Connection between Bates and Stine murders?

Connection between Bates and Stine murders?

Postby Mr.Boodles » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:30 am

I have always been bothered by the Stine murder. It was an outlier, an aberration compared to Zodiac's established modus operandi. Zodiac preyed on young couples in isolated, backwoods lover's lanes. Paul Stine was an older single man killed in the heart of one of Frisco's most tony neighborhoods. Stine was also killed relatively soon after Lake Berryessa, the killer striking within weeks rather than months. Zodiac also took evidence from the crime scene - a square of bloody shirt - to validate this killing, which he had to have understood was unlike any of his previous slayings. But why not just detail things only the killer would know in one of his letters, as he had numerous times before (brand of ammo, position of body, area of gunshot, etc)? Why take the time, when time was of the utmost essence, to cut off a swath of clothing? I believe the Presidio Heights killing is so unlike Zodiac because it was the only Zodiac killing that was done out of necessity rather than impulse. I believe Paul Stine was the Zodiac's last killing, and that the poor cabbie died because of Zodiac's first murder - that of Cheri Jo Bates. Allow me to explain my theory, and the rather uncomfortable inference it raises.

Paul Avery broke the news of a possible Riverside connection to the Zodiac killings in November of 1970. But he was only reporting old news. We know that over a year before Thomas Kinkead contacted Mel Nicolai inquiring about the similarities between the death of Miss Bates and what had transpired in Benicia, Vallejo, and San Francisco. We know, due to the diligence of some taking part in these very boards, that that phone call was placed on October 17, 1969 - six days after Stine was gunned down. However, might we suppose that prior to reaching out to Nicolai, Riverside PD had held internal discussions regarding such a possibility? That the call was only made after a consensus had been reached? And if so, what does that infer? That Riverside had come to this conclusion prior to Paul Stine becoming one of Zodiac's slaves. Now this is where things get a little troubling. I think Zodiac was somehow connected to Riverside PD. I think the timing and nature of Paul Stine's killing alludes to as much. What was it he repeatedly stated? That he was in control of all things, that he knew everything. One could even infer his blatant hatred of the police was possibly projection, or an intentional ruse to further distance any inklings of a law enforcement connection. Regardless, I believe he either knew or got tipped off of the Bates association to his Northern California shenanigans. He had to act and he had to act fast. A cab driver makes an ideal victim in a hitch - he even drives you to his own crime scene. That's what I believe Paul Stine sadly was, no more than a means to an ends.

I believe the Zodiac killed Paul Stine solely to leave fake prints because he knew the import of the Riverside connection having been made. He feared he would come under scrutiny - either because of a prior known association with Cheri Jo Bates, or that the small town of Riverside would really winnow down the suspect pool. Obtaining the fingers of some poor SOB he killed and buried rather than glorified, he marked up the cab intentionally. The gloves left in the backseat are a dead giveaway. Are we to believe he had enough foresight to bring them, but not wear them, let alone leave them behind? Incredulous. They were planted, to make the police think he didn't wear them. To make them dust for prints. The kids reporting the Stine homicide said they saw his murderer go around the vehicle with a rag. I submit that the police colored this narrative, thinking he cut off the shirt to wipe down the cab - remember, prior to pieces of the blood soaked shirt coming back to them as letter verifiers, they had no idea this was the work of the Zodiac. I believe it was always Zodiac's intention to take the shirt piece - not to wipe away prints, but as undeniable, irrefutable evidence tying this crime to him. But he does this at no time before - why now? Why Mr. Stine? Because he needed the planted prints to be associated with Stine's slayer. With Zodiac. The timing really gives it away. Probably within a week or so of Riverside connecting Bates with Zodiac, Stine is slaughtered. Because he had to get those prints to the cops ASAP. And how quickly he takes credit for it! And ponder this - he is stopped by Fouke and Zelms, they get a good look at him, all he had to do to not have this associated with him, with Zodiac, is to not take credit for it. Otherwise it is what the police initially took it as - a hold-up gone bad. But no, positive identification be damned, he announces it to the world as fast as he can get it posted. And what follows? A sudden fixation with prominent California attorneys, Bailey and Belli. Why? Possibly because he was prepping a defense for if and when those "blue meanies" came knocking. Something put the fear of God in him. And then what? After Stine? Nothing. Nothing ever again. What an odd denouement, wouldn't you say?

In summation, I believe Cheri Jo Bates was the Zodiac's first victim. A crime of unrequited passion, her death served only to introduce a deranged mind to the unexpected delight of cold-blooded murder, from which a monster was birthed. As such, it lacked the methodic nature of his future killings. He knew this. He also knew people perhaps suspected him, or realized that such a small town might offer up his name rather easily. That his handwriting could be tied to the Bates Had to Die letters and the RCC library desk. Something about Cheri terrified him, which was why he only casually - too casually - acknowledged it months after Avery's scoop. So there you have it, the end defines the beginning. I welcome input and criticism as to my thoughts, as both may either modify and improve - or outright refute - my musings. I do believe in a connection between Bates and Stine, the Alpha and Omega of this case. It all begins and ends because of Cheri Jo.
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Re: Connection between Bates and Stine murders?

