CHERI JO BATESSunday October 30, 1966
The Murder of Cheri Jo Bates
Cheri Josephine Bates was a student at Riverside City College.
She was only eighteen. In the evening, Cheri Jo drove to the Riverside City College Library.
She parked her lime green Volkswagen, and entered the building.
Later that night, she returned to her car, only to find that it would not start. A white male offered to help.
He proceeded to examine her car, but was unable to ignite the engine.
At which point, he offered her a ride home. They walked towards his vehicle.
On the way, entering a dark alleyway between two buildings.
He produced a knife, and attacked her in the most violent way.
There was no eyewitness.
Her scream was heard, but no one came to her aid. Next morning, her body was found.
Someone had sabotaged the engine.
RIVERSIDE POEMDecember 1966
The Poem is Found
The poem was written on the underside of a desk in Riverside City College Library.
The content of the poem depicts a violent scene, describing the death of a woman. Ross Sullivan
In 1966, Ross Mercer Stephen Sullivan was a student at Riverside City College.
Ross also worked as a library assistant at Riverside City College Library.David Peterson
David Peterson was a reporter for the Vallejo Times-Herald.
On July 3, 1978, Peterson wrote a letter to Bud Kelley of the Riverside police.
In this letter, Peterson outlines some of the reasons why he believed that Sullivan
was worth investigating as a suspect for the murder of Cheri Jo Bates and the Zodiac killings.
According to Peterson, “He (Ross) worked at the library where he could have seen
and followed Cheri Jo Bates;
he disappeared at the time of the Bates 187 and returned later;
he did research on cryptography and wrote an English paper on it;
he researched types of printing”. Peterson suspected that the author of the poem was Ross Sullivan:
“Sullivan wrote far-out poetry, which might tie in with the library desk poem.”Zodiac quotes passages from the Mikado.
The Mikado is an operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan.
For example, the “Little List” letter of July 26, 1970 has a long quote from the libretto. On January 29, 1974, Zodiac mailed the Exorcist Letter to the San Francisco Chronicle.
With his trademark misspellings, Zodiac paraphrases the Mikado:
“He plunged him self into
the billowy wave
and an echo arose from
the sucides grave
tit willo tit willo
tit willo” As Peterson points out:
“Zodiac likes to leave a few clues
and one of the most prominent of them has been his apparent liking
for the Gilbert and SULLIVAN operettas.
The question is, is the Sullivan a tip.”
Sullivan and the Zodiac Sketch
To quote Peterson:
“Sullivan’s physical description appears to tally generally with Zodiac’s.”
Sullivan's hairline, lips and glasses resemble those of the Zodiac sketch.
The Zodiac sketch is based on eyewitness description.
Jo Ann Bailey
Jo Ann Bailey was Associate Professor of Library Services at Riverside City College.According to Bailey, Ross wrote poetry of a disturbing nature:
“I (Jo Ann) can remember his writing a poem for one of the school publications that was hardly
inspiring. I wish I could remember the poem that he wrote about the cataloguing boss he and I both
had. I remember that she did not understand the poem that he wrote. I didn’t either, but was frightened by it.”While Zodiac's handwriting had distinctive traits, there is a shifting of style in some of his letters.
Typically, he would write most characters at an angle.
Yet, in the message to Melvin Belli, the characters are mostly vertical.
Spelling errors were also common in the work of Zodiac.
Bailey said that Sullivan wrote a paper on handwriting styles, and also made spelling errors:
"...another faculty member remembers his being in her English class
when his term paper was about handwriting and the different styles.
You will note from his transcript that he liked to enroll in the literary and psychology type courses
although his spelling and grammatical skills were sometimes limited."
Sullivan Had An Alibi
Bailey wrote a letter to Peterson.
In this letter, she shared her belief that Sullivan most likely murdered Cheri Jo Bates.
Bailey had reported her suspicion to the police at Riverside.
Their reply: - Sullivan had an alibi for the night of the murder.
Bailey was not surpised by this, as she had the misfortune of working with Ross.
