One newspaper ran with the headline "Clean-Cut Youth Sought in Stabbing" (credit to Mk-Zodiac), and Taft was eventually apprehended and sentenced to 6 months to 20 years in March, 1966. He served just 2 1/2 years and was paroled in 1968. This newspaper headline (a tactic used by the Zodiac Killer in later years) may have formed the inspiration for the "cut, clean" introduction written on the underside of a plywood desk found in the Riverside City College library in December, 1966. The poem, created using a blue ballpoint pen, read "cut, clean, if red/clean, blood spurting, dripping, spilling; all over her new dress. Oh well, it was red anyway. Life draining into an uncertain death. She won't die, this time someone'll find her. Just wait till next time. rh". For many reasons, it is fairly evident that this poem is reminiscing in the present tense the attempted murder of Miss Atwood in 1965, before stating that "next time" would be different with the death of Cheri Jo Bates on October 30th 1966.
You may read claims on the internet that this poem was the ponderings of a suicidal woman reflecting on her failure to seek death, but next time would be successful. It will be proffered that the idea of this poem being linked to Miss Atwood and Cheri Jo Bates is speculative at best. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. This poem wasn't even discovered until the December of 1966, so anything contained in the November 29th 1966 Confession letter (about Cheri Jo Bates) that links to the desktop poem, will have been created without knowledge of the desktop poem - unless the author was one person. By linking the two communications together, we would achieve the common thread of one individual who was claiming he murdered Cheri Jo Bates. The contents of the desktop poem were also not in the public domain by April 30th 1967, when the three Bates letters were mailed to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Riverside Police Department and Joseph Bates.
The Zodiac Killer would address Riverside in lower case fashion when describing his "riverside activity" on March 13th 1971, using the phrase "there are a hell of a lot more down there" to deliberately or inadvertently mimic the three Bates letters of "There will be more". Despite Cheri Jo Bates being killed on October 30th 1966, her exact time of death was not confirmed by the newspapers, who described her lifeless body being found on Halloween morning. It is perfectly reasonable to conclude that "rh" was the place and time of that "next time" cited by the desktop author. The overwhelming correlation of language used by the desktop poem, Confession letter and Bates letters, ties all three to the murder of Cheri Jo Bates, and thereby strengthens the argument that the desktop poem was reflecting on the attempted murder of Miss Atwood and eventual murder of Cheri Jo Bates on the same Riverside campus by knife. Rolland Lin Taft was incarcerated at the time of Cheri Jo Bates' murder, so the desktop poem was either authored by somebody inspired by the previous attempted murder of Miss Atwood to make the future false claims of killing Cheri Jo Bates, or was indeed, the murderer of the young Ramona High School graduate - but, in their eyes, improved on the failings of Rolland Lin Taft by stating "Just wait till next time. rh".
The Confession letter concluded with "I am not sick. I am insane. But that will not stop the game", "I am stalking your girls now", with the three Bates letters finishing with "There will be more". This was the bedrock of the three July 31st 1969 letters mailed by the Zodiac Killer, who enciphered the wording "it is more fun than killing wild game in the forest because man is the most dangerous animal of all" and promised more murder over the weekend. It appeared that the Zodiac Killer was still playing the "game" and "stalking" the local residents three years later. The Confession letter and murder of Cheri Jo Bates were comprehensively detailed in the Inside Detective magazine on January, 1969, so it's perfectly feasible that the Bay Area murderer read this magazine sometime between January and July and drew inspiration for his July 31st 1969 mailings by continuing the theme of a "game", despite being innocent of any involvement in the murder of Cheri Jo Bates or subsequent communications in 1966 and 1967. This may have continued in the Melvin Belli and Little List letters, misspelling the word "victim" to "victom", and mimicking the Confession letter further by adding "Some I shall tie over ant hills and watch them scream + twich and sqwirm" to appear similar to "She squirmed and shook as I chocked her, and her lips twiched. She let out a scream once". Whether or not the Zodiac Killer played any role down south has far from been answered, but there remains little doubt that one person crafted all three communications in Riverside between October 31st 1966 and April 30th 1967.