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  1. #1
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    CA - Margie Winn, 17, Beaumont, 7 Feb 1948

    Margie Lee Winn was 17 when she and 18 year-old James Sloan attended a rodeo in Palm Springs on the night of February 7th, 1948. On their way home, the two pulled to the side of California Highway 99 near Beaumont around 2:45 am in order to set their wristwatches by the car's dash clock.
    A man approached the rear of the running vehicle and jerked open the passenger-side front door. He then pointed a sawed-off small-guage shotgun at the couple and demanded money. James hit the gas, but not before the unknown gunman was able to get off one shot, fatally wounding Margie.
    While Margie lay bleeding to death next to him, James drove to the nearest home, the farmhouse of Adolph Ellis. Ellis was outside the home, examining a vehicle which had been abandoned in front of the farmhouse. Earlier in the evening, a stranger has awakened the family when he broke into the home and threatened Ellis' wife. Ellis then drove the gunman from the home with a shotgun of his own.
    Later investigation revealed the abandoned car had been stolen from a home in Riverside, CA. The owner stated that a sawed-off .410 gauge shotgun had also been in the car at the time it was stolen. This was determined to be the murder weapon used to kill Margie.
    A massive manhunt was initiated for the killer. Roadblocks were set up and aircraft combed the area. Police were able to find footprints near the murder scene which matched those found around the abandoned car.
    Two suspects were identified by police. Tobe Beams, 34, was removed from a train in Beaumont. He claimed he was a seaman cook, just recently off a ship. His attire matched that given of the killer, but his footprints did not match.
    The other suspect, 25-year old Richard Olsen, was a WWII veteran who admitted to sending unsigned letters to the Redlands, CA police chief confessing to the murder.
    Most of this information comes from Wikipedia, and cites two articles from the Los Angeles Times.

    What is most intriguing about this case is the circumstances in relation to the location. If this case had taken place 20 years later...in 1968 and not 1948...Would it be considered a possible crime of the Zodiac Killer?
    Beaumont, CA, is some 25 miles from Riverside, CA, the site of the murder of Cheri Jo Bates, commonly bellieved to be one of the first murders committed by Zodiac. Some other considerations....

    The killer found a young couple, alone on the side of an empty road.
    The murder at first appears to be a robbery (as in the Lake Berryessa murder).
    The killer approached the passenger side of the vehicle.
    The killer murdered the female, leaving the male unharmed.
    An unsigned letter is sent to local law enforcement, taking credit for the murder.
    The killer had a flashlight when he entered the Ellis home.

    Though the bulletin for the killer stated he was 30-40 years old, determining age for the witnesses must have been very difficult given the circumstances. In the late 1960's, the Zodiac killer was described as possibly 35-45 years of age. (from the police description of a man seen fleeing the area of the Paul Stine murder)..Meaning he was possibly 20 to 25 at the time of the Margie Lee Winn murder.

  2. #2
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    Intruiging stuff.Ive never heard of this case I wonder if Tom Voight at zodiac.com is aware of it?

  3. #3
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    Jun 2008
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    Very interesting.....never seen the links between those two crimes before

  4. #4
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    This is so interesting, not alot on the internet on this one. I would love for this Zodiac angle to be explored a little more. I'm from Orange county , CA. I have driven through those areas often.

  5. #5
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    Interesting--Zodiac was one of the first things I thought about with this case because it IS so close to Riverside!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Info

