6-18-01 Napa Valley Register Story
Zodiackiller.com Message Board: Zodiac Media: 6-18-01 Napa Valley Register Story
|By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (tcache-ntc-tc01.proxy.aol.com - 18.104.22.168) on Monday, June 18, 2001 - 06:45 pm:|
Police to give a new look at 10 unsolved murders
Monday, June 18, 2001
By JAY GOETTING
Register Staff Writer
Between 1966 and 1999, there were 128 homicides in Napa County, including its incorporated cities,
according to Department of Justice (DOJ) figures.
The murder rates per year range from lows of no reported homicides in 1966, 1967 and 1996 to a high of 11
murders in 1969.
The combined numbers make for an average of just under four Napa murders per year.
By decade, there were 43 murders in the 1970s, 46 in the '80s and only 29 in the '90s.
Of the 85 homicides in Napa between 1966 and 1985, about 62 percent have been solved, or to use DOJ
jargon, have seen "total clearance."
While many of the cases have been solved, a handful remain open. Ten of these have been entered into the
computer on Napa Police Detective Ed Knutsen's desk as part of a new program to crack some of these
The earliest is the infamous murder of five-year-old Doreen Heskett, whose disappearance March 25, 1963
set off a massive search.
The little girl's remains were found weeks later on the Stewart Ranch south of the city of Napa, but no
suspects have ever been identified.
As part of the new policy of dusting off old cases, police now consider the 1974 Anita Andrews murder as
open but with the prime suspect deceased.
That suspect, Oklahoman Liston Beal, died in 1997 at the age of 63, making him 40 years old at the time of
the crime. That age fits the description of a possible suspect in the bar the night of the murder.
Homicide rate dropping nationwide
In recent years, the homicide rate nationwide has dropped.
In 1997, the estimated number of persons murdered in the United States was 18,209, with more than 6,000
remaining unsolved. The 1997 total numbers murders was down 7 percent from 1996 and 26 percent from
Knutsen noted that some larger city police departments have created what they term "cold case units"
whose sole purpose is to delve into these old unsolved crimes.
In addition, the FBI, Department of Justice and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have consolidated
their data systems, making it easier for local agencies to access information and look for matches, and
ballistics information is more readily available. This gives law enforcement the ability to compare bullets and
casings to evidence from other crimes in other jurisdictions.
There is even a data base now for DNA samples and Web sites that are created by individual law
enforcement agencies to deal with cold cases.
With these crime-solving advances in mind, the Napa Police Department has recently taken a fresh look at
some of the cases and will dust off some of the old files.
Knutsen said the evidence is a key factor. Sometimes in older cases it may not still even exist. If it's there,
was it packaged and preserved properly?
He said, "Time can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
On the down side, suspects or witnesses may not still be alive, and evidence can get stale.
But, still, there is no statute of limitations on murder, and Knutsen noted, "As time passes, people will talk
Unsolved homicides in the city of Napa
1974 - Robert Turchin was found naked and stabbed to death in the trunk of his car. A California Highway
Patrolman made the discovery when blood was found on the vehicle, which was parked near Second and
Juarez. There are no known suspects in the case.
1975 - Macel Maxine Brewer, 43, was found in the Napa River in November of this year. The Napa divorcee
was a housekeeper and cook and had been bound and suffered a massive chest wound prior to being
dumped in the river.
1979 - Pamela King of Vallejo was also found in the Napa River. She had been listed by Vallejo police as a
missing person. There were few details surrounding the incident, but authorities said she associated with
violent elements of society.
1980 - Thelma Kuhse lived in a trailer in southern Napa County. Her male roommate disappeared after her
1980 - Charles Slack, 65, was discovered slain with a hatchet which was still at the scene at his El Dorado
Street home. Firefighters found Slack when they responded to a blaze that had apparently been set to
cover up the deed. No motive was ever established.
1991 - Marty Davis, 35, was found shot three times at close range in his Rio Vista Drive home. Police said
Davis had been dead for several days before his body was discovered. There were several search warrants
issued and several suspects were identified but no arrests were made.
1992 - Michael Norris, 39, was found floating in Napa Creek off China Point. He died from a blow to the
head received during an altercation. Again, there were several suspects, but no arrests were made following
his December murder.
1997 - Edwin Njuguna, a 24-year-old native of Kenya was stabbed to death outside a party on Marin Street
when he and his companions stopped their car. The September 12 killing may have been racially motivated.
