The 1962 SoCal Execution Murder of Cabdriver Ray Davis: Has Oceanside Historian Kristi Hawthorne Discovered A New “Zodiac” Victim?
August 28, 2021
Los Angeles, California
“I do have to give them credit for stumbling across my riverside activity, but they are only finding the easy ones. There were a lot more down there.
(1970 letter to L.A. Times)
Kristi S. Hawthorne, President of the Oceanside Historical Society (seen below) is the first to make a possible link of a coldblooded 1962 cab driver execution to the later 1968-9, San Francisco and Bay Area serial murders committed by the suspect identifying himself as “ZODIAC.” (For full details see her blog site HERE:
The suspect calls the police and threatens to commit an unsolvable murder. A day later, he then shoots the cab driver, Ray Davis, age 29, from the rear seat; then pulls the body from the cab and leaves it in an alley adjacent to the former mayor’s residence. The suspect then steals and abandons the victim’s taxi less than two miles away in DT Oceanside. The suspect then calls police after the murder and threatens to commit a new crime and this time promises “he will shoot a bus driver.” The exact phone quote from Oceanside Police Department reads:
“Do you remember me calling you last week and telling you that I was going to pull a real baffling crime? I killed the cab driver and I am going to get me a bus driver next.”
Ray Davis’ Oceanside Cab showing a bullet hole in the window
Oceanside Map showing distance from where victim Davis shot and placed in the alley to where killer abandoned his stolen cab just 1.6 miles away. (Map as shown on Kristi Hawthorne’s blog site.)
Does Oceanside Murder Weapon ballistics match to Northern California Zodiac Faraday/Jensen Murders?
Ray Davis was slain with a .22 caliber weapon identical to San Francisco Bay Area “Zodiac” murder victims David Faraday (age 17) and Betty Lou Jensen (age 16) who were accosted and shot on 12/20/68 in Solano County. (Vallejo)
Bottom Line– Has Kristi Hawthorne found a new Zodiac victim overlooked by law enforcement and Zodiacologists for over fifty years?
In my professional opinion, I’d say YES!
An intriguing clue in that case was a mystery paperback, “Dance With The Dead,” found in the front seat of the cab. The “Shell Scott caper” features settings in Honolulu, Hollywood and a fictionalized version of Pasadena, and the front cover image is… interesting.
Yes, saw that and wondered if it was left there by GHH or was something the victim was reading and had in the cab. Odds are it was already there, but you never know with George’s incessant need to leave clues. The new information in “The Early Years” will really increase the probability that this is in fact a GHH crime.
Here is a description of two 1950s cases with some resemblance to the Zodiac murders. Another man “confessed” while in a mental hospital, but was never charged for lack of evidence..
Karen: Reading up on that case (Kelley, spelled Kelly in some newspaper reports), three things seem a bit suggestive: Fortuna, the location of the crime (GHH later had a company called Fortuna listed on his letterhead, link to Lady Doom of the Halloween Card and Man Ray’s La Fortune III), the fact that Fortuna is near Eureka (1990 Christmas Card), and the fact there was a weird confession note apparently sent from an Oakland tavern in 1950. -LW
More precisely, the 17yo missing female victim, Barbara Kelley, was from Fortuna, which is 18mi south of Eureka by road. The crime scene was actually the beach under Table Bluff Lighthouse, located halfway between Fortuna and Eureka. (This lighthouse had been taken down and reassembled in Eureka proper by the time of the 1990 Christmas Card.) The 1950 confession letter sent to the Humboldt County undersheriff from Oakland, almost 300 miles away, spins a tale and ends “I want to give myself up, but it would ruin my family.”
The 1963 mental patient confession seems less impressive on close examination. For example, in the 1957 crime the inmate confessed to, the female abductee escaped after spending an hour in the company of the perp, yet evidently no case could be built upon the confession six years later.
Looking at the map above, it appears the victim’s cab was abandoned across the tracks from Washington Ave. In Oceanside. Paul Stine was killed at the corner of Washington and Cherry Streets in San Francisco. Coincidence?
Sounds like an early Zodiac.