The Connection Between Lake Berryessa and Stine


Zodiackiller.com Message Board: Theories: The Connection Between Lake Berryessa and Stine

By Len (Len) (gw1.edeltacom.com - 216.248.176.30) on Friday, November 15, 2002 - 10:31 am:

I have my own thoughts about Lake Berryessa. I agree with Peter that it might have been someone else, perhaps even Arthur Leigh Allen. (It's the only time the description comes close to fitting and there's the size 10 1/2 wing walkers. Allenistas, unite!)

I think the problem comes with the word "copycat." This guy wasn't trying to emulate the Zodiac in any way; he was merely using it for cover. (Perhaps it was the Santa Barbara guy taking his act out of town.) I mean, what better way to get away with it than to point attention toward the major media hullabaloo that was then current?

This also explains the hood: Mageau was still alive and he didn't want Mageau to say "That's not the guy who shot me" if one of his victims survives long enough to give a description.

I think this then pushed the Zodiac to shoot Stine. Somebody had stolen his thunder and he was concerned that the police, once they figured out that LB wasn't his work, might start questioning LHR and BRS as well.

I think the Zodiac lived in San Francisco, but had family in Vallejo. This accounts for the timing of the first two crimes: He was visiting the folks for the holidays.

Since Columbus Day isn't the kind of holiday to inspire a family get-together, he does the expedient thing and chooses the kind of victim he can get to a quiet area. (He obviously knows the make-out lanes in Vallejo, but is clueless as to where the kids go in SF.) This is why he takes a piece of Stine's shirt. It is undeniable proof that he--the author of the letters--is the killer.

His does the deed, sends a letter with a swatch, and lays low for a couple of weeks. When the police seem to be willing to attribute Lake Berryessa to him, he takes credit not in his usual manner--by listing an almost excruciating amount of detail; I'm surprised that he didn't say what kind of knots he used to tie up Miss Shepard--but by merely referring to September in his scorecard.

Just some thoughts. All theory, no proof. You may fire when ready.

By Esau (Esau) (12-246-187-137.client.attbi.com - 12.246.187.137) on Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 01:40 pm:

Len, good theory. I've thought about that myself. The only problem is the handwriting on Hartnell's car door. You couldn't get any closer to Z's handwriting with a Xerox machine.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (dialup-67.30.179.56.dial.boston1.level3.net - 67.30.179.56) on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 01:17 pm:

Len:
Excellent theory, and don't be dissuaded by the handwriting argument. It's hardly a xerox job: there are some obvious differences: the slant -- or lack of it -- on the door is markedly distinct from all of Z's writing. The only time Z wrote without a slant was in some careful block letterng, such as the beginning of the Belli letter, which does not appear on the door. Also, look at letters like the lower case "j" and "e". Very different.

And don't underestimate Columbus day. In some resort areas, such as where I live, its the busiest weekend of the year.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-008-057.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - 4.47.8.57) on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 01:38 pm:

Peter, don't ignore the physical positioning of the writer of the door messsage; whether standing or kneeling, it's unlikely he would have approximated the same orientation with the writing surface as he would sitting at a table with his writing hand and arm at a customary angle. Any variation in the slant of letters could be explained by this, and perhaps other printing deviations as well. If you want to talk about inconsistencies in "validated" Z writings, just look at the desktop. How that was ever determined to be a Z product escapes me.

By Warren (Warren) (w205.z064002105.hou-tx.dsl.cnc.net - 64.2.105.205) on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 02:05 pm:

Bill-

Exactly. But on the desktop, that weird "o" with a dot in it muddies the water.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-008-057.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - 4.47.8.57) on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 04:22 pm:

Warren, I'm not convinced that the dot within the O was intentional, or if it was a post-writing artifact caused by contamination or a flaw in the photographic reproduction.

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) (66.138.8.190) on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 06:11 pm:

William, as I've stated numerous times before, for various reasons, the more one studies the desktop poem the less connection it seems to have with the Bates case and/or Zodiac (whether Zodiac killed Miss Bates or not).

By Peter H (Peter_H) (dialup-63.214.77.7.dial1.boston1.level3.net - 63.214.77.7) on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 06:52 pm:

Bill:
As always, cogent points. I am with you on the desktop.
However. I believe any real handwriting expert will tell you that slant is one of those fundamental elements that is not altered by working in a different medium or position. Try it yourself. Prop a board up somewhere at ground level, and write on it with a marker, or a paint brush, for that matter. You may be surprised to find how much it looks just like that shopping list you jotted down at the kitchen table the other day.
If you are implying that the writing might have been slanted in relation to his body position, the problem with that is that it is not slanted in relation to the horizontal base line of each line of writing. IOW, the axis of each letter is about 90 degrees to the horizontal, and each line of writng is on the horizontal. In Z's letters, the slant is to the right, while the lines are still on the horizontal.

In addition, certain characteristic letters -- e and j and many others -- are distinctly different.

I agree wholeheartedly on the desk poem, despite that in some details such as I note on the Ghia door, the poem is a lot more like z's writng than the Ghia door is.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-008-057.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - 4.47.8.57) on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 08:33 pm:

Peter, we should probably take this to a more appropriate thread, but since the activity on this Board has seemed rather anemic of late, I would hope that Tom would appreciate the rally and not chastise us too severely.

