, January 24, 2001 - 04:10 pm:

Charlie Davis was my uncle, I tried to email you but the link didnt work. Can you email me from my link.

By Billbaker (Billbaker) (pool0367.cvx38-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net - on Thursday, January 25, 2001 - 10:52 am:

Peter, I agree with you that the similarities between the 1963 murders and LB are far greater than any that would tend to connect either case with the other core Z cases. Moreover, were it not for LB being identified as a Z case, I seriously doubt that I, or anyone else, would have given credence to the Tajiguas killings being the work of Z. Taking that a step further, if, and I say IF, it were somehow proven that Z did not commit the LB killings, then I would be hard pressed to argue the Tajiguas-Zodiac connection.

I don't wish to become involved in a debate over the validity of whether Z killed the couple at LB, especially on the basis of any lack of similarities between that case and the other Z cases. There were very few similarities between LHR/BRS and Stine, yet they have been well established as being connected to Z.

The principal factors that argued against Tajiguas as a Z case were the time lapse between killings and the geographical distance of the SB County scene from the cluster of Z cases of the late 60's. As I've mentioned before, Dahmer went some 10 years between killings, as an example. And history is replete with examples of serial killers traveling far greater distances than a few hundred miles to commit their crimes. The issue of a lack of similarities is not sufficient to dissuade the vast majority of knowledgeable investigators from their belief that Z committed the crimes at LHR, BRS, LB and Stine. I side with them.

With respect to Karen's death in 1971, I told you that the weapons were dissimilar, not the caliber or general type of ammunition. The weapon was a .22, but not consistent with other known weapons used in 1963 or in 1968. And the cartridges were not Winchester-Western, as Z always used, although they were .22 LR. While this doesn't eliminate Z from the 1971 case, it doesn't support it either. .22 weapons are probably the most common caliber used in murders, and whether it is a semi-auto or a revolver or a rifle that is used, that fact alone offers little in the way of connecting one crime with another. I can't sit here and say Z didn't kill Karen, since the killer was never identified, but there is simply not enough there to suggest that he did.

By (Billbaker) (pool0367.cvx38-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net - on Thursday, January 25, 2001 - 11:06 am:

Bryan, I tried to access your email by clicking on your name, but it came back as unavailable. I did the same with my own name, with the same result. I'm at willb437@yahoo.com

By Peterh (Peterh) (adsl-141-154-81-103.bostma.adsl.bellatlantic.net - on Thursday, January 25, 2001 - 05:25 pm:


Thanks for the clarification on caliber vs. weapon type. A reasoned and professional response as always.

I respect your not wanting to be drawn into the LB debate. I have certainly learned that lack of similarity is not proof of different killers. (Although I can't help observing that in the case of the Stine vs LHR/BRS differences, there are direct, incontrovertible connections formed by the letters, the bloody shirt, and unique knowledge of crime details, whereas the LB to LHR/BRS connection includes neither similarity (at least not as much as LB/Tajiguas) nor direct ties).

The comparison to Dahmer is also interesting. But it seems unlikely to this amateur that after Tajiguas he would revert to the more conservative MO of LHR and BRS rather than continue building to the level of organization shown at LB. Is it likely that Z went through some kind of cycle about 5-6 years apart, in which he starts out with a couple of relatively simple,low risk ambush attacks and then works up to the more elaborate lake-side (or sea-side) Tajuguas/LB rituals? Do you know of any LHR/BRS style attacks in the SB area preceding Tajiguas that might support this pattern?

By (Billbaker) (pool0941.cvx5-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net - on Thursday, January 25, 2001 - 06:31 pm:

Peter, there were no other cases in the area, to my knowledge, preceding Tajiguas. Had there been any previous case however remotely bearing upon the 1963 case, I have no doubt it would have been pursued exhaustively. With respect to your observation that Tajiguas was perhaps less conservative than LHR or BRS, I should point out that the killer knew that he had made a number of tactical errors in 1963 that potentially could have ended his criminal career. If you read the details of the LB case you'll see that Z, assuming for the sake of illustration that he also committed the 1963 murders, refined his MO, perhaps learning from his past mistakes. And the lapse of time between Tajiguas and LHR (excluding Riverside for the sake of simplicity) may be due to his concern over how close he may have come to getting caught. His "successes" at LHR and BRS may have emboldened his ego and led to his reenactment at LB of his earlier sloppy performance at Tajiguas.

These, of course, are just my opinions and certainly not to be taken as any representation of expertise. I do believe that LB was Z's opportunity to redeem himself, to himself, for Tajiguas.