While there were numerous party-goers at the scene, police have narrowed the field of suspects to about a
half dozen, according to investigators. Knutsen is actively working that case. "I hope to get that solved this
year," he commented.
Unsolved Homicides in unincorporated Napa County
Probably the most infamous murders in decades were perpetrated by the Zodiac Killer. At least one of the
cryptic killer's slayings took place in Napa County when Cecilia Shepard was killed near Lake Berryessa in
September, 1969. The young woman and her boyfriend, Bryan Hartnell, were approached by a hooded
assailant who then killed Shepard and critically injured Hartnell. Hartnell survived the attack and is now an
attorney in Southern California.
Several investigators now believe that Arthur Leigh Allen, a Vallejo man who died in 1992, was the Zodiac
Killer and police may have finally agreed to use DNA testing in an attempt to eliminate him from suspicion
or confirm he is the killer
Tom Voigt who operates a website devoted to the Zodiac mysteries at www.zodiackiller.com, noted the
composite drawing of the suspect in those cases bears a striking resemblance to the composite of the
possible perpetrator in the Anita Andrews murder.
Within Napa County, there are a number of other unsolved murder mysteries.
1976 - A married couple, Alvin and Ferry Maddux were bound and left to die off Monticello Road. There were
no suspects in that double murder case.
1981 - The body of Lloyd Johnson was found near a dumpsite at the McDonald's restaurant on Imola
Avenue, which was then in the unincorporated area of the county. At least two suspects were identified but
there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute.
1985 - Farmworker Ramon Martinez was killed at the Oaks Bar on Monticello Road.
1987 - Linda Quinones' remains were found near Lake Berryessa. The killing was possibly the work of the
I-5 killer, Randall Woodfield, who was already in custody. He was believed to be involved in more than 40
killings. He was not convicted in the Napa County case but is serving a life term in prison.
1987 - Benny Smith, a transient, was found shot in the chest. His body had been dumped into a culvert
pipe near the quarry off American Canyon Road. There were several suspects but not enough evidence to
1988 - An unidentified teen-age girl was discovered murdered just inside the Napa County line in Napa
Square, a housing subdivision in American Canyon. There were suspects in the case, but no arrests were
1990 - James Adams, a transient registered sex offender, was found beaten to death in a metal barn off
Highway 29 near the Napa County Airport. There were no suspects in that case.
1991 - Peggy Swartz was found beaten to death on Mount St. Helena. There was a suspect in the case,
but authorities said the suspect died of old age in Oakland before charges could be brought.
1992 - Kim Po Ko, a clerk at Denny's Market in American Canyon, was killed in an armed robbery incident.
Her daughter witnessed the incident and family members believe they know the perpetrator, but no solid
identification could be made.
2000 - Sharonda Parker's body was found dumped off North Kelly Road. The Vallejo teen's death remains a
Napa County Sheriff's Captain Mike Loughran stressed the term "unsolved" can be misleading. He said that
any crime in which there is no conviction could be considered unsolved, even if there are strong suspects
but not enough evidence available to bring them to trial.
Loughran said most cases remain in an almost inactive status unless new evidence surfaces. "Someone
may recall a detail or decide to become a witness," he said. "They sometimes have a change of heart."
Jay Goetting can be reached at 256-2220 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
|By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-mtc-tj021.proxy.aol.com - 22.214.171.124) on Monday, June 18, 2001 - 11:34 pm:|
Tom: Very interesting article, especially the section that said, "several
investigators now believe that Arthur Leigh Allen . . . was the Zodiac Killer." It's
hard to believe how many opponents of ALA being Zodiac have argued that he is no longer a
viable suspect because he has been "summarily dismissed" by law enforcement
agencies. This doesn't seem to be the case to me.
Thanks for posting the article.
|By Ed N (Ed_N) (spider-tf043.proxy.aol.com - 126.96.36.199) on Tuesday, June 19, 2001 - 01:04 pm:|
In his story, Jay Goetting referenced not only Z, but also the unsolved death of Doreen Heskett in 1963 (apparently now classified as a murder). Last year, someone posted something implicating Z as her killer. I'm not sure what to make of that, since Z's known crimes were against teens and adults, not young children.
|By Ed N (Ed_N) (tcache-ntc-tb01.proxy.aol.com - 188.8.131.52) on Tuesday, June 19, 2001 - 10:03 pm:|
In part three of his series, the Register published one of the two composites of the man suspected of murdering Anita Andrews. I believe it was the other one that looked more like the LB composite, however.