Let me offer another perspective. First of all, I'm familiar with the fact that writing is a function of the brain, which means that using either hand or the feet or whatever, does not appreciably alter many of a person's writing characteristics. I'm not so sure that this would apply to a slant, since, for example, using the left hand instead of the usual right would produce a different push/pull affect on how the pen, marker, etc. is guided, bearing in mind that the writing would still have to flow from left to right. For whatever reason, my own cursive writing is sometimes slanted, more or less, and sometimes it's nearly vertical. From what I can see, however, my printing is fairly consistent, which is very close to vertical, unlike my cursive. Could it be I'm schizo?

Now, realizing that all of what I've said is open to debate, what if the door writer didn't hold the marker in the standard fashion with the index finger knuckle more or less up, opposed to the thumb? Since the Ghia door would have been quite low, in order to write more easily, what if he held it with his knuckles down, resting across the inside of the four fingers, gripped by his thumb at the top? It would certainly make the writing process far easier, and I'm sure he wasn't taking great pains to make the writing style conform with his other messages. Plus, I don't think it would have any altering affect on keeping the lines horizontal. I've tried experimenting with this, and I find almost no slant at all. I also tend to doubt that all of the finer details found in his regular writing would be retained in this ham-handed method. Add to this the fact that it was a thicker-tipped marker and not a felt-tip pen capable of greater expressive style.

By Len (Len) (gw1.edeltacom.com - 216.248.176.30) on Monday, November 18, 2002 - 06:22 am:

Sorry I haven't had a chance to jump back in on this sooner, but I have computer problems at home. The problem is that my computer is a dinosaur.

As far as the handwriting on the door goes, I would argue that, as evidence, it is hardly conclusive. In fact, I wrote the words "canned cat food" on the grocery list on our refrigerator door this morning and it looked more to me like Z's writing than the writing on Hartnell's door.

Bill: Very interesting experiment and a very interesting theory. I think it would be very interesting (the last time I use that phrase in this post, I promise) to get the opinion of a handwriting expert as to whether it is possible to draw any usuable conclusions from samples written with different media on radically different media.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (dialup-63.214.78.184.dial1.boston1.level3.net - 63.214.78.184) on Monday, November 18, 2002 - 11:10 am:

Bill: I think you said it all in the first line: " writing is a function of the brain, which means that using either hand or the feet or whatever, does not appreciably alter many of a person's writing characteristics."

I would include thick felt markers and odd positions and surfaces among "or whatever". It should still be recognizable to an expert, and I would bet that the Ghia writing comes out something like the 1978 "Toschi" letter. Only Merrell could like it as Z.

It also occurs to me that all this theorizing is over why the Ghia writing looks so different but could still have been Z. My standard issue Swiss Army Occam's Razor says the simplest explanation of why it looks different is that it is different. Not the same guy.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-006-183.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - 4.47.6.183) on Monday, November 18, 2002 - 12:21 pm:

The problem I see here is not one of whether Morrill or any other expert could recognize Z's hand on the door writing, but one of overcoming a biased perspective. If you have reasons for not believing LB was the work of one person, namely the same Z character that killed others in SF, at LHR and BRS, that's all well and good, but the only way you can hold on to that opinion is to dismiss as bogus any evidence to the contrary. I'm not saying you are doing this deliberately, but it stands to reason that if the writing on the door has been validated by Morrill as being the work of Z, and you maintain otherwise, then the way you, personally, evaluate Z's writing with that on the Ghia must necessarily be with a jaundiced eye. Whether you dismiss Morrill's finding as erroneous, or attribute it to a copycat, or assert that Z did not act alone, in order for you to be right and others to be wrong, you cannot accept the premise that the writing is Z's.

Analogous to this, as an example, I cannot see cause for believing the desktop writing is Z's. Perhaps it's because I don't feel that Z was the likely killer of CJB. If I did think he was, then maybe I might view the writing differently. It's not unlike those here who reject Allen as being Z, and for them to maintain this position, must somehow remove Cheney as a reliable and credible witness in order for their opposing theories to remain viable.

Peter, if I sound condescending, I apologize, but human nature being what it is, there are many defense mechanisms each of us rely on every day to maintain our self-confidence and trust in our personal views of the world around us. We all tend to see what we want to see, in a way that supports our preconceptions. You seem to feel confident that an independent and objective examination of the car door writing by a random panel of handwriting experts would contradict Morrill's findings. I suspect that you are projecting your own subjective views in suggesting this.

Forgive my preaching, but if your Razor says the writing is different, perhaps the simplest explanation is that you are wrong and the overwhelming evidence you dispute is right.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) (216-19-219-89.getnet.net - 216.19.219.89) on Monday, November 18, 2002 - 04:36 pm:

I am fairly ambidextrous (I use my left hand usually, but my writing's about the same, ie. equally illegible, with either hand). My handwriting with either hand looks pretty much the same, but the slant does change, at least to some extent. The slant of an entire sentence tends downward (as you go further right) with either hand, but the slant of the individual letters is more right-slanting with my left hand.
Don't ask me what this means, and, for the love of God, don't tell me what kind of weird psychiatric condition this means I have!
Anyway, I know it's just one person, but I hope that helps some.

By Len (Len) (gw1.edeltacom.com - 216.248.176.30) on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 07:47 am:

To get back to my original post, given that handwriting comparison may be problemmatic, how does my thesis stand otherwise? Does it make sense? Is it full of holes?