Postby monarch » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:33 am

Very interesting theory, however if the detectives were able to zero in on him because of the Riverside connection
his fingerprints would still be a match for the prints recovered from Cheri Jo's VW and that is all they would need
to send him to death row.
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Re: Connection between Bates and Stine murders?

Postby Mr.Boodles » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:06 pm

You assume they were usable prints. Also, we are dealing with a killer that from his correspondence we know doesn't think like a normal person. Even if the Bates prints are good, maybe he figured they would only be able to tie one murder to him rather than the whole series. I just find the timing and aberration of the Stine killing odd. When I looked at it for the umpteenth time it occurred to me that it was a killing out of desperation. That is why the high risk. That is why it breaks the M.O. That is why the evidence grab as proof Stine was no random. Once you look at it that way, that Zodiac saw Stine's death as a necessity rather than need, as an imperative, then one must ask why? Why was this the case. What happened of any significance in the Z case just prior to Stine getting a cranial? I speculate - as we all must dealing with a cold case decades old and one which we are not privy to private conversations held by secretive LE personnel - that the Bates connection was made in the weeks before Stine's death. And that it was not reported until a year later raises a concerning possibility. How did Zodiac know this when no one outside of Riverside PD did? Thanks for the feedback. You are right, I just believe they never got usable prints off the VW. That's why they resorted to DNA to clear Bennett. If they had a solid set of prints they would have eliminated him as a suspect years ago rather than harbor a hard-on for him for decades. What I find distressing is they used the Stine prints to clear just about every major suspect ever. Could you imagine if that is Zodiac's last act of diabolic genius? That he planted the only usable evidence against him at the time?
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Re: Connection between Bates and Stine murders?

Postby Tahoe27 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:18 pm

Hey Mr. Boodles,

There are things about what you wrote I can consider possibilities, and others I question.

I saw a movie not that long ago...Jack Reacher, I think. They said some things in that movie that really made me think! Of course one was involving more victims than the intended target (like the ABC Murders), but the other was a comment about making them focus so much on the killer, you don't pay that much attention to the victims. So many look at Darlene, but I cannot help but continually go back to Stine.

As far as the prints on Cheri's car, if she knew the guy, there could be reason his prints were on her car. The guy's DNA under her fingernails...seals the deal.

Thanks for sharing your ideas, and welcoming positive input, as well as criticism. :)
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"...they may be dealing with one or more ersatz Zodiacs--other psychotics eager to get into the act, or perhaps even other murderers eager to lay their crimes at the real Zodiac's doorstep." L.A. Times, 1969
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Re: Connection between Bates and Stine murders?

Postby Mr.Boodles » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:00 pm

Good to hear from you Tahoe. You are right about the DNA, I just don't think that was in the realm of possibility in '66 -'70. Printing, and maybe blood typing, was about the extent of forensics at the time. So Zodiac would solely be concerned with prints. To be honest, I question the print evidence LE claims to have - even that pulled from the Stine cab - as to the quality and usability. I find it hard to believe that someone as antisocial- murderously so - as Zodiac was never fingerprinted. Never arrested? Not even for some piddling offense, such as stalking or assault? According to some theorists, possibly possessing LE or military training - yet no prints on file? I rather choose to believe, as some candid police authorities have admitted, that the workable print evidence is poor at best. Little to nothing from Bates, I believe he wore gloves in the others, and the Stine cab was so caked with blood that even if they weren't planted - which I believe they were - they would make for insufficient comparatives. That's just my two cents. Funny, as often as Zodiac is compared with Jack the Ripper, I believe we have a similar set of circumstances. Just as I think Mary Kelly holds the key to unlocking the Ripper's identity, I believe Cheri Jo Bates does with Zodiac. Because of Graysmith, everyone fixates on Darlene Ferrin and who was at her painting party, but I suspect it was an earlier victim who deserves more of our scrutiny.
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Re: Connection between Bates and Stine murders?

Postby CuriousCat » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:00 am

Interesting theory there Mr Boodles. The problems I see with it is you are assuming things as fact that we don't know. Like that they used Stine's prints to clear all suspects. Perhaps you know something I don't but I would never assume they did. We don't know what the police have.

You also seem certain Cheri Joe Bates was his first victim. I'm reasonable convinced Zodiac is responsible for the 1963 Domingo/Edwards murders. There are just too many similarities. I believe Zodiac told us something when he mentioned the police discovering the CJB murder and that there are "a hell of a lot more down there".

