August 7, 2016
Los Angeles, California
Zodiac’s unique sounding description of his potential future victim to be a “Blue Eyed Brownett” is not so unique after all. The identical description has been found in several newspaper articles written by reporters across the nation in the Fifties and Sixties, and likely existed and was used much earlier.
We know that George Hodel, as the 1947 “Black Dahlia Avenger” used his training as a Los Angeles Record crime-reporter to write his cut-and-paste headline taunts when he mailed in his letters to the press and police. He wrote:
“Dahlia’s Killer Cracking Wants Terms”
“‘Go Slow’ Man Killer Says Black Dahlia Case”
Did George Hodel also call upon his early journalistic training twenty years later, in 1966, in his taunting letter mailed to the press and police? On the one-month anniversary of the brutal stabbing murder of Cheri Jo Bates, the 18-year-old college student, in Riverside, California, Zodiac mailed in his ‘Confession Letter.”
It would appear so. Here is what I have discovered.
A 1956 article in a New Mexico newspaper references an FBI APB (All Points Bulletin) for a Los Angeles couple wanted for counterfeiting. The article names Herbert Dennis Bechtel age 40, with an extensive police record and several aliases, along with his wife, Lena Mae Cox, who the journalist describes as “an attractive blue-eyed brownett” in her early 30s. (See below)
Then on September 19, 1966, just five weeks before the Cheri Jo Bates murder in Riverside, California, two front page articles appeared headlined in The Dispatch, a Lexington, N.C. newspaper.
The lead story read, ” Over 3,000 Attend “Erlanger Day”
The article displayed a photograph of an attractive young woman and went on to say, “Judy Hegler Crowned Queen”; Judy Hegler, 17, a blue-eyed brownett and a 1966 graduate of Lexington Senior High won the honor in competition with six other lovely young ladies, all daughters of Erlanger employees.”…
Also featured on the front page, immediately below the “blue eyed brownett” description was a separate and unrelated story, describing the horrific bludgeon/stabbing murder of a young woman in Chicago, Illinois.
The victim was Valerie Percy, age 21, the daughter of Republican senatorial candidate Charles H. Percy. The murder would become major news in all of the Chicago newspapers and went on to describe how a burglar broke into the family estate while all family members were asleep. The suspect after forcing entry then went to the victim’s bedroom where he attacked and savagely stabbed her to death. He left without taking any property and though thousands of man hours would be spent attempting to identify the killer, fifty years later, the Valerie Percy case still remains an unsolved murder.
(SKH Note: The Valerie Percy murder occurred just eight miles north of where George Hodel’s three “Lipstick Murders” were committed in 1945 and 1946. All of those crimes were nighttime burglaries of occupied residences where the victims were attacked while sleeping and then stabbed to death. In one instance, Suzanne Degnan, a six-year-old child, was carried from the home and her body surgically bisected in a nearby basement, then the body parts were spread out in drainage sewers in the neighborhood, “for the whole city to see.”)
See related headlines on Valerie Percy murder below.
1966 Zodiac Cheri Jo Bates “Confession” Letter which includes his description of a “BLUE EYED BROWNETT.” (Red underscored.)
…OR MAYBE SHE WILL BE THE SHAPELY BLUE EYED BROWNETT THAT SAID NO WHEN I ASKED HER FOR A DATE IN HIGH SCHOOL…
…BUT I SHALL CUT OFF HER FEMALE PARTS AND DEPOSIT THEM FOR THE WHOLE CITY TO SEE.*
*(SKH Note- George Hodel did exactly that in the 1946 Suzanne Degnan murder, and in the 1947 surgical bisection murder of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short, as well as repeating it a third time in his 1967 Manila, Philippines surgical bisection murder of victim Lucila Lalu, whose body parts (like the Degnan and Black Dahlia murders) he “deposited for the whole city to see.”
(SKH Note): The initial 1956 article describing the suspects in a “major counterfeit ring” appeared in the LA Times two days prior to the article referenced in the Alamagordo NM Daily News.. Below is the LA coverage of the above mentioned Herbert Bechtel and his wife, Lena Mae Cox, referred to as “the attractive blue eyed brownett.”