I can see the similarity in the handwriting; I can also see differences. Other things bother me: Why didn't he use the phrase "This is the Zodiac speaking," which had already become his catch phrase? Why does this wordy little pest never waste a single syllable on Lake Berryessa? In three other crimes, he sends letters in which he practically jumps up and down shouting "Look at me! Look at me! I did it! I did it!" If Lake Berryessa was so special to him, wouldn't he have been more likely to have gushed out a torrent of words letting the world know that he--the author of the letters--was the perpetrator and no one else?

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-006-183.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - 4.47.6.183) on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 09:53 am:

Len, as with most theories, much has the ring of truth, while some aspects don't necesssarily fit comfortably. I have my own take on a number of the points you raise. I won't go into great detail, but I will review a few of my thoughts, and in so doing, your own ideas can be compared and contrasted.

I remain skeptical of theories that attribute LB to something other than Z acting alone. Frankly, even after hearing the various arguments that favor a copycat/cohort/capitalizer, I still fail to understand why some feel the need to create alternative scenarios to explain away perceived inconsistencies, which, by the way, are commonly found in most serial crimes. Why is the notion of Z acting alone at LB so indigestible?

"Perhaps it was the Santa Barbara guy taking his act out of town." On its face, especially since I believe SB was the work of Z, this approach is possible, but, again, if you give some credence to SB and LB being the work of the same person, is it such a stretch then to allow that he was also responsible for LHR, BRS and Stine? I think it's folly to dismiss LB as a Z crime merely because it deviates from the previous two cases. If Z decided for some reason not to take credit for Stine, I seriously doubt that all the king's horses and all the king's men could ever put it together as being his handiwork. It was so dissimilar from the earlier cases that few people would have ever accepted that premise without substantial proof to the contrary. Agreed?

While wearing the hood did provide the fringe benefit of protecting his identity from later being recognized by Mageau, should one or both of the LB victims survive, I doubt that it was his primary motivation. But even if it was, your suggestion of Mageau later saying "That's not the guy who shot me," would apply more suitably if Mageau would have said "That's the guy who shot me." My theories for why the hood was worn have already been discussed in past posts.

As for Z shooting Stine out of concern for the police questioning LHR and BRS as perhaps being the work of someone else, I can see no reason why Z wouldn't have simply come right out and said he didn't do LB, providing proof of his being Z to authenticate his identity. After all, since one victim survived, and if Z didn't commit the crime, he would have had no way of knowing if Hartnell would be able to provide enough info for the police to eventually ID the killer. Going out and committing the Stine murder, which placed him in greater jeopardy than in any of the previous killings, simply as a response to an impostor at LB, makes little sense to me, when he could have easily dissociated himself with LB, and with little added risk.

Which leads to the issue of why Z didn't boast of his work at LB. I feel that Z considered LB to be a botched job, hardly something to boast about. It was the second time in a row that he allowed one of his victims to survive. Z's ego, especially in the context of his claims of superiority over his pursuers, would have suffered greatly from this. If Hartnell had died, I suspect that Z would have milked LB for all it was worth, and maybe Stine would still be alive. As it was, Z took credit for LB but didn't dwell on it.

Lastly, regarding the writing on the car door, and Z not including his signature phrase, "This is the Zodiac speaking," bear in mind that this was not a love letter, but akin to carving a heart and initials on a tree. An economy of words was called for, just enough to establish his identity by connecting him to his earlier killings.

By Len (Len) (gw1.edeltacom.com - 216.248.176.30) on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 10:28 am:

Bill: Solid points and just the sort of thing I was looking for. In an earlier post, you talked about the differences in perception concerning which handwriting an individual accepts and which he or she rejects. That truth pervades this entire inquiry.

For example, one of my basic premises concerning the Zodiac is that he was first and foremost in pursuit of a kind of bizarre celebrity and that killing was merely a means to an end, not the end in itself. This perspective does give me the flexibility to see LB as the work of Z--it was very theatrical and bound to generate a great deal of publicity all on its own. To use a phrase made popular in recent discussions pertaining to a certain well-known suspect and the DNA evidence, I have not eliminated Z as a suspect in the Lake Berryessa attack, although I wouldn't be surprised, should the truth about all this stuff ever come out, that it was someone else.

A lot of my thinking in these matters is influenced by my interpretation of the letters, particularly the letters sent through early November of '69. I assume he's lying unless he makes some sort of concerted effort to convince me otherwise. When it comes to LB, he does not make that effort.

Thanks for your post--I certainly respect your thoughts, and you've given me a great deal to ponder and review. I think that whatever the truth is, though, that these two crimes by their very divergences from LHR and BRS are significant and need to be properly understood if we are to ever make sense of the senseless.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-006-183.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - 4.47.6.183) on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 11:15 am:

Len, when and if the truth be known, I'm sure many of us will have cause for humility. This board provides a forum for expressing views, some traditional, others daring to push the envelope. Since the crimes are unsolved, who's to say with any degree of confidence that conventional wisdom is any more valid. In fact, if we are to believe that somewhere within the voluminous history of the cases lies the answer, then we must accept that either a vital clue has been overlooked, or that somewhere along the line we have complacently failed to look beyond the obvious. Advances in science don't just happen, they are the result of forward thinking.

