The ZODIAC– Signs of Frustration

I know my HorrorScope updates are frustrating for some, but they serve a purpose. They reflect the frustrations of actually outing a major serial killer and solving a cold case. The genre has been choked books that claimed “Solved” and present nothing but hypothesis and accusation.

As the recent solution to EAR-ONS has shown, the people are tired of that. Cold case investigators and the public want solution for real . . .not just claims of it for S&M purposes. Few in the reading audience buy into the claims on a book’s cover anymore. They don’t believe for obvious reasons– the claim of “solution” has failed way too many times.

As more web sleuths get refined in their search for cold case information, they have become more in tuned to what is required in a thesis to start the process rolling for investigating a person of interest. They understand the power of DNA. Compare now this experience with your usual run of the mill cold case accusation “solved” book and it is apparent the authors merely stews in their own theorizing and don’t have enough except to incite some curiosity. The subject of the book really only rates “person of interest” status and not “solved.” With today’s ability to chase down DNA, it is easy to mark a person of interest off the list. Books that rely on just causing suspicion about an individual are now obsolete.

For me, it is not enough that I have moral certainty and even hand printing from a much later date. I wish vintage hand printing circa 1964-1967. This has caused the delay. It is one needed both for the thesis promised to Law Enforcement and for presentation to the public in my own thesis.  

Another delay is that I said I would deliver a thesis outlining how I came to Zodiac and why there is no doubt even without DNA that this man presented herein is the infamous, bragging Zodiac Killer. This thesis could be up to 30 pages. It is to stimulate a behind-the-scenes official investigation.

Although everybody wants the case solved, there is human nature.  We have to accept it. I’ve already been warned in another case that the wagons are being circled around it because I have inquired about it. Everybody wants these cases solved, but some want to be the one to solve it. It is the nature of the beast. You work within this atmosphere. You do not rail against it.

Books that promise “solution” based on mere suspicion are easy to put out.  Unequivocal solution takes times and intricate steps. I don’t mind the delays, as frustrating as they are. And the updates, as frustrating as they may be, help to impose upon you as well that the solution, absolute and unequivocal, is preparing to be presented.  

In the next blog post let’s discuss what must be done to “officially solve” the Zodiac’s identity. Actually, DNA legally cannot do it on its own in this case.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

 

 

 

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The True Mindset of NorCal Rapist

From my last major blog on NorCal Rapist the reader no doubt got the impression I dislike the “psychological profile” that has been asserted about him– namely that he deluded himself into believing that his home invasion rapes were consensual. This psycho profile has been asserted only once, so it is not something dominant, but sadly this one time is the only time there has been any kind of in depth review of this lost case.

I dislike this profile because it is false. But more than this it is a certain type of falsehood that creates a very dangerous effect– it minimizes NorCal’s evil.

Fortunately such psycho profiles are fading, put in place in an era in which metaphor was still heavily being used by psychiatry as a base off which to theorize. A particularly horrid example is the metaphor of the bed. In the 1950s it was a metaphor for “mother.” So when a kid wet his bed he was subconsciously saying he hates momma. Yet later it was discovered that when certain allergens were taken away from the child, the bed wetting stopped. The rather obvious deduction was made: bed wetting was the result of the “sneezing” of an allergic bladder.

But before such strides were made in medicine, can you imagine how many children and how many mothers were given a guilt trip over the event of bed wetting?

In 2005, Dr. Richard McNally (Harvard) and Dr. Grant Devilly (Duke), testified before the supreme court in order to bring it up to date on the recent outlooks within the business of psychology. McNally declared of “repressed memory” that is did not exist. It was the biggest “bit of folklore to ever infect psychology and psychiatry.”

Yet for 100 years psychologists believed that people could forget (repress) traumatic experiences. Though individually none had ever treated a case of it, collectively they must have believed that it was always some other shrink that had the cases. When the data was finally collated, it was discovered no psychologist ever had a case. On the contrary, real studies showed that victims of traumatic experiences wanted to forget them but couldn’t (not surprisingly).

