Three years earlier in a Riverside alleyway, Cheri Jo Bates' lifeless body was discovered by groundskeeper Cleophus Martin. She had been brutally stabbed and slashed with a short-bladed knife on October 30th 1966. Sitting just 10 feet away was a Timex watch, believed to have been ripped from the assailant's wrist during the struggle. Or possibly that is what the killer wanted us to believe. It was determined that the wristband was set for a man with a 7 inch wrist. Was this a 'fake clew' designed to throw investigators off the scent of the killer.
Although Robert Graysmith claimed in his first book these gloves may have been left in the taxicab by a prior female passenger, he effectively contradicted this account in 'Zodiac Unmasked,' using them, in effect, to implicate Arthur Leigh Allen.
Shortly after the murder of Paul Stine in Presidio Heights on October 11th 1969, three teenagers noticed a man in the front seat of the taxicab, stating "The suspect appeared to be searching the victim's pockets. The suspect then appeared to be wiping (fingerprints) on the interior of the cab, leaning over the victim to the driver's compartment." The three teenagers later recalled "They both watched and observed in silence as Zodiac pushed the driver to an upright position behind the steering wheel, exited the car and walked around the rear of the car and opened the driver's door. Stine had fallen over onto the seat and Zodiac pulled him back up into the seated position and had some difficulty keeping him upright. Once upright, he was seen to have a rag, or something like a handkerchief and began to wipe down the door area and leaning over the driver, part of the dashboard." But was the Zodiac only wiping down the driver side compartment and dashboard. Could he have been removing gloves from his own pocket to deposit them underneath the dashboard. Robert Graysmith stated in Zodiac "Just under the dash, Toschi found a pair of dull black leather gloves." Were these Zodiac's "fake clews for the police to run all over town with, as one might say," despite the fact he could have said "fake clews for the police to dash all over town with," but he didn't.
In an interview with Bryan Hartnell shortly after the Lake Berryessa stabbing, he was asked if the assailant wore gloves. He replied "I don't remember if he had gloves on or not. I can't remember now. I keep thinking he had gloves on."
Did the Zodiac Killer purchase gloves with the express intention of dropping them in the taxicab, to give police the runaround. Or was he steering us towards his previous exploits at Lake Berryessa..
One doesn't know if the San Francisco Police Department traced the origin of the gloves, or indeed whether the gloves were labeled, but one of the premier glove manufacturers in the USA and California was the Napa Glove Company in Napa Valley, whose beginnings stretch back as far as 1888. The Napa Glove Company is situated one mile west of the 1231 Main Steet payphone, where Zodiac placed his second phone call to police. Napa leather was first 'coined' by Emanuel Manasse in 1875 while working for the Sawyer Tanning Company in Napa, California, and can be found in Merriam-Webster's dictionary. See Wikipedia.
This however would have been one hell of a 'fake clew'.