By Len (Len) (gw1.edeltacom.com - 216.248.176.30) on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 11:25 am:

Bill: I know that I'm looking for the forest. It's just all these dad-blamed trees that keep getting in my way.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (cache-ntc-af07.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.26.172) on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 01:16 pm:

Bill, you wrote, "[I]t stands to reason that if the writing on the door has been validated by Morrill as being the work of Z, and you maintain otherwise, then the way you, personally, evaluate Z's writing with that on the Ghia must necessarily be with a jaundiced eye."

Later, you wrote, "Analogous to this, as an example, I cannot see cause for believing the desktop writing is Z's. Perhaps it's because I don't feel that Z was the likely killer of CJB. If I did think he was, then maybe I might view the writing differently."

In either example, as you've stated, whether it be Riverside or Lake Berryessa, in order for it to have been someone/s other than the Zodiac who committed the crime, one has to skirt Morrill's conclusions. And with Riverside, it is not just the desktop poem, but the "Bates had to die" letter, as well. Personally, I don't think it entirely wise to base my own conclusions with regard to a crime on the sole opinion of a questioned documents examiner. As you are aware, there are plenty of good arguments out there to warrant further review of Riverside and Lake Berryessa, both for and against their inclusion as being the work of the Zodiac. At this point in time, I honestly can't say with 100% certainty that LB was the work of the Zodiac. There are simply way too many questions that remain unanswered, in my opinion, if one takes this stance without equivocation.

Len wrote, "I think that whatever the truth is, though, that these two crimes by their very divergences from LHR and BRS are significant and need to be properly understood if we are to ever make sense of the senseless."

I agree 100%, but truly, in my opinion, there are 3 crimes that need to be properly understood: Riverside, Lake Berryessa, and Santa Barbara. There is enough evidence, in my opinion, to argue either side of the coin with regard to these crimes having been perpetrated by the Zodiac.

As an interesting aside, pretend for a moment [for the sake of ease] that all 6 crimes [SB, RS, LHR, BRS, LB, and PH] are the work of the Zodiac. If we look closely, all kinds of interesting patterns start to emerge:

Crimes committed by knife = SB, RS, LB. Crimes committed by gun = LHR, BRS, PH. 6 crimes; 3 committed with a knife, and 3 with a gun.

In the 3 committed by knife, there were 4 deaths and one [1] survivor. The same can be said of the 3 crimes committed with a gun, 4 deaths, and 1 survivor. In both instances where there was a survivor, it was a male.

Among the crimes committed by knife, there was one instance where a lone female was attacked: Cheri Jo Bates. Of the crimes committed with a gun, there was one instance where a lone male was attacked: Paul Stine. Both of these crimes were committed in October.

And there are plenty more where those came from. How many can you [the board] think of?

Perhaps this is a new thread, but can all of these things be explained by coincidence?

By Peter H (Peter_H) (dialup-63.214.82.188.dial1.boston1.level3.net - 63.214.82.188) on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 01:53 pm:

Bill:

Give me the benfit of the doubt on this one: its not my disbelief of LB as Z that causes me to doubt the handwriting: its the other way around. The handwriting is the only thing that can connect LB in the way that LHR BRS and PH are connected, and the handwriting looks bad to me. To my eye, not my razor. So the razor says what's the bes explanation for the writing being so different? Not the same as LHR, BRS and PH.

I think you know I am with you on Tajiguas and LB being the same. I don't see any connection between Tajiguas and LHR BRS PH at all, and only the handwriting at LB. I am betting that a panel would conclude that it is not the LHR BRS PH perp because it looks different, not because I have some other reason for not believing LB as Z. That's a conslusion from the evidence, not a predisposition. SHow me how the Ghia writing is the same as Z's and I'll conclude that LB was Z and there was something wierd going on to explain all the departures. But if the writing don't fit, Z musta quit.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acbee648.ipt.aol.com - 172.190.230.72) on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 06:39 pm:

If LB was important to Z for some reason, then I suspect he wouldn't want to be trumpeting that from the rooftops at all. I think the fact that he only references LB on the car door and in his "score" but otherwise does not wax eloquent about it speaks volumes. Considering that he took the time to disclaim responsibility for the police station bombing on 2-16-1970 in the "my name is" letter, why would he not then speak of LB being the work of a copycat if it truly wasn't him?

In any case, Z wrote only 4 letters prior to Stine's murder, and didn't start his media campaign of terror until afterwards. That suggests to me that he might not have even considered doing such a thing before he was nearly caught at PH, and decided it would be even more effective to kick his writing into high gear rather than risk being nearly caught again. If such is the case, and since he used the "This is the Zodiac speaking" phrase only once before, he might not have thought to use it on the car door. And as Bill stated, "An economy of words was called for, just enough to establish his identity by connecting him to his earlier killings." He'd already spent way too much time at LB, and needed to escape the scene of the crime immediately.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-006-183.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - 4.47.6.183) on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 07:03 pm:

Scott, you wrote: "Personally, I don't think it entirely wise to base my own conclusions with regard to a crime on the sole opinion of a questioned documents examiner."

I agree. And I doubt that any of us are doing that; certainly not me. There are many stand-alone reasons to think that Z did LB, more so than exist in the Riverside case. Look at Howard's past posts for a comprehensive rundown on what they are. Then add to those the opinion of Morrill, and the scale tips even further.

Your statistical breakdown of weapons used in the six cases you cite failed to correctly include SB as being with a gun (with a knife used in a secondary capacity). Both victims died from multiple GSWs, which beings the total cases in which a gun was used to 4, 2 by knife, thereby skewing whatever point you were trying to demonstrate.