I'm sure some would say I'm assuming things by saying CJB was an actual Zodiac victim. However, I'm convinced Zodiac wrote the letters and the letter writer was the killer. The police say the letter had things only the killer would know and most point to the distributor wire as being mentioned and that the writer had seen it in the newspaper. Myself, I think it's due to the writer mentioning he kicked her in the head. I doubt that was in the newspaper and it was probably found in the autopsy she had indeed been kicked in the head.

I'd agree it might have made him nervous when they started looking into CJB and that's because he knew her personally. Not sure I'd agree he killed Stine just to thrown them off the scent of CJB's however.

Stein does appear to be a bit of an outlier when it comes to Zodiac, but so does CJB. I'd agree those two might be the best to concentrate on. There is a reason he chose Stine as opposed to killing couples in out of the way places.
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Re: Connection between Bates and Stine murders?

Postby Marshall » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:36 am

Mr.Boodles wrote:I believe the Zodiac killed Paul Stine solely to leave fake prints because he knew the import of the Riverside connection having been made.


Wouldn't it have been far easier to leave a false print on a confirmed Z letter? No need to stage another murder just to leave a false print. Just send another letter tying together whichever crimes he wants (Z crimes, Bates, whatever) and leave a false print somewhere on it.

After a few discussions with another board member here, my current working theory is that Z killed Stine to re-establish himself, because I don't think it was him at LB. He was the killer in the Bay Area, as he claimed. That's why he went overboard to prove it with a bloody shirt piece, and why the PH crime was so soon after LB.

Zodiac shot unarmed, unsuspecting people with zero chance to protect themselves. That was his MO in my opinion.
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Re: Connection between Bates and Stine murders?

Postby Mr.Boodles » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:13 pm

Possible, but we are talking about a killer here, are we not? Plus, a letter is not the same as an actual crime scene. And without a body, who's to say an intentionally fingerprinted letter would even be taken as 100% legit? There are people here that doubt Sherwood Morrell's expert analysis. No, a letter is simply not as powerful or defining. And Berryessa was Z, the writing on the car door seals it and was all the communication he needed. I think he probably felt Hartnell's horrifying retelling was better than any taunting letter even he could ever compose. So this "re-establishing" himself was never needed. Besides, what did he do after hitting Stine? Faded away back into the shadows forevermore. Some big reassertion.
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Re: Connection between Bates and Stine murders?

Postby Marshall » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:34 am

Mr.Boodles wrote:Possible, but we are talking about a killer here, are we not? Plus, a letter is not the same as an actual crime scene. And without a body, who's to say an intentionally fingerprinted letter would even be taken as 100% legit? There are people here that doubt Sherwood Morrell's expert analysis. No, a letter is simply not as powerful or defining. And Berryessa was Z, the writing on the car door seals it and was all the communication he needed. I think he probably felt Hartnell's horrifying retelling was better than any taunting letter even he could ever compose. So this "re-establishing" himself was never needed. Besides, what did he do after hitting Stine? Faded away back into the shadows forevermore. Some big reassertion.


You are saying a letter could not be proven to be 100% legit, but are then saying a few words written on a car door prove he was at Berryessa. I think letters that give facts only the killer could know are more powerful than a small writing sample from a door.

When you say "I think he probably felt Hartnell's horrifying retelling was better than any taunting letter even he could ever compose." are you suggesting he intended for Bryan to survive?

In the letter gloating about the Stine murder he says he is the killer from the Bay Area. He excludes LB and never mentions it. Z giving up the chance to gloat is not his pattern.

But whatever. Nobody including me knows for sure.
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Re: Connection between Bates and Stine murders?

Postby Mr.Boodles » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:27 am

Exactly, Marshal, nobody knows for sure. One can only speculate. But to address some of your inferences... I do not believe he thought Hartnell would survive, but when he did he was probably stoked the world heard about his picnic crashing. Especially after working so hard on his costume. And for my little supposition to work, then he needed beyond a shadow of a doubt the police to accept Stine as a Zodiac crime. A letter with a planted print - when no prints were left on the car for comparison - would leave too much to chance. This is precisely why I think, and cited as past examples, why he didn't do as before and merely send a corroborating letter. Look, you believe LB wasn't Zodiac. That's fine. But don't pick my possibility apart based on your own belief (which I'm sure is amongst the minority on this site). We are probably both wrong. Forget the planted prints and just concentrate on the anomalies of the Stine killing.

1. Not a couple
2. Not in an isolated area or "lover's lane"
3. Single older male
4. Evidence taken from scene
5. Witnesses
6. Occurring weeks rather than months after previous attack
7. Proof of murder mailed to press
8. Last known slaying attributed to Zodiac

If nothing more, can we not agree the Stine murder is odd when set amongst the agreed upon canonical victims? And that it is his finale makes it all the more perplexing. All I propose is that we look at why that is. In looking as to what happened of any significance around that time, I postulated it was Riverside connecting Bates to Zodiac. Just putting it out there as a possibility. But you don't believe Bates was Zodiac, do you?
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