|By Ed N (Ed_N) (acb5bb7c.ipt.aol.com - 184.108.40.206) on Saturday, December 08, 2001 - 09:20 pm:|
This followup story appeared in the Napa Valley Register on Sunday, August 26th,
2001 (pp. 1A, 4A):
Troubled past of murder suspect
By JAY GOETTING
Register Staff Writer
Editor's note: On June 17-19, the Register published a series of articles recounting the history of the Fagiani Bar at 813 Main Street in Napa and the homicide committed there in July 1974. The article referred to Napa police investigator Robert Jarecki's belief that the late Liston Beal, a carpenter and drifter who had been in Napa at the time, was a prime suspect. Beal was questioned and given a polygraph test. There were never any arrests in the case.
The series brought a large response from Register readers. One of those respondents was Liston Beal's son, Larry, who consented to an interview in hopes of showing that his father was not the murderer.
"It just doesn't read right," is what Larry Beal said about his father's possible involvement in the 1974 murder of Anita Andrews. Liston Beal, a firefighter until an injury ended his career, became a suspect in the murder prior to his death in 1997.
"I can't believe he could have done that," said Larry Beal from his Alaska office at Eielson Air Force Base where he works as a fire inspector.
Beal's sister told him about the stories in the Napa Valley Register. He called to stick up for his father.
Liston Beal was investigated 16 years after the murder in the Fagiani Bar on Main Street as a possible suspect.
Old Plaza Hotel records led Napa police investigator Bob Jarecki to travel to Antlers, Oklahoma, and have a polygraph test administered to Liston Beal. The results were termed, "inconclusive," primarily because of the passage of time and Beal's physical infirmities.
Kind, with a mean streak
Before he left his native Oklahoma for California as a teen-ager, Liston Beal sang in his church choir.
"He was one of the kindest people I knew," said his son.
His older sister, Dianna Brunt, now of Pollock Pines, agrees.
"He would decorate the house from head to toe at Christmas time," she said. "There were a lot of good things about the man."
She admitted that he had a mean streak, especially when he drank, which wasfrequently. "I can see him smacking a girl around a bit, but not killing someone."
Anita Andrews' body was discovered in the back room of the Main Street bar by her sister, Muriel Fagiani. She had been stabbed numerous times and probably sexually assaulted.
Shirley Godwin, Larry's mother and Beal's wife until 1966, agrees, "That was not in character of the person I knew."
Godwin, who now lives in the Sacramento area admits, "I'm not sure he was the same person in 1974, but I told the police that whole scenario just doesn't seem to fit his character."
But Godwin says her ex-husband had threatened her and was physically abusive occasionally.
"Yeah, he did," she said. "I watched closely. I was glad when the marriage was over."
Like Larry, she does not recall the murder that occurred, and despite the fact that both women worked at Napa State Hospital at the time, she did not know the victim, Anita Andrews. Beal's ex-wife worked mostly nights in the children's unit.
Larry, 14 at the time, was with his father in Napa on the days preceding the incident which occurred the night of July 10, 1974.
"He was teaching me how to cut roofs," said Larry. "We were working on Browns Valley Road."
Jarecki has not changed his mind as a result of Larry Beal's recollections. He cited the physical similarities between Liston Beal and eyewitness descriptions of a man in the bar. He still thinks of Liston Beal as the primary suspect.
Larry does not remember reading or hearing anything about the murder, which was front page news at the time. He never even knew his father was questioned at the time but recalled some words his father said to him about the time of the 1990 questioning.
"Some policemen from Napa were looking for me," he told his son. "They want to talk to me."
Larry never gave it another thought until one of his four sisters, Dianna Brunt, called the recent Register articles to his attention. He noted that his mother had also been questioned in 1990 about Liston's possible involvement.
Lived with pain
Liston Beal's transient life was one of pain, both physically and emotionally. He took a disability retirement from the California Department of Forestry in 1958 after a truck tipped over on him.
"If I move you, you'll die," a convict working the fire line told him. "If you leave me here, I'll die," Beal countered, according to his son, recounting his father's words from an old family story.
Larry said his father lived with the pain his entire life, exacerbated by several other vertebrae injuries.
The emotional trauma of the 1966 divorce which Liston Beal fought also took its toll.
"He drifted so much because he loved my mother dearly and never really got over losing her," said Larry Beal. "She didn't want anything to do with him."
He said his father periodically traveled to Napa to attempt a reconciliation. That was his reason for being here in 1974. "He kept coming out to see if any spark was left."