And don't forget the "by gun, by rope, by knife, by fire" message. (Of the six cases) Crimes committed in which all four were employed: Only one: SB.

Peter, you're proving my core point perfectly ("The problem I see here is not one of whether Morrill or any other expert could recognize Z's hand on the door writing, but one of overcoming a biased perspective."). You wrote: "I am betting that a panel would conclude that it is not the LHR BRS PH perp because it looks different." Based on what YOU see in the writing? Of course you'd say this, because in your zeal to gain support for your position you assume others with impeccable credentials will agree ("I suspect that you are projecting your own subjective views in suggesting this.").

You may well have doubts as to Z's involvement initially based on the inconsistencies you see in the door writing, but that has given rise to other doubts you now entertain ("there was something wierd going on to explain all the departures."). This is an example of one hand feeding the other, and only serves to perpetuate the bias, not disspell it.

You don't see any connection between Tajiguas and LHR, BRS and PH. Of course, because you fail to accept LB as one of the series. If LB had never occurred, as I've said many times, I would have probably never made a connection either. But the point remains that LB has been linked to PH, BRS and LHR, by persons far more qualified and knowledgeable about the cases than you or I. Believe as you will, but don't confuse your own biased reasoning with objectivity. I don't want to debate this issue any further, because for one it's straying from the subject of this thread, and because I can see little purpose in butting heads ad infinitum when it's obvious you won't listen to yourself.

By Len (Len) (gw1.edeltacom.com - 216.248.176.30) on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 07:04 am:

Ed: Let me start out by saying that I see your points, even where I disagree with you. Remember Hegel: Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis. (I'm not really that smart; I read about Hegel in an encyclopedia when I was a youth.) Only by presenting opposing ideas do we have any chance of achieving that better thought that goes beyond what any one of us can achieve on his or her own.

That being said, the interesting thing about those first four letters to me is this: They all have the same theme. That is, "I did it! Hey, everybody, look at me! I'm a super-criminal!" From the so-called "Debut of Zodiac" letter onward, the phrase "This is the Zodiac speaking" becomes almost a letterhead for him--oftentimes it is actually separated from the body of the text by extra line space. As far as the amount of time necessary to write it on the door goes, would it really have taken all that much longer?

The crosshair symbol is his signature--right from the start, it comes at the end. And yet, on the door of the Ghia, it's right at the top. Inexplicable? No. An anomaly that makes me wonder? Yes.

Why didn't he expose the "copycat"? I think, for one thing, it freaked him out. I think he didn't want to cast doubt on any crimes that might be associated with him, and I think he didn't want to risk setting off other nuts to rip him off as well. As the record of correspondence would build, hoaxes were, on more than one occasion, accepted as legitimate, and yet he never exposed those. He was also more than willing to try to get credit for the crimes of others, as witnessed by "I shot a man with a .38."

I think he did write the Bates "Confession" letter, and I think he learned an important lesson from it: You can't take credit for something you didn't do because the details you find in the paper or on TV can often turn out to be wrong. (I'm referring to his reference to the broken knife blade.) In the case of LB, I think he doesn't give his usual mountain of supporting evidence because he doesn't want to lose it because he made a mistake--he does the same thing with the Snoozy/Furlong murders.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (cache-ntc-af07.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.26.172) on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 09:06 am:

Bill,

Sorry about the SB screw-up, I don't know what the hell I was thinking. As for LB, my gut instinct tells me that it was a Zodiac crime, and that it was also committed by the same guy who committed SB. I also know that Howard has provided a plethora of examples as to why LB was a Zodiac crime. However, when these reasons are viewed individually or as a whole, I have to admit that there is absolutely nothing that stands out as being uniquely attributable to the Zodiac except the handwriting on the Ghia. Therefore, if we are to accept Morrill's conclusion that the handwriting on the Ghia is a match for Z's, shouldn't we also accept as fact that Zodiac wrote the "Bates had to die" letter? If so, then what does the Razor tell us with regard to the perpetrator of the Riverside murder?

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-006-183.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - 4.47.6.183) on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 12:57 pm:

Scott, I'm really torn between CJB as a Z crime and not. I've tried to approach it as objectively as I'm able, but it still comes down to a toss-up. The "Bates had to die" letter offers compelling evidence that the writer almost certainly had intimate knowledge of the crime, but the taunting (and cruel) style was not consistent with Z's messages, recognizing that his style might have changed over a three-year period. I can't see Z's hand on the desktop writing, however hard I try, and the abstract poetry is not remotely similar to anything Z created from 1969 on. (The Mikado references don't qualify as poetry he created.) I can't reconcile what Morrill concluded, other than to allow that he is/was the expert, and far be it from me to try and second guess him. No one's infallible, but that's why they're experts, having the ability to be right far more than they're wrong, looking at far more detail to arrive at a conclusion than we are able to do from our armchairs.

Your remark read: "Therefore, if we are to accept Morrill's conclusion that the handwriting on the Ghia is a match for Z's, shouldn't we also accept as fact that Zodiac wrote the 'Bates had to die' letter?" Since Morrill made no such comparison of Z's writing to the typewritten letter, I fail to see the inescapable conclusion you are fishing for. If you intended to say the desktop writing and it's connection to Z, ergo . . . then I must defer to my previous remarks about that. I would like to be able to say that if Morrill is correct on the Ghia writing, then chances are he is correct about the desktop, and Z must have been good for both. But I can't say that and feel comfortable with it.

