NAPA -- The man who stabbed 22-year-old Cecilia Ann Shepard and wounded her boyfriend -- and who may be responsible for three killings in the Vallejo area -- is a deviate who gets "sex gratification" from murder, a sheriff's officer said today.
"He can't be anyone but a mentally ill person," said Capt. Don Townsend of the Napa County Sheriff's office.
"He does not molest females. He must get his sex gratification from the act of killing ... he wants to get caught.
"We believe he is about five foot, nine inches, and weigh maybe 200 pounds. He is strong. There may be a religious facet to his acts."
Miss Shepard was fatally stabbed and Bryan Hartnell, 20, seriously wounded Saturday by a hooded man who attacked them while they were picnicking on the shore of Lake Berryessa.
Members of the Seventh Day Adventist Community on the rim of the Napa Valley scheduled Miss Shepard's funeral services Thursday.
Police later received an anonymous call reporting the murders and traced it to a telephone booth where they found fingerprints. The killer also scrawled on the side of Hartnell's car the dates of the Vallejo killings. Townsend noted that not only has the killer left such clues but also someone previously sent coded letters to newspapers along with detailed information on the Vallejo killings.
Townsend also noted some aspects of a religious fanatic.
"At Berryessa he was hooded, a shoulder-length black hood with only slits for eyes, like maybe the hoods worn by the torturers of the Spanish Inquisition," the captain said.
"His signature, a cross within a circle, may be taken from an Asian religion. It may be that he has lived in Asia. A lot of men have been there and back since the Vietnam war got under way.
"Some of the code messages, some say, expound the belief that those killed become his slaves in the hereafter. That, I think, is an Asian religious theory."
Townsend said the man could surrender at any law enforcement agency and "we will lean over backward to make sure that he is treated with justice with full protection of his constitutional rights."
"You don't hurt people who are mentally sick," he said.