She knew Sullivan's "...potential for doing harm".
Bailey states that "...his alibi would be too frightened not to agree with the alibi."
If Bailey was right, this alibi proved to be a threshold moment in the life of Ross Sullivan.
The alibi removed Sullivan as a suspect.
Ross was free to become Zodiac.
To quote Bailey:
"You can't forget the Cheri Jo Bates murder, either.
No doubt you have your prime suspect, as do the Riverside police.
There are a half dozen or so of us at Riverside City College that agree on a suspect --
but it isn't one that the police are interested in.
A couple of years ago I called the police to ask about our suspect and was told he (Sullivan) had an alibi for that night.
Our response to that is his alibi would be too frightened not to agree with the alibi." Bailey makes it clear that she and her colleagues were all afraid of Sullivan:
"None of us wanted to be left alone with Ross."
She also made the observation:
"He wore the same clothes winter and summer - a long sleeve wool or flannel type shirt.
When the murder happened, I stated to my fellow workers that when Ross reappeared on campus
(because he was not around on the day after the murder) and IF he had on different clothes,
then he would be guilty in my imind until someone proved him innocent.
Sure enough it was a few weeks before he reappeared...AND he had on a totally new set of clothes."
Sherwood Morrill - On Zodiac Handwriting
According to Mike Morford (April 16, 2013):
"In 1970, Chronicle Reporter Paul Avery, a Zodiac aficionado, and a personal recipient of
one of Zodiac’s letters, made a Zodiac connection to a 1966 murder in Riverside, California.
Paul Avery felt so strongly that this 1966 crime was the work of Zodiac,
that he personally hand delivered the written letters in the Bates case to
Zodiac case Questioned Document Examiner, Sherwood Morrill.
Morrill, who was a very skilled and experienced examiner,
examined the Bates case letters and desktop, and came to the final conclusion that
the Bates case writing was 'unquestionably the work of Zodiac'."
This quote is taken from: The Zodiac Killer’s Forgotten Victims?
Riverside Poem - Signature
The poem is signed "rh".
Given what we know, it is likely that the “r” stands for "Ross".
With the poem the right way up, the second letter is read as an “h”.
If you rotate the letter "h" 90 degrees in either direction, the “h” becomes like an “s”.
In which case, the "s" could stand for "Sullivan".
We can see a similar style in the Zodiac ciphers, where
the letter "K" is rotated to:
, and the letter "R" is reversed to its mirror image: Я.
The poem's "h", when rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise to form an "s", resembles
an "s" used in the Zodiac Letter of August 4, 1969.
So I ask myself the question, why did Ross substitute the "s" for Sullivan with an "h"?
One answer that comes to mind is that the surname is inherited from the father.
Harold R Sullivan was the name of Ross's father.
Perhaps the "h" stands for Harold.
Poem - h
The ConfessionThe Confession LetterNovember 29, 1966
A month after the murder of Cheri Jo Bates, the Confession Letter was sent to
the Riverside Press Enterprise and the Riverside Police. The author confesses to killing Cheri Jo Bates.
His name is not given, yet the trademarks of Zodiac are unmistakable.
It is typed, but this does not disguise the language.Just like the Zodiac letters, there are a series of selective misspellings.
The word "beautiful" is complex, and is sometimes misspelt even by those who are literate.
Here, it is spelt precisely.
Yet, a simple word like "too" is misspelt as "to".
It is highly unlikely that someone capable of spelling the word "beautiful",
would not know how to spell "too".
Just in case you thought the "to" for "too" was a typographcal error,
he then proceeds to misspell brunette as "brownett"; minutes as "minuts", choked as "choaked",
and twitched as "twiched".
After all this, he still manages to spell the word "conscience" correctly.
Others such as Zodiac forum member: "bruce3"(Oct 22, 2012)
and Mike Morford(May 10, 2013) have shown that the verbs "squirmed" and "twiched"
appear in the Confession, to be reborn in the Zodiac Letter of July 26, 1970 as "twich and squirm".
In both instances, the word "twitch" is misspelt as "twich".