By (Billbaker) (pool0797.cvx11-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net - on Thursday, January 25, 2001 - 08:21 pm:

Also, if I may extend my theory a little further, Z's effort at acquitting himself of the Tajiguas debacle (where he had lost control of the victims) by staging a near carbon-copy assault on the couple at LB, also fell short of his intentions. Initially thinking that he had, in fact, succeeded in killing both victims, he left the message on the car door, followed by his call to law enforcement, unabashedly advertising his handiwork. But once it became known that the male had survived, he never mentioned it publicly again. Soon after LB he killed Paul Stine, a total departure from his past MO(s), and never took credit for a specific murder since. Almost like a public last hurrah. Perhaps, much like the 1963 case, Z felt that he had screwed up at LB and tried to distance himself from it.

Makes sense to me.

By Ed N. (Edn) (spider-ntc-tc041.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, January 25, 2001 - 10:29 pm:

Maybe that explains the "executioner's" getup worn by Z at LB. I had opined that it was a very ritualistic attack for him, and therefore surmised that it held special significance for Z. If he was reenacting the 1963 murder, then his costume might make more sense. And it makes sense that he otherwise didn't really mention it at all in his subsequent communications.

By Peterh (Peterh) (adsl-141-154-81-103.bostma.adsl.bellatlantic.net - on Friday, January 26, 2001 - 10:42 am:

Bill and EdN; Makes sense to me, too, both of your comments. I have this gut feeling thatthe LB costume was for himself, not a disguise or message (except maybe to terrify the victims), as he was apparently careful to be seen by no one but the victims once he put it on, and apparently meant to kill them both. BTW: how widely publicized was Tajiguas? Could LB merely have been inspired by it? DO any details show up in LB that only the Tajiguas killer would have known?

By Howard (Howard) (dialup- - on Saturday, January 27, 2001 - 12:35 pm:

I have been looking for a Charlie Davis . He helped me on my Z research. He had a private investigation firm in Torrance Ca. in the latter 80s. He told me he had been with the Monteray PD in the 60s and was on the look out for Z at the time.He had a contact with CII in Sac. and he requested his source to check my suspect out in the archives. Some time later he called me to his office and when we sat down he expressed great surprise that his contant could find nothing but a n empty file with a computer notation to a # for Davis. Upon checking the number he found that "access" was denied! This greaty surprised the archivist as he had never failed to get the information requested. I have changed contacts around to protect the link to the archivist.Davis was involved in the request though as given.Another eldery investigator who was semi retired, told me he could get the info due to his many years of making contacts-'your guy failed I won't 'He told me through a contact that "They got Davis buried deep"!he said!He tried another contact but in time that one failed too.Antway I wonder if the Chalie Davis' are the same. When it was said Davis had died I thought how overweight Davis was and...

By The Giant (Bryan) ( on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 12:09 pm:

You are totally wrong.

By Howard (Howard) (dialup- - on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 03:19 am:

The Giant-I was just asking It was a long shot,but I was hoping it was the CD that helped me on the case.

By Bill Baker (Billbaker) (pool0861.cvx5-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net - on Monday, February 05, 2001 - 02:05 am:

Peter, sorry for the delay in responding to your questions, but I've been out of town.

You asked how widely publicized was the 1963 SB/ Tajiguas case. I don't know, since I was in college at the time and other than local media, I can only assume that it may have been picked up by AP and UPI, which would have made the story available to just about any news medium. From my recall of the file, I don't specifically remember whether there were press clippings from news agencies outside our area. When I authored the 1972 press release linking Zodiac with the murders, it was primarily written for the wishful-thinking purpose of generating a response from the killer, not knowing at the time how wide-spread the coverage would be. I believe the LA Times carried it, and I know that Dave Peterson with the Vallejo paper had a great interest, but that was long after LB. Some of my wording, however, was also crafted to address the predictable cynicism that would certainly follow the release.

As for whether or not our case inspired someone to assault the couple at Lake Berryessa 6 years later, I can only say that I firmly believe that Zodiac was responsible for both crimes. Strictly speaking, yes, I feel that Z was inspired by the 1963 case to commit the 1969 case, but only insofar as it relates to his own need to redeem himself for his less-than-bravura peformance on the earlier caper. In other words, I can't really be objective in that answer.

Your last question, regarding then-unpublicized details common to both cases, has given me much pause. I don't recall reading media reports detailing the pre-cut lengths of cord used to tie our victims, but then again, I can't say with any certainty that he didn't cut the lengths at the scene, as needed, from a longer length he brought with him (we know he had a knife). The precise details concerning the weapon and ammunition used would not have much significance, in that the caliber and ammo were de rigueur with most murderers of the era, although the brand of ammo was not revealed publically. So much of what we know of the LB case is the product of what the male survivor has been able to relate. Sadly, we don't have that factor in our case. Consider, though, the fact that our victims were able to escape, albeit temporarily, because the killer failed to check the male's bindings that the female victim probably applied at the assailant's direction. At LB, the killer didn't rely on the female to properly bind the male. Z's control of Cecilia and Bryan was, in my opinion, a lesson learned from our case. Your questions, Peter, have given me cause to reflect on my own bases of understanding how our case ties into the other Z crimes. I thank you for that.