He left abruptly, but his son doesn't attach any significance to that since he often left with little fanfare. "He wouldn't say good-bye."
Daughter Dianna concurred.
"It wasn't unusual. He would just disappear," she said.
After his back injury, Liston Beal concentrated on carpentry, working on Del Webb projects as well as the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
That was his dad's craft when Larry first remembers him, living in the Ukiah area. "In the early '60s," he said, "he'd bring coloring books and paper dolls," for him and his four sisters.
Mercury as alibi?
A factor that makes Beal's son especially doubtful of his father's connection with the crime is Anita Andrews' 1967 Cadillac which has not resurfaced since the night of the incident.
The murderer apparently drove it to the Sacramento area that night where someone purchased gasoline using Anita Andrews' credit card. There was anunconfirmed report it was seen in the Modesto area several days later.
"He had no reason to take the Cadillac," said Larry. "He had a big white Merc, and he could always keep his cars running. It was the first car I learned to drive."
He added that if his father had taken the Cadillac, the early '70s model Mercury would have been discovered someplace.
Larry Beal admits his father was no angel. When he was preparing to move to California from his native Oklahoma at age 16, he got physically prepared.
"He wouldn't take crap from people," Larry Beal said. "He heard stories about Okies getting beat up by people from California, so he squared off with the toughest kid around every day until he could beat him up."
"But rape and murder? No way!" said the younger Beal. "He just wouldn't do that. If it were a guy, even then, he wouldn't go over the bounds. But not a woman."
The Beals lived in Ukiah for a time in the '50s and '60s, and his wife, Shirley worked as a psychiatric technician at the state hospital there.
"He was very much a homebody," Larry said of his father. "Dad was a believer in the old school. The husband should make the money."
Liston Beal, who was part Choctaw Indian, objected from time to time to his wife working.
That created the tension that led to the divorce since she wanted to pursue a career as a psychiatric technician.
Culturally, the Choctaws have always honored their women as the head of the family household
Even today, the women are considered the care-takers of their children, their elders, and the home, according to a history by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
Beal's family moved to Napa where Larry's mother took a similar position at Napa State Hospital, coincidentally, where Anita Andrews worked for 15 years a secretary.
Eventually, she moved to the South Bay and worked at Agnews State Hospital.
On his 1974 trip to Napa, Larry said he and his father visited friends in the Healdsburg area. "They were playing cards and doing guy things," he said.
"He wouldn't be out getting snockered," although Larry admits his father had a drinking problem.
There had been witness accounts that the possible murderer had spent some time in Fagiani's Bar that fateful night, waiting for Anita Andrews to close up and attacking her after the last of the other patrons had gone.
"I believe Dad was in bed early that night," said Larry. "He'd show up in the morning with fresh after-shave and clean cut. He was very committed to his work."
"The car thing is interesting to me," said Jarecki, pointing out the man he thinks was Beal was waiting for a ride from someone from Healdsburg because his car was not running.
His ride never showed up. This is in direct conflict with Larry Beal's account of the 1974 time period.
His sister Dianna also remembers the white Mercury and confirms it was running just fine at the time.
Father is remembered
Liston Beal loved his children, although Larry Beal was the only one who saw him regularly in his later years.
"He couldn't spank us," said Larry Beal recounting his childhood. "He'd snap the belt, and we'd start crying."
He was also talented. Liston Beal sang, wrote songs and played the steel guitar in a country and western band, Lucky Beal and the Reno Riders, around Woodland and Napa.
Country great Buck Owens reportedly offered him a job in his band, but his son says life on the road did not appeal to him.
In 1985, Liston Beal was hit by a pipe truck, breaking his arm and hip and further aggravating the old back problems.
Larry has also been plagued by back problems.
He was an assistant fire chief in Saudi Arabia in 1991 following the Gulf War. He currently serves as a fire inspector at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska.
He served more than eight years in the Air Force and went to Alaska this past spring after having worked at McClellan AFB near Sacramento.
Larry Beal came back from Saudi Arabia in 1991 and visited his father.
"He was doing OK. I'm probably the only kid that traveled to Oklahoma to see him," said Larry Beal.
Larry saw his father for the last time in 1995. "He was limping and needed a hip replacement."
Liston Beal died in November, 1997. He is buried near Antlers, Oklahoma with his mother and father.
Dianna summed up what the family thinks of Beals' involvement in Andrews' murder.
"I don't believe he did this."
Jay Goetting can be reached at 256-2220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.