Likewise, the concept in common is sadism.
The author enjoys torturing his victims. This practice of torturing victims is described in the Confession Letter as:
And the Z340 Cipher translation by Craig Bauer as:
The Z408 Cipher translation by Donald and Bettye Harden, shows Zodiac victims being compared to "wild game".
A comparison between the use of the words "game", "twich," and "squirm" can be found at the links below: The "Confession" letter
and Confession Letter vs Zodiac"SHE IS NOT THE FIRST..."
This statement implies that the author has killed before.
This may well be true.
Cheri Jo Bates was murdered on October 30, 1966.
Over three years earlier, on June 4, 1963 another homicide occured.
This time, a double homicide. Linda Edwards and Robert Domingos
Linda Edwards and Robert Domingos were 17 and 18 year old high school students.
They visited Gaviota Beach, but did not return home when expected.
Gaviota Beach is located near the city of Goleta in Santa Barbara County.
Robert's father and a local policeman found their bodies the following night.
The remains of the couple had been placed inside a "beach shack". Linda and Robert were shot multiple times.
"The weapon was a .22 caliber semi-automatic, probably a rifle."
"Winchester Western Super X copper-coated long rifle" was used for ammunition.
The "...same kind Zodiac used at his Lake Herman Road attack of 1968."
No one saw the event unfold.
Along with their bodies, samples of rope and ammunition were found inside the shack.
Rope was also used by Zodiac in his Lake Berryessa attack in 1969. According to Bill Baker(September 5, 2000):
"At some point, they were confronted by the assailant, who was armed with a .22 caliber weapon.
From what could be reconstructed by the original investigators, the killer brought with him
several lengths of pre-cut cord, which he first instructed the female to use to tie the male.
As he was tying the female, it is felt that the male was able to free himself and somehow
temporarily incapacitate the killer long enough for him and his fiancee to take off running. "As they fled up a mostly dry streambed, the killer chased them, firing his weapon.
Each was in turn felled by shots to their backs.
He approached and shot each several more times as they lay,
the male in the back and the female in the chest, killing them.
She received 9 shots, he suffered 11."
One by one, the killer dragged the bodies into the shack.
He then attempted "to set the shack on fire",
but the damage done was not enough to destroy all the evidence. The use of fire foreshadows a future Zodiac crime.
On March 22, 1970, Kathleen Johns was adbucted by a man, she later identified as Zodiac.
Kathleen managed to escape with her infant daughter.
Her abductor was so enraged, that he set her empty car alight.My sources for the Edwards and Domingos murders are: Bill Baker Possible Zodiac Victims - Robert Domingos and Linda Edwards Domingos and Edwards Double Murder Robert Domingos and Linda Edwards "...AND SHE WILL NOT BE THE LAST."
This is true.
A self-fulfilling prophecy.
After the murder of Cheri Jo Bates, Sullivan "...moved to northern California in 1967."
What followed was a series of assaults in the north of California between 1967 and 1970.
"Late on the Evening of June 8, 1967," in "...Alameda County", another couple were shot to death.
"The couple was Enedine Molina & Fermin Rodriguez."(Mike Morford, APRIL 16, 2013): The Zodiac Killer’s Forgotten Victims?December 20, 1968
Lake Herman Road, Benicia
Zodiac gunned down David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen.
They were shot as they emerged from David's station wagon, on the side of Lake Herman Road.
Faraday was 17, and Jensen: 16.
As with Edwards and Domingos, a .22 caliber weapon was used with the same type of ammunition. July 5, 1969
Blue Rock Springs Park, Vallejo
Darlene Ferrin and Mike Mageau were sitting together in their car, when Zodiac struck.
Despite being shot in the head at close range, Faraday survived.
Jensen died. September 27, 1969
Cecelia Shepard and Bryan Hartnell
Shepard and Hartnell were sitting by the lake.
A hooded figure appeared from the trees.
Gun in hand, he said that he had escaped from prison, and needed their money.
At gun point, he made Shephard tie up Hartnell's hands.
