When a person is manufacturing a story or crime they never committed they will obviously use material gleaned from the newspapers, but may subconsciously structure details in the letter in the same order they appeared in the newspaper. In addition, they may use identical or similar words used by the author of the article. The person may have attempted to present the Confession letter as first hand information but inadvertently leaked elements of the article into its wording and structure. Here is one such newspaper article released before the Confession letter arrived.
'Riverside Police say their only clue in the brutal murder of a pretty, 18-year-old co-ed is a man's wristwatch found 10 feet from her slashed body. Officers speculated that while Cheri Jo Bates, a blonde cheerleader, studied Sunday night at the Riverside City College library, her killer disabled her car. Miss Bates' body, stabbed in the back, her throat slashed, was found early Monday under a tree, 100 feet from the car. The ignition key was in place in the compact car, but the distributor and coil wire had been torn loose, police said. Officers said an anonymous caller telephoned saying she had heard a terrified scream Sunday, then a muffled scream, then a car driving away The caller said she had not thought it serious enough to report until Monday.'
#1.The first thing the article details is the 'brutal murder of a pretty, 18-year-old co-ed', in addition to being a 'blonde cheerleader.' The Confession letter opens with 'she was young and beautiful', along with 'maybe she will be the beautiful blond that babysits,' or 'the shapely blue eyed brownett that said no when I asked for a date in high school.'
#2. The article then details the car being disabled. The Confession letter similarly switches to the Volkswagen Beetle, stating 'I first pulled the middle wire from the distributor', but the author retrieves some additional material from later in the article, where it states 'the distributor and coil wire had been torn loose.'
This topic of the 'middle wire' has been hotly debated in many forums, on whether the author of the Confession letter is supplying information only known to the killer. Here is some additional information to help you decide. "The ignition coil is the unit that takes your relatively weak battery power and turns it into a spark powerful enough to ignite fuel vapor. Inside a a traditional ignition coil are two coils of wire on top of each other. These coils are called windings. One winding is called the primary winding, the other is the secondary. The primary winding gets the juice together to make a spark and the secondary sends it out the door to the distributor.
You'll see three contacts on an ignition coil, unless it has an external plug, in which case the contacts are hidden inside the case. The large contact in the middle is where the coil wire goes (the wire that links the coil to the distributor cap."
#3. The article then mentions how Cheri Jo Bates was murdered: 'Miss Bates' body, stabbed in the back, her throat slashed, was found early Monday under a tree.'
The author of the Confession letter again follows: 'I grabbed her around the neck with my hand over her mouth and my other hand with a small knife at her throat,' continuing on to parrot the article 'I plunged the knife into her. Then I finished the job by cutting her throat.' The article gives the impression Cheri Jo Bates suffered only two wounds, one to the back, one to the throat. The author of the Confession letter equally describes only two strikes with the knife, despite the fact Cheri Jo Bates suffered numerous lacerations to her body, over a prolonged period, and did not 'go to the slaughter like a lamb.'
#4. The article then details an anonymous caller who 'had heard a terrified scream.'
The Confession letter again mimics this detail: 'She let out a scream once and I kicked her head to shut her up'. Triggered by the anonymous caller, the author of the Confession letter is reminded to state, 'Yes I did make that call to you also.'
Walter Siebert stated that 'he and a few friends were in the library from 7.15 pm until 9, but did not see Miss Bates, whom they all knew. They said they saw four men dressed in work clothes sitting on a fence across from the spot where Miss Bates' car was found, but they did not know them.'.
These workmen must have been spotted by Walter Siebert and his friends when they arrived at the library at 7.15 pm. The workmen said they saw Cheri Jo Bates by her Volkswagen Beetle, as they were sitting opposite her vehicle on the fence- but Cheri Jo was not recollected by Walter Siebert & Co that evening. We know that Cheri Jo Bates parked her Volkswagen Beetle on Terracina Drive no later than 6.15 pm, and it is assumed it remained there throughout until it was discovered disabled the following day. The four young men were interrogated by police, stating "they had seen Cheri Jo near her car the previous night". They must have seen Cheri Jo Bates at 6.15 pm when she parked up to enter the library. They do not mention to police anybody tampering with the Volkswagen Beetle, anybody assisting Cheri Jo Bates, or Cheri Jo Bates experiencing any car trouble. They fail to see anything suspicious, including hearing any commotion or screams from the alleyway. This totally negates the claims issued by the author of the Confession letter, and reinforces the idea the author is simply mimicking what they have read in the newspapers.
So was the author of the Confession letter the killer. I will let you decide.
CHERI JO BATES-MINUTE BY MINUTE
CHERI JO BATES-MINUTE BY MINUTE [PT2]
CHERI JO BATES-THE COMPLETE EYEWITNESS TIMELINE