Peter, there's really nothing I can add to the debate over Z's alleged involvement in LB, nor the 1963 case, for that matter. I still think Z did both. For those people that prescribe to the venerable precept that focusing in on a suspect serves to blind the investigator (and I am such a prescriber), in this instance I must depart from that. Most veteran homicide investigators will attest to the fact that once a strong suspect becomes the focus of an investigation, especially after his arrest, the evidence against him tends to snowball. After so many years of work on Zodiac, and our case, the traditional approach has not yielded a solution. Call me an iconoclast, but in this instance I suggest that perhaps a suspect should be focused on and, working backwards, the available evidence applied to him. What's to be lost? If the evidence fits, what difference does it make if the procedure used was backasswards? If it fits, we're heroes; if it doesn't, we're no further behind than we were before.

I'm retired (though still having to work to maintain), and nothing I say or do is going to make much difference. In other words, I have no agenda, other than a selfish/egotistical need to finish what I started 30 years ago. Based upon what I know of the collective knowledge of the Zodiac cases, I do have a suspect in mind. Forgive me for seeming narrow-minded, but, in considering what I do know, I have great difficulty espousing most of the esoteric theories that have sprung from the font of the collection of imaginative and creative minds that inhabit this site.

As always, Ed N. reigns as my idol, with respect to his wisdom and knowledge. (Ed, if you and I should ever collaborate, I think that there may be a potential for progress.) And (take note Oscar) Tom has my vote for the Zodies as the singular entity that will ultimately bring closure to the Zodiac mystery. Tom, stay the course and don't let the bastards get you down!

By Bill Baker (Billbaker) (pool0055.cvx38-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net - on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 04:48 am:

It surprises me that there has been no response to this last post. Am I to assume that my position on the case may be accepted without challenge? And my praise of Ed N. is to go without comment? I can't believe that the naysayers on this site wouldn't have anything to say. Or the supporters, for that matter. I believe that Zodiac killed the couple in Santa Barbara County in 1963. Show me where I'm wrong or show me where I'm right in my contention. But don't give me the insulting silence that is indifference. I'm willing to discuss the issues.

By Parhas (Parhas) (spider-wb043.proxy.aol.com - on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 05:38 am:

I wouldn't assume anything regarding members of this board. It may be that no one challenges your beliefs, but it is more likely that given the nature of the membership, those who disagree
do not want to reveal their lack of knowledge or ability to reason. By the way, just who is your suspect?
You can email me at parhas@aol.com as I have a few other questions for you about the SB case. They are general and would not compromise your standing.

By Alanc (Alanc) (spider-wj012.proxy.aol.com - on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 12:53 pm:

Bill, I think you're on the right track and I am very much intrigued by the '63 case. You are one of the VERY few people posting here that consistently makes sense and actually contributes to the possible solution of this case.

Silence does not imply disapproval or indifference.

By Tom Voigt (Tomvoigt) (ac8bb4d2.ipt.aol.com - on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 01:50 pm:

Bill, I agree that many of the posters here at the board don't have a deep enough understanding of the case to respond.

By Jake Wark (Jake) (spider-wc033.proxy.aol.com - on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 02:44 pm:

I'll weigh in with my two cents, and say that I think '63 was little early for Z to be experimenting with such a high risk crime. His first known murders were the automotive equivalent of blitz attacks, with Z cruising a well-known area in his car and hopping out only to take advantage of his shocked victims, then making a quick getaway. Only after experimenting with this style did Z begin to feel sure enough of himself to take on victims in an open area using a dirty, up-close weapon.

Now, this is opinion based on behavioral theory, not any kind of science or fact, so take it with a grain of salt. Good luck to you, Bill.

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Esau (Esau) (cc129455-a.rcrdva1.ca.home.com - on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 03:52 pm:

Bill, I wonder if the reason Zodiac wore the hood at Lake Berryessa is because experience (Tajiguas) taught him that even though he possessed an element of surprise it was possible for a victim to escape. Lake Berryessa being a daylight attack would make it possible for an escaped victim to make an ID. By the way Bill, that collaboration with Ed N. idea would make a very interesting book.

By Bruce Monson (The_Adversary) (mail.ci.colospgs.co.us - on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 07:48 am:


Would you mind sharing with me the identity of your primary suspect? Please email it privately at bamonson@pipeline.com if you do not wish to list it on this board.


Bruce Monson