Zodiac had learnt from his prior experience with Edwards and Domingos.
Domingos had broken free of his bonds.
This time, he made sure that Hartnell's hands were bound tightly.
Once they were restrained, Zodiac revealed his true intent;
stabbing both Hartnell and Shephard multiple times. Before leaving the scene, he wrote a message on Hartnell's car door.
Cecelia died from her wounds.
Bryan lived to tell the tale.
His story is the source of much of what we know. Miltary style boot prints were found at Lake Berryessa.
Such boot prints were also present at Riverside.
Sullivan was known to wear military style boots.
October 11, 1969
Presidio Heights, San Francisco
Studying for a doctorate by day, Stine drove a taxi cab by night.
The passenger was Zodiac.
The final destination: Washington and Cherry.
On arrival, Zodiac shot Stine in the head.
The impact was fatal.In Hunt For The Zodiac Killer : The Code Is Cracked ; Season 1 Episode 5
Kenneth Mains and Sal Labarbera work out that the departure point for the journey
was 3.2 miles from Washington and Cherry.
The Theatre District lies within this radius.
The two detectives visit the Orpheum Theatre
to see Lamplighter Performer: Roger Pierson.
Pierson points out that the Mikado played at the Orpheum Theatre on the night of Stine's death.
The Mikado has a character called the executioner.
Not only that, Pierson recalled a member of the audience, who matches the physical description of
Ross Sullivan. Zodiac took three trophies from the scene:
Stine's wallet, keys, and a blood stained piece of Stine's shirt.
"Three teenage siblings on the second floor of 3899 Washington,
directly across the street from the cab"
saw Zodiac wiping down the cab, before he left. Blood stained fingerprints and a palm print were found on the cab.
The police believe that these prints belong to Zodiac.
Other prints were found, which may or may not belong to Zodiac.
In the November 9, 1969 letter, Zodiac claimed that he placed "fake clews" on the cab
to fool the police.
He also said that he used "...2 coats of airplane cement" to cover his finger tips.
Both of these claims sound unlikely to be true.
Most likely, Zodiac wiped down the cab to smudge the prints,
so that they could not be used to identify him. Paul Stine's taxi cab at the crime scene with Inspector David ToschiTwo sources of information about the murder of Paul Stine are: Zodiac - Crime Library - Jake Wark San Francisco: The Evidence - The Fingerprints
"I FIRST PULLED THE MIDDLE WIRE FROM THE DISTRIBUTOR."
Here, the author reveals how he sabotaged the volkswagen of Cheri Jo Bates. "I THEN OFFERED TO HELP. SHE WAS THEN VERY WILLING TO TALK WITH ME."
By pretending to repair the car, he gains her trust."I TOLD HER THAT MY CAR WAS DOWN THE STREET
AND THAT I WOULD GIVE HER A LIFT HOME."
This false promise allowed him to lure her into the alleyway, where no one could see them.
Zodiac would use such tactics again with Kathleen Johns. On March 22, 1970, Highway 132, near Modesto.
Johns was travelling along the highway to visit her mother.
It was 11.15 at night, when she noticed the car behind her.
The car lights were blinking, as if warning her to stop.
Which she did.A man "...wearing black rimmed plastic glasses" approached her Chevrolet,
"...and advised her that her rear left wheel was wobbling and that he would repair
the malfunction." While she waited in her car, he took a "tire tool" to the rear left wheel.
Soon after, he signalled that it was safe for her to proceed.
He drove away.
She attempted to do the same, but came to a "lurching stop." When she exited her vehicle: "She discovered that the left rear wheel had fallen off."
By this time, he had returned.
He offered to escort her to a service station, where her car could be repaired. She accepted his offer.
Kathleen entered his vehicle, along with her 10 month old daughter.He drove past several stations, without stopping.
Each time, she asked him why he had not pulled over.
"He would merely elude the question, and start talking about something else."
She realised that something was wrong.
In all likelihood, Zodiac was taking her to a remote spot, where he could do his "thing"
without being seen. For an hour to an an hour and a half, he kept going, until he finally came to a stop sign.