As I alluded in my earlier post, I'm as guilty as anyone of having a "biased perspective," when it comes to the desktop writing and how my perception of that tends to taint my objectivity with respect to Z's involvement in the killing (I may be biased, but I'm no hypocrite). The face-to-face (no mask) interaction and confrontation with CJB is so unlike Z, in my opinion. But then, so was Stine. Employing the "Razor" standard, Z probably did kill in Riverside and at LB. I suppose my instincts, not always accurate, don't adhere to that principle in this case, because I'm not yet persuaded that two plus two equals four.

By Len (Len) (gw1.edeltacom.com - 216.248.176.30) on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 01:53 pm:

Re: Riverside. Since there is no proof that the author of the typed "Confession" letter and the author of the three handwritten notes was actually the perpetrator of the murder of CJB, no conclusions can be drawn from the letters to tie Riverside with any of the Bay Area attacks. Personally, I think that the then-future Zodiac did write the Confession letter and the notes, but did not kill the unfortunate Miss Bates. The style of the Confession letter is similar, it seems to me, to the three-part cipher, and the "signature" on two of the three notes looks to me like a poorly executed longhand capital Z. Perhaps he chose his moniker before he found out about the symbol for it.

I think that his original intention was to gain criminal celebrity by claiming to be the perpetrator of various high-profile murders. Just like he ended up doing after Stine.

In the Confession letter, though, he made mistakes. He says she didn't struggle, but she did. He says the knife broke, but apparently it didn't. He doesn't even know why you'd cut a distributor wire. After this, he realizes that you can't get credit without being able to prove your involvement, so, after a couple of years, he takes it a step further.

As far as LB goes, it's hard to get around the notion that whoever wrote on that door also attacked Mr. Hartnell and Miss Shepard.

Sherwood Merrill may have been right in all these instances, but he was human, and he did accept at least a couple of forgeries in this case as being the real thing.

Just some thoughts.

By Warren (Warren) (w205.z064002105.hou-tx.dsl.cnc.net - 64.2.105.205) on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 02:09 pm:

Bill - My life has become much more sanguine since I reconciled, whether right or wrong, that Z did not kill Bates but wrote the three "Bates had to die" letters and "The Confession" letter. I do not remember if it was Zander or one of the other diligent contributors, I believe on another board, that proved, at least to my satisfaction, that every supposed "know only to the Killer" detail in "The Confession" letter had previously been published by the press. And again, the factual errors, such as the knife breaking off, further cement that feeling for me. As to the desk top poem, it very well could be a troubled teenager's musings unrelated to any crime. If two stamps had been placed on it and the notation "Please Rush to Principal", well, who knows?
I have never doubted that LB was a Z crime; any discrepancy in style or content on the car door can easily be explained by haste, posture and adrenalin. By the way, and I hope this query does not offend you, apologies if so, but do you know things not known to the public that link your '63 murders with LB? I don't care to know the details, and obviously don't expect or want you to divulge same (sounds presumptuous, sorry, having trouble expressing here); only wondering if you are in a better position to judge.

By Warren (Warren) (w205.z064002105.hou-tx.dsl.cnc.net - 64.2.105.205) on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 02:14 pm:

Good lord, Len published just as I was checking spelling. And he expressed the point better than I could have hoped to.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-006-183.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - 4.47.6.183) on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 02:36 pm:

Warren, you wrote: ". . . do you know things not known to the public that link your '63 murders with LB?"

No. Only the benefit of 30+ years of mulling over the pros and cons, in possession of non-public info only as it pertains to the SB case. What I know of the Z cases is limited to what I've learned here, and brief conversations with several of the original Z investigators back in the early 70s. We have never established any true link between 1963 and 1968/9, only noting strong similarities between our case and LB.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (cache-ntc-af07.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.26.172) on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 05:04 pm:

Bill,

You wrote, "Since Morrill made no such comparison of Z's writing to the typewritten letter, I fail to see the inescapable conclusion you are fishing for."

Just to clarify, I was referring to the "Bates had to die" letters, not the typewritten letter. In addition to the desktop poem, I believe Morrill also found that the "Bates had to die" letters [notes, really] were a match with Z's handwriting. Nevertheless, there still exists a lingering doubt about Z's involvement in Riverside. My point is that if doubt exists as to Z's complicity in the Riverside murder, despite Morrill's conclusions about the Riverside handwriting, why not at Lake Berryessa, as well?

Warren, Len,

Excellent posts! It's good to see people such as yourselves bringing informed and relevant discussion to the message board. Keep up the good work!

Len, you wrote, "I think that the then-future Zodiac did write the Confession letter and the notes, but did not kill the unfortunate Miss Bates."

You may very well be right, but why would young Zodiac take credit for a crime he didn't commit, especially if he had committed murders prior to Riverside, i.e., Santa Barbara?

"[N]o conclusions can be drawn from the letters to tie Riverside with any of the Bay Area attacks."

Sure there can; Morrill came to the conclusion that the Zodiac missives and the Riverside [handwritten] letters were prepared by the same person. Granted, that doesn't necessarily mean that the Zodiac killed Cheri Jo Bates, but it certainly increases the likelihood.