These are just two examples where past theories that had been used to interpret real life events had crumbled to actual data collation and logic.

Even with the minimal amount that is known about NorCal rapist’s dialog with his victims, and what can be deduced (so far) about his modus operandi of selecting them, it is clear he knew well that he was breaking and entering, terrorizing and raping his victims against their will. His sarcastic little tauntings make it plain, just as his image in the ATM camera testifies to his intent.

While draining one victim’s account in 1997 (using her ATM card), he put back in place the smiling Mardi Gras mask to conceal his features. He turned this way and that to reveal he had a mask on and had outguessed those who would see this film and try and follow him.

ATM

NorCal knew well that he stalked, bound and gagged, terrorized, raped, and robbed his victims . . . and he enjoyed it for those reasons. He took the necessary precautions to avoid being followed. With his last victims he took them into the shower and tried to wash them clean.

Either the Martinez victim or the idea of attacking on Halloween excited him enough that he broke his pattern and struck on a weekday night. Here he wore a plastic skull mask. This bit of drama began a new pattern in him. At the next victim he would wear the jubilating Mardi Gras mask.  It fit with the theatricality he had displayed, it blended better in the early morning at the ATM while he robbed the victim.

Two months after his Halloween 1996 strike the movie Scream would premiere. It would feature a similar MO– someone lurking outside the house, peeping in the windows and mysteriously appearing inside dressed in a Halloween costume and ghost mask. This perhaps helps you envision him in action . . .except in real life.  A month later at the end of January 1997 he would wear the smiling Mardi Gras mask and strike in Davis, California.  This was the closest together of all of his attacks– Martinez, Davis. He was on a roll now. In July he would strike in far away Chico, another college town like Davis.

Something had clearly changed in him after his first taste of theatricality. His first victim had been in June 1991, the second in February 1992 (at which he wore nothing more dramatic than a ski mask). Martinez was his third, Davis a few months later his fourth, Chico his fifth . . . but the roll stopped here.

(The year of his aborted Woodland strike has been lost; still searching for it.)

He then vanished again until 2000 and returned to Davis. Did he have victims in the interim? I don’t know. He threatened his victims at the end that if they went to the police there would be trouble. He reminded them that he knew what they looked like. They didn’t know what he looked like. Some may have been cowed from going to the authorities. But his threat above, confirmed by Victim 1, makes it plain he knew this wasn’t consensual.

NorCal was a premeditative, cautious, and self indulgent rapist. The home invasion serials are the most careful, cleverest, and hardest to  find. It’s time to get much more information out there of this performing, taunting rapist.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

 

 

EAR-ONS– The Trial(s) in Sacramento and Tribulations in Orange County

Months ago in my article Justice Means Just Us I touched on a few points of what it was like to be behind-the-scenes investigating EAR-ONS. It was not a popular case until recently, and there had to be a lot of pioneering just to be able to put in place the actual crimes of the villain. There had only been one TV doc back in 2009, and the books that had been published thereafter were all self published. Those sell a few hundred copies at best. Until the 48 Hours TV spot in April 2017, which used my investigation as source at the urging of Michelle Cruz, there was nothing of significance on TV since 2009.

In between, there were two websites that offered basic information and for one a tip line. After my website went up in 2015, an avalanche began. Not only was I able to communicate freely with investigators in a couple of jurisdictions, I learned how dedicated they were to finding EAR-ONS. Orange County’s DA Homicide Cold Case Unit were particularly dedicated. They were (and are) located in Santa Ana at the police department. They are not involved in what follows. I want that made clear.

With my first contact with the FBI, I realized there was something implicit in the attitude of law enforcement. They weren’t going to tailor any information for those on blogs and message boards. Believe me, I had already learned from experience (from bizarre emails) that there was some strange communal reinforcement among the cranks on message boards that by chattering about the case during the years of its obscurity they had made it famous. In fact, their rivalrous attitudes scared official investigators more than in other cases.  I’ve discovered that the alias nature of the boards makes it a perfect breeding ground for people who are outrageously obtuse, incredibly rivalrous, and as such remarkably spontaneous.  They seem to have their own inbred concept of expertise and relevance.