Kathleen took her chance, and "...she jumped from the vehicle carrying her daughter,
and ran into a field nearby, hiding from the suspect."
He closed the door and drove away.Afterwards, she flagged down a motorist, and told them what happened.
The motorist took her to the police station.
Inside, there was a Zodiac wanted poster.
Johns recognised her abductor in the sketch.
Kathleen's car was found where she left it.
The Chevrolet had been burnt, and was "still smoldering."
Zodiac had returned to set the car on fire.For more information about the abduction of Kathleen Johns, see the following sources: Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office Report Zodiac - Crime Library - Highway 132 - Jake Wark
Cheri Jo Bates Crime Scene"SHE WENT TO THE SLAUGHTER LIKE A LAMB."
A chilling choice of words.
It may be that the confessor's words are not simply a simile. Gerald Katz "went to Ramona High and graduated in 1964."
Ramona High is also where Cheri Jo Bates was a student.
Katz says he was friends with Ross's brother: Tim.
"Cheri Jo was...close to Bonnie Bartlett, who was dating
and later married Tim Sullivan." Katz recalls: "I distinctly remember the time she (Cheri Jo) was murdered."
Katz said he spent the night with Noelle Jette, "...shortly after Cheri Jo's murder.""
According to Katz(January 4, 2014 at 01:07):
"Ross had often hung out at Noelle’s
and there were some sheep skins hanging up outside her home.
Noel said that at some time earlier Ross had killed, butchered and killed some sheep.
This was very unusual for anyone we knew to kill much less butcher an animal.
I heard that the police had come by Noelle’s, seen the skins and asked questions about Ross." So then, Ross was a suspect in the murder of Cheri Jo Bates
and slaughtered sheep, and hung the sheep skins
outside the home of Noelle Jette, the young woman who may have provided
Ross with his all important alibi. This confers with Jo Ann Bailey's view that:
"...his (Ross's) alibi would be too frightened not to agree with the alibi."
If the confessor was Ross Sullivan, as I believe, then it makes sense
that he would use the simile: "She went to the slaughter like a lamb." Gerald met Ross at Riverside City College.
Gerald describes Ross:
"He could be depressed or very agitated.
I once dated the same girl, Barbara Renolds, he liked
and when he found out and threatened me,
I was more scared than I have ever been of someone else." Both Bailey and Katz were deeply afraid of Ross Sullivan.
They paint a picture of someone who was menacing.
Katz claims that, some years later:
"Tim...told me about his conviction that Ross not only killed Cheri Jo but
was the Zodiac killer."
Gerald Katz's full post can be seen at: Gerald Katz 4 January, 2014 at 01:07 - Zodiac Revisited Message from Gerald Katz - zodiackillersite.com
"BUT ONLY ONE THING WAS ON MY MIND.
MAKING HER PAY FOR THE BRUSH OFFS THAT SHE HAD GIVEN ME
DURING THE YEARS PRIOR."
It is not known if Ross made any advances on Cheri Jo in the "years prior".
Bailey tells us that: "He (Ross) was there late that Friday afternoon before Halloween
in 1966 talking to a cute young girl not unlike Cheri Jo."
If Ross did ever approach Cheri Jo, and she rejected him, it would explain
the "brush offs" remark, and it would give him motive to kill her.
"I AM NOT SICK. I AM INSANE.
BUT THAT WILL NOT STOP THE GAME."
At various points in his life, Ross Sullivan spent time in psychiatric hospitals.
Bailey wrote: "It was either prior to his entering RCC in 9/11/61
or during his absence from 11/1/61 to 2/1/64 that he bragged to more
than one staff member that he had been at
Patton State Mental Hospital in San Bernadino,
but had climber over the wall and escaped.
He really took pride in being threateningly
off beat and capable of anything."Patton State Hospital is a forensic psychiatric hospital
for people who have been committed by the judicial system for treatment."Bizarre Behavior Leads to Arrest"
On February 6, 1968, the Santa Cruz Sentinel published an article
about a man fitting Ross Sullivan's description.