"As far as LB goes, it's hard to get around the notion that whoever wrote on that door also attacked Mr. Hartnell and Miss Shepard."

Unless you happen to believe in the "2 perp" [2 people working together, not a copycat] theory, which I don't, so we certainly agree on that issue.

Warren, you wrote, "I have never doubted that LB was a Z crime; any discrepancy in style or content on the car door can easily be explained by haste, posture and adrenalin."

Absolutely, but what about every other discrepancies that can be pointed out besides those found in the handwriting on the car door? Please refer to any of the threads where Peter H has gone into immense detail on this matter. It's pretty fascinating stuff. Keep in mind, however, I'm not convinced that LB wasn't committed by the Zodiac, only that if you explore the possibility that it wasn't, some rather interesting dilemmas turn up.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-19167.linkline.com - 64.30.222.109) on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 08:24 pm:

Len,
If we read the Confession the author does not say the knife blade broke off and was imbedded in his victim or that a piece of the blade was in Bates.
"I plunged the [small]knife into her and it broke.I THEN finished the job by cutting her throat."
He is saying the blade was intact as he "THEN"- which indicates a sequential motion- 'cut her throat.'
I can't find anywhere in the letter that he claims the blade or a portion broke off in the victim.
He KNEW that the police could easily refute this claim of a broken blade remaining in his victim.The writer was dead serious in trying to convince everyone,including the police(he sent them a copy!) he was indeed the killer!
Let's say the blade did break.It is not impossible that the killer could have pulled the blade out.
There are other areas that can break on a knife.Since we have never seen this knife we don't know its design,so any portion could have broken.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-19167.linkline.com - 64.30.222.109) on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 09:21 pm:

Len,
Sorry for the fast follow,but I just saw another post where you say that the writer(whom I believe to be the young future "Zodiac") of the Confession letter 'contradicts' himself by saying Bates struggled, but that she really didn't.
The letter,though detailed,obviously wasn't meant to give a perfect or complete minute by minute account.
"Miss Bates was stupid.She went to the slaughter like a lamb.She did not put up a struggle.But I did.It was a ball."
This is a combination of present tense and proleptic narrative.
We divide the 'escort' TO alley from what transpired IN the alley.
He is saying that she fell("stupid") for the "Good Smaritan"routine."She WENT to the [FUTURE] slaughter" IN the alley.She made no effort to leave.Once IN the alley he produced a small (concealed) knife and quickly grabbed her,but she didn't struggle at this point.
Note he writes LATER that "She went very willingly."He LATER explains himself.He is also saying she was "like a lamb" ,that is, easily led,in this case,to its "slaughter."
LATER ,he writes what happened IN the alley and THAT'S WHERE he 'struggled' with her and enjoyed the fight"-it was a ball,"he writes!
NOW,in his alley depiction of events, he says "She died hard" as he fought(reminds me of the 10/5/70 postcard which said "Some of them fought it was horrible") with her..."She squirmed and shook as I choked her and her lips twitched(squirmed,shook and twitched are used in Zs then future 'torture letter' which clearly displays his sadistic side).This tells us he meant to strangle or 'choke' her to death and the small knife was used to gain compilance in that dark alley-it worked and he boasts about it in the first part of his letter.
It turned into a 'slaughter" as he was forced to use the knife on his surprisingly strong and agile victim.He, of course, says he "kicked her" and 'struggled' with her, all implying what we find in the gruesome autopsy.See my site.
The police certainly believed his reference about the "middle wire from the distributor" being "pulled" out-which was something they had held back.

There are no contradictions here at all-none.

By Len (Len) (gw1.edeltacom.com - 216.248.176.30) on Thursday, November 21, 2002 - 06:40 am:

This is what I get for taking the time go home, be with my family, and sleep!

Warren: Thanks for the compliment. I know I always look forward to a post from the WB.

Scott: You have this nasty habit of making me think and forcing me to refine my thoughts and expressions thereof. Thanks. Let me clarify a bit in regards to the connection between the Riverside letters and the Bay Area attacks. I think that what I'm saying here (I"m still working on my first cup of coffee--please be patient) is that it is easier to tie the author of the Riverside correspondence to the author of the Bay Area correspondence than it is to tie the perpetrator of the Riverside crime to the perpetrator of any or all of the Bay Area crimes. As I say, I do think the correspondence in both instances was written by the same person.

I agree that it would be unlikely that he would have tried to take credit for something he hadn't done if he were already responsible for SB. I need to go back over previous posts on the SB killings to see what effect they have on my overall thinking. Of course, it is possible that SB and LB were connected but not related to any of the other crimes.

And finally, I agree about the "2 perp' theory. Doesn't seem likely to me.

Bill: I had occasion a dozen or more years ago to spend a couple of weeks in the Lompoc/Santa Maria area. Every time I think about the citizens of that quiet little western town having to dealing with a crime of the magnitude of SB, I get chilled to the bone.

By Warren (Warren) (w205.z064002105.hou-tx.dsl.cnc.net - 64.2.105.205) on Thursday, November 21, 2002 - 07:47 am:

Eduard Versluijs was kind enough not to embarrass me on the board and E-mailed me that it was his website where I had read the well reasoned analysis of "The Confession" letter. The WB

By Len (Len) (gw1.edeltacom.com - 216.248.176.30) on Thursday, November 21, 2002 - 08:16 am:

Howard: Your two excellent posts deserved their own reply. Let's hope I'm up to it. (Actually, my wife is the English major in the family. She's much better qualified than I to discuss the issues you bring to the table. Unfortunately, I don't think she could be pursuaded to discuss it with you, since that would involve actually reading the Confession letter. A bit gory and fiendish for her tastes.)