Unfortunately, someone catered to the rivalrous nature that dominated this realm, and this book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is sluiced with statements so boastful in nature that the misconduct of what they implied against Orange County was lost on the writers. Despite the hype of publicists, Michelle McNamara did not have a broad knowledge of the EAR-ONS case. Apparently she just spent most of her time off and on trying to pillage Orange County’s records. Statements are made in the book that she obtained (“borrowed”) and went through without oversight 37 boxes of files that are variously attributed to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department lockers or to the Prosecutor’s office.

Months ago I warned in my article what a defense attorney could make out of such claims. Those and other statements and actions imply missteps on the part of Orange County’s handling of evidence. McNamara also claimed to have obtained a copy of EAR’s DNA profile and this was published in the book as the hook for outing EAR’s identity. My article deals with how this was inaccurate DNA and probably completely bogus DNA.

However to the ultimate point here– a former assistant DA for Orange County has now written a letter to Sacramento’s DA, Anne Marie Shubert, warning her not to combine the Sacramento cases and the Orange county cases. His reason: “past prosecutorial missteps” in Orange County which had gotten murder charges overturned. His warning may be politically motivated, but there are no questions that such things happened in Orange County back in 2012, and the egregious boasts in McNamara’s book imply that evidence and police files were free for “borrowing” by a civilian in the 4 murder cases they had for Original Night Stalker– the East Area Rapist.

Both DeAngelo’s defense attorneys and the prosecutors know of the statements in the book.

In my article I warned how the prosecution would have to be prepared to defend against the claims in McNamara’s book, not just the boastful and rivalrous statements regarding the documents she obtained but they must also expose the false assertions that she had been heavily involved behind-the-scenes and was therefore really in any position to get what is claimed in the book.  From statements in the book, she apparently did little else between 2011 and January 2016 except try and get more folders of files from Orange County.  She conducted a few interviews in between and mostly tried to use the bogus DNA she had to trace EAR’s family.

The superficiality of the book rankled those who had truly been involved, especially when it was coupled by the outrageous promotions. But now it could get worse. The boasts in the book could jeopardize the case against Joseph DeAngelo. It is not enough that the DA’s office in Sacramento says the book had nothing to do with solving the case. They should take heed from the warnings and combine as many of the cases as they can against DeAngelo in Sacramento and begin to take to task the misinformation. . .

There is much that McNamara probably would not have admitted to in her book had she lived to publish it herself. A living author would have been ruined by some of the claims, and then the exposure of the DNA as false would have completely exposed any author as having been superficial. But the book was written and published by others who seemed more interested in one-upping the rivalrous nature of the message boards. And they seem to have been blind to the ramifications of their claims that they had, through McNamara’s files, enough admissible evidence from the official lockers to be in a race with the police to catch EAR-ONS.

Now the sham is going to have to come out in open court just to protect the labor of decades of those who really sought the ultimate Night Predator. McNamara NEVER had EAR’s DNA. He was NEVER German-English as she asserted in a 2011 podcast based on the false DNA she had. And it is (hopefully) unlikely that she was trotting out the doors at Orange County with a minivan full of restricted evidence.

Famous crime sprees have had dozens of books written about them, giving the dedicated reader much information to balance and determine on a curve who really was an investigative reporter in their books. Unfortunately, there’s only been ONE for EAR-ONS. Had I’ll be Gone in the Dark been only one of a couple dozen books that followed before the case was solved, it would have long been dismissed as a shallow and ill thought installment.  But sadly I fear the combined DA’s will have to deal with it, and this will mean dividing trials.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

NORCAL Rapist Takes Form

Our man, NORCAL the theatrical rapist, was a weekend rapist with one exception so far. This exception was Halloween. In 1996 it fell on Thursday night. So far, though two jurisdictions are still searching their records, this is the only time he broke his pattern of Friday, Saturday or Sunday strikes.