    Regarding the posting on the Marjorie Lee Winn murder of 1948, some of the facts need a little clarifying.
    James Sloan was more around the age of 25, rather than the stated 18. He was often reported in the newspapers as a wealthy "RJR heir", who often was on big-game safaris in Africa. He owned a sizeable collection of guns, and was well-known to have a fondness for well-endowed high school girls well into his 40's, often taking them to his hilltop mansion for "photo shoots"!
    In later years he married a few times, fathered some children and became a photographer of some note.
    Inasmuch as the news coverage and police investigation were token at best, it was generally believed around Redlands that Sloan had murdered Marjorie when she rebuffed his advances, and then had his family buy his way out.
    I personally talked to a retired Redlands police chief in the late '50s who told me that they knew that Sloan was the murderer, but that their hands were tied. No further explanation, but, in Redlands, money talks.
    In the early 2000's the local newspaper, The Redlands Daily Facts, ran a reprint of the front page of the day following the murder. When I talked to one of the reporters who put the project together, I was told they were soundly chastised and told in no uncertain terms to "leave it alone"!
    NEARLY 60 YEARS LATER - WOW!!!

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the information OldDH. Is James Sloan still alive today? At this point he must have already died. It sounds like he was quite the playboy of sorts. If he did do it, it seems like it's a little too late for justice.

    I'm quite sure it was very easy to pay off law enforcement back in those days,
    but if LE was paid off then I would assume that Adolph Ellis and his wife would have to been quieted with some hush money aswell.

  8. #8
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    Rather than wait until you reached your destination, why would you pull off the road in the middle of the night to set your watches? Then doing so, just happening to pull off right at the spot where a guy with a gun was waiting? That's some stroke of bad luck.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  9. #9
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    This case sounds rather fishy. Such a awful crime, it seems like it should have gotten more publicity. Especially with it's possible (though a long shot) connection to the Zodiac. I thinkthere is more to this story. I wonder if the theroy that OldDH presented is true? I would like to know more about James Sloan and who he was.

  10. #10
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    Normally, any newspaper worth its ink when told to "leave it alone" would just raise the pressure.


  11. #11
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    I don't get how it could be James Sloan when the farmer found a stolen car outside his house, and the car's owner said the murder weapon was inside the car when it was stolen.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by momtolil View Post
    This case sounds rather fishy. Such a awful crime, it seems like it should have gotten more publicity. Especially with it's possible (though a long shot) connection to the Zodiac. I thinkthere is more to this story. I wonder if the theroy that OldDH presented is true? I would like to know more about James Sloan and who he was.
    This story is absolutely true!
    Follow me on Twitter @TrueCrimeGuy or via my sites
    http://www.zodiackillersite.com/
    & TrueCrimeGuy.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldDH View Post
    Regarding the posting on the Marjorie Lee Winn murder of 1948, some of the facts need a little clarifying.
    James Sloan was more around the age of 25, rather than the stated 18. He was often reported in the newspapers as a wealthy "RJR heir", who often was on big-game safaris in Africa. He owned a sizeable collection of guns, and was well-known to have a fondness for well-endowed high school girls well into his 40's, often taking them to his hilltop mansion for "photo shoots"!
    In later years he married a few times, fathered some children and became a photographer of some note.
    Inasmuch as the news coverage and police investigation were token at best, it was generally believed around Redlands that Sloan had murdered Marjorie when she rebuffed his advances, and then had his family buy his way out.
    I personally talked to a retired Redlands police chief in the late '50s who told me that they knew that Sloan was the murderer, but that their hands were tied. No further explanation, but, in Redlands, money talks.
    In the early 2000's the local newspaper, The Redlands Daily Facts, ran a reprint of the front page of the day following the murder. When I talked to one of the reporters who put the project together, I was told they were soundly chastised and told in no uncertain terms to "leave it alone"!
    NEARLY 60 YEARS LATER - WOW!!!
    I am really gonna have to do a study on that one on the newspaper archives......wow thanks for this info......have to add this...after I wrote this i went to go look at this safe box i have of old photos.....and they have Jim Sloan on them....they were from when my grandmother ran a dancing school back in the fifties in Redlands.
    Last edited by eca1094; 06-04-2012 at 09:37 PM. Reason: more info

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cappuccino View Post
    I don't get how it could be James Sloan when the farmer found a stolen car outside his house, and the car's owner said the murder weapon was inside the car when it was stolen.
    Maybe it was part of the elaborate pay-off.

  15. #15
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