The name of the man is not given, but the way he is portrayed is consistent
with what is known about Ross. To quote the article:
"Santa Cruz Police took a 26 year old Riverside man into custody
yesterday afternoon after he cavorted in the nude
in a 'dazed trance' in the 900 block of Third Street.""Police said they responded to a call from a man
who said he was pinned inside the telephone booth by the naked man,
who was six feet, two inches tall and weighed 300 pounds.
Officers said they found the man and had to use force to arrest him.
He was booked on charges of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.
He was then taken to General Hospital on a 72 hour mental hold."Psychosis and Psychopathy
It is important to distinguish between psychosis and psychopathy.
Psychosis refers to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
In constrast, psychopathy refers to sadism, masochism, and sadomasochism.
Sigmund Freud referred to psychopathy as "perversion",
and DSM uses the unhelpful label of "antisocial personality disorder". There are four types of people in the world.
1. Those that do not suffer from psychosis, and are not psychopaths.
2. Those that do suffer from psychosis, and are not psychopaths.
3. Those that do not suffer from psychosis, and are psychopaths.
4. Lastly, there are those that do suffer from psychosis, and are psychopaths.
I suspect that type 4 applied to Ross Sullivan.Most people who suffer from psychosis are not psychopaths.
Most of the time, people who are diagnosed with a form of psychosis are law abiding citizens.
If someone with psychosis does becomes violent, it is often during a psychotic episode.
In an episode, the subject may experience paranoia and/or command hallucinations.
If the subject hears voices telling them to harm others or themselves, then it can lead to
violent behavior.One stereotype about people with psychosis is that they are mentally chaotic, and therefore
not capable of planning and executing complex crimes over a long period of time.
This a generalisation, that does not apply to all people with psychosis.
Everyone is different.
This includes people with psychosis. It is true, that during an episode, thought and behavior does become chaotic.
However, when an episode has passed, there are some subjects who are lucid and high functioning.
Such subject are capable of planning and executing complex patterns of behavior
over a long time period.
The subject may hold down a job, or even pursue a successful career.
In the case of Ross Sullivan, he worked various roles such as a library assistant.
Furthermore, I argue that Ross's study of cryptography and English Literature
demonstrate his willingness and ability to write complex ciphers and letters such as those written by Zodiac. Robert Christian Hansen is an example of someone who was diagnosed with a form of psychosis
and managed to plan and execute a series of murders over a long timeframe.
Hansen was diagnosed with "manic depression", now more commonly known as bipolar disorder.
"Between 1971 and 1983, Hansen abducted, raped, and murdered at least 17 women
in and around Anchorage, Alaska."
Source: Wikipedia - Robert Hansen
Bates Had To Die Letter
She Had To Die LetterApril 30, 1967
Two "Bates had To die" letters were mailed to the Riverside Press Enterprise
and the Riverside Police.
One "She had to die" letter was also mailed on the same day to Cheri’s Father.
The "Bates had to die" letters were signed with a "Z".
The "She had to die letter" was not signed.
The significance of the "Z" would have been lost on those who read it at the time.
Later, it would become clear that the "Z" stands for Zodiac.
March 22, 1971
Zodiac Lake Tahoe card
In 1970, Donna Lass "...disappeared in 1970
working a late-night shift at a Stateline casino nursing station."
Donna Lass has not been found.
The postcard contains clues such as:
"Peek through the pines".
"around in the snow"
"Sought victim 12".
and "pass LAKE TAHOE areas"
Such clues have led some to believe that Zodiac may have murdered
Lass, and that her body may have been buried somewhere in the area of Lake Tahoe.
Source: Was Tahoe disappearance linked to Zodiac killer?Lake Tahoe Postcard
July 8, 1974
Count Marco Red Phantom Letter
San Francisco Chronicle
This is the last letter to be mailed by Zodiac. Red Phantom LetterSeptember 29, 1977
The Death of Ross Sullivan
Source: 'Ross M. Sullivan'- Certificate of Death