Okay, the knife. Obviously, the writer is not saying that the knife broke to a point in which it was ususable. His implication is that the knife blade broke while in Cheri Jo's body--"I plunged the knife into her and it broke"--and the broken piece, as far as I can tell was never found. Where did it go? In the independent clause "and it broke," to what does the pronoun "it" refer if not the knife? If it was not the blade that broke, then what did? The handle? (Which implies that it was a kitchen knife rather than a pocket knife.) Wouldn't it have made cutting her throat harder if the handle had broken from the point of view of proper application of leverage? And can you imagine the difficulties that would have arisen from having the handle break while the blade was still in situ? And, if he were the killer, and the knife broke, and he retrieved all the pieces, why mention it at all? It still provides no proof that the author of the letter is the killer.

I see your points in your second post, but as a matter of interpretation, I still disagree. It's interesting to note that the contemporaneous newspaper reports actually used the phrase "she put up a struggle." It seems to me that the writer was trying to contradict those reports in the same way that the Zodiac would later try to discredit reports that he peeled out after the attack at BRS.

In regards to the reference to the distributor, my original point was that the author of the letter didn't know what the significance of disconnecting the distributor was. He seemed to think that it somehow drained the battery, but that's not true. Disconnecting the distributor would have kept the electricity in the battery from reaching the spark plugs. I, personally, don't think that anyone who didn't know how a distributor worked would stand much of a chance of finding one under a hood--even the hood of a VW bug.

Finally, there were newspaper reports of the coil and condenser being pulled out--not cut--as early as 10/31/66.

I have to admit, though, that your deconstruction of the text is impressive and is not something to be tossed aside lightly.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (dialup-63.214.87.181.dial1.boston1.level3.net - 63.214.87.181) on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 12:39 pm:

Bill:

It hurts to be dismised so backhandedly as biased. I worked hard analizing LB parsing all the known facts -- just as hard as Howard did in parsing why all the known facts could be Z -- and have come to the as yet unchallenged conclusion that the only possible link (on the level of only-the-killer-knew information) is the handwriting. No one has even tried to rebut that, and Scott and many others seems to endorse it. Howard's "examples" are all interpretive, theorizing, not links. And not one fact is inconsistent with the writng not being Z's. Not one.

So two questions: First just what is this bias you see in me? You have any evidence at all other than I came by my conclusions honestly, by looking at all the facts, weighing all the possible explanations and conclusing rationally tat the simplest explanation for all of the known facts is that someone else did it? No you dobn't, because that's exactly ehat I did.

Second You wrote: "but it stands to reason that if the writing on the door has been validated by Morrill as being the work of Z, and you maintain otherwise, then the way you, personally, evaluate Z's writing with that on the Ghia must necessarily be with a jaundiced eye."

Substitute "desktop poem" for the writing oin the door in the above quote and see if the shoe doesn't fit:

"but it stands to reason that if the writing on the desk has been validated by Morrill as being the work of Z, and you maintain otherwise, then the way you, personally, evaluate Z's writing with that on the desk must necessarily be with a jaundiced eye."

How come you get to reject the desk-top, in spite of Morril's ID of it, because you don't see Z's hand in it, but my rejection of the Ghia writing is biased.

You don't see Z's hand in the poem and doubt CJB.

I don't see it ibn the Ghia door, and I doubt LB.

What's the difference?

By Len (Len) (gw1.edeltacom.com - 216.248.176.30) on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 01:42 pm:

Peter--

I'd be very interested in your complete analysis of LB. Feel free to contact me privately, if you prefer.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-000-194.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - 4.47.0.194) on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 01:43 pm:

Peter, if you haven't already done so, please read my post above (11-20-02, 12:57), particularly the last paragraph. I am not being hypocritical, but rather, saying to you, "It takes one to know one." 'Nuff said. Period.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (222.philadelphia06rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.27.222) on Saturday, November 23, 2002 - 12:01 am:

If you subscribe to the idea that "handwriting expert" is the equivalent of "magician," I can see where Morrill's analyses might cause some confusion. I think we're all pretty much aware of just how difficult it is to contrast generic printing styles, and I'm a bit surprised that Morrill would have stuck his neck out so far with the Riverside materials.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-000-194.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - 4.47.0.194) on Saturday, November 23, 2002 - 12:27 am:

You and I are in agreement on that. We all probably appreciate that it is a very inexact science (I'd call it an art, not a science), and how subjective it seems to be. Especially when a dozen experts in a blind study of the materials would never be unanimous in their opinions. Thank goodness that Z was considerate enough to provide more compelling evidence of his involvement in Stine's demise.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (196.philadelphia01rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.17.196) on Saturday, November 23, 2002 - 07:19 am:

I'm surprised they don't couch their conclusions in terms of probabilities, rather than coming out and declaring yes or no on a match.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-000-194.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - 4.47.0.194) on Saturday, November 23, 2002 - 07:57 am:

It wouldn't have any courtroom value, only of use as an investigative aid, if they didn't make such a conclusive declaration. Then again, some of that self-assuredness could be ego, too.