This is also apparently the first time he wore a theatrical mask– a plastic skeleton  mask. In Vallejo he wore a basic ski mask. Victim 1 did not state publicly if he wore a halloween_3_skull_6222017pmgmask (probably did) but she said she never saw his face.

So as it stands we can infer striking on Halloween really meant something to him. And the thrill of a theatrical mask zinged with him. At his next victim’s (in Davis) he wore a smiling Mardi Gras mask.

Unfortunately, very little has been reported of this case. I’m the first to get the actual dates.  There was one AMW show. It wasn’t in depth. It didn’t even confirm the crime dates. Based on only a few cases there was a questionable psychological profile– one that said in his mind he believed his victims were consensual partners.

Logically, this doesn’t fit with the facts as already established. His threat to the victims at the end of the ordeal are particularly revealing. This is where he warns them that they better not go to the police because “You don’t know who I am but I know who you are.” He made it plain he’d get even. Also, he called the Halloween victim a couple weeks later and supposedly asked her if she enjoyed “my raping you.” I must confirm that word was used. No one uses the word “rape” and thinks he engaged in a consensual act. Moreover, Victim 1 confirmed the sarcastic farewell he gave her, reminding her she should lock her doors or someone might come in and burglarize her– the exact method, of course, by which he got in her condo. Wearing

ATM
Smugly showing off his mask for the camera, Davis 1997.

that smiling mask and looking into the ATM camera while draining the 1997 Davis victim’s account is yet another taunt that plainly reveals he was enjoying what he knew was theft and rape.

There is nothing delusional about NORCAL. He was calculating and premeditative. He knew exactly what he was doing. . . .and he enjoyed it. He also planned it carefully. He drove over northern Cal to strike on weekends, but he came across his victims sometime before this. He worked during the week and must have had many weekends off. How many weekends had he spent stalking them weeks or months in advance?

More info is needed to even put this arrogant villain on the map. Until now this phantom of the opera rapist has controlled the stage. But it is time to lift the curtain.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

HorrorScope Taking Form– Identifying the Zodiac Killer

I’m glad to say that the cover art that I designed has on the large been accepted as the dust jacket for HorrorScope. It’s simple and doesn’t divert the eyes much, and this is needed over such a subject as this.

Zodiacmockup-icon

William Fiesterman adjusted an actual photo to create the lifeless, cold visage of the Zodiac; and I added the crosshair. Bill was one of Will Vinton’s animators and the animation director on the original California Raisin’s commercial, one of the 1980s’ popular culture icons.  The image of Zodiac, black and white and in shadows, reveals the true Zodiac Killer but also shows how the heavyset villain could inspire the San Francisco PD sketch, which shows Zodiac looking very skinny. Without eyes, he is a heartless killer, and the symbolism of the crosshair you all know.

I will share more aspects of the book’s artistry (back cover,  etc) as they take form. It’s finally time to bury this case, and I’m glad we are in the last mile.

Zodiac-Schoolbus

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

Did the ZODIAC Kill Again?

DNA is all the rage now for solving old cold cases by finding an unsuspecting cousin in the database and then following his heritage to uncover the miscreant relative. But this method’s success is dependent on several factors. Just because a suspected villain’s DNA is preserved from a crime scene doesn’t mean genealogical searching will pay off.

The identity of the Zodiac Killer may one day be confirmed via DNA, but his MO makes it unlikely that he could ever be proven to have murdered other victims after his last known victim, Paul Stine, in October 1969.  The DNA attributed to Zodiac is actually from stamps on the boastful letters he mailed. But if Zodiac gunned down other victims and didn’t brag about it, like he said he would, there would be no DNA from those unsolved crime cases to compare with his in order to make a connection.

Even if a clear, incontrovertible DNA profile is pulled from the Zodiac’s stamps yet again, it is DNA that is not recovered in perpetration. The features of the man that it leads to would still have to be compared to the PD sketches and then, most of all, samples of his hand printing compared to Zodiac’s printing.  His hand printing constitutes evidence in perpetration.

But before Zodiac turned to becoming the Zodiac . . .? This is another matter.

Although many doubt that the Zodiac Killer ever killed again after he murdered Paul Stine, no one is really too sure if he had murdered before his first Vallejo victims on December 20, 1968. He waited to brag about these murders until 7 months later, so apparently his thrill of killing them was initially enough motive for him. Was this same thrill enough for murders even before December 1968?

There is the murder of a young couple, John and Joyce Swindle, on the “patio” along Ocean Beach, San Diego, on February 5, 1964. It was an unprovoked murder of a young couple. The killer apparently used a .22 pistol. He shot them from a distance and then approached and stood over them and fired a last round into each of their heads.

In many ways this was similar to the murders of Robert Domingos and his fiancé Linda Edwards on June 4, 1963, on Gaviota Beach, a remote area off Highway 101 south of Lompoc, California. They were shot multiple times with a .22 pistol.

The murders of John and Joyce Swindle show a killer that was a little more prepared than the one who murdered Domingos and Edwards 8 months before. Was it the same killer and was he progressing?

The killer of both couples may be the same perp, but this does not make this perp the man who would later use the murder of young couples as a resumé to terrorize the Bay Area in 1969.

The savage murder of Cheri Jo Bates, however, on October 30, 1966, is another matter. Unlike the Zodiac murders and the murder of both young couples in 1963 and 1964, there was no similarity to the Zodiac’s MO seen here. However, there was one similarity here. Someone liked to send in a confession letter and then 6 months after the murder on April 30, 1967, send three nasty notes reading: BATES HAD TO DIE. THERE WILL BE MORE.

There was something about the printing and the tenor of the notes and the writing on the envelopes that suggested an early Zodiac attempt. It if was not an attempt to get yet another thrill over one of his murders, it was at least later viewed by Riverside PD as an attempt to brag about murder by proxy. They didn’t believe he was the killer, but it was possible that he wrote those 3 sick notes to get some sort of bizarre thrill.

Depending on the state of preservation of  evidence from the stamps on the April 30, 1967, notes sent to the Press Enterprise, the Riverside Police, and Cheri Jo Bates’ father, there might finally come proof of Zodiac’s connections with at least writing those notes and dovetailing on the violent murder of the young college coed.

If those stamps are still intact underneath, where the writer of those notes had licked them in April 1967, there may finally come proof one way of the other if Zodiac was involved.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

COLD CASE, LOST CASE HARD FACTS

I’ve not written here in a while. Without the need for updates, as I had promised in the case of EAR-ONS, there really is no need for frequent writing. And now getting down to the nitty gritty on a few others it would not be politic to write too much of the details of how one gets info. Rather only the final product is what will be presented.  But . . .

. . .But there’s some things that need be said to help shed light on the pursuit.

For NORCAL it is gloomy but it is also looking up. After only a week of calls, it looks as if more than one jurisdiction did file a complaint with the district attorney’s office against the perp’s DNA.  It is very possible that the records have been purged from at least two jurisdictions without filing. But a couple of newspapers have also gotten involved to help uncover information on the old cases. So far, the street names of 3 strikes are known. Written requests must be sent in for such basic things as the actual date of the crime. Most are unknown. Only the month is mentioned in popular reports. District attorneys’ offices are more helpful, but they need case numbers. So more written requests, etc, so forth. For some cases, I must visit old libraries to see if the case was reported upon at the time.

It is a sad truth that NORCAL’s crime spree has been so forgotten except by me. But a creep like this cannot be allowed to rest. “You don’t know me, but I know you. So if you go to the police I will get even.” He dramatically threatened his victims with this line. A creep like this shouldn’t be forgotten, especially after at least 9 victims of home invasion rape. He was dramatic, pompous and taunting, and that makes for good hunting.

It will take a lot just to get the basics in place– even just an exact date for the crime– but afterward geo-profiling will begin, and in terms of true hunting that is the beginning. But until that time, lots of phone calls, letters, libraries, newspaper archives.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.