Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Feminism on Trial

A Vicious & Deadly Odyssey: Part 3

Murder in Nevada

Jack, Ginny, and Wasyl, now joined by a fourth unidentified passenger left Houston, heading westward across the vastness of Texas. Ginny wrote that "there was nothing especially memorable" about the unidentified passenger "except that he had a gun." With Wasyl driving and the other passenger sitting in the front seat next to him, the passenger and Jack, who was sitting in the rear next to Ginny, took turns shooting from the car windows at road signs they passed.

Their next stop was Carson City, the state capital of Nevada. Apparently still flush with cash taken from Chayo's wallet, Jack paid a month's rent and he, Ginny, and Wasyl moved in. The fourth passenger had left them there. For that entire month, none of them worked, but Ginny knew that if they didn't get some income soon their funds would run out.

However, though both of them were trying, neither of them were able to find work. Jack would get depressed, then drunk, then violent, beating Ginny unmercifully.

By this time, she wrote, he was hitting her in the face as well as the body. She was "too bruised to make a good impression on a prospective employer."

Other than that, Ginny maintained that she didn't remember much else about the time they spent in Carson City. But there was more to the story that she claimed not to know about until much later: another murder.

More than a month prior to his 1977 confession to the New York State Police about the Chayo murder, Jack had also fessed up to a second murder in which he implicated Ginny. This one occurred near Zephyr Cove, Nevada, south of Carson City along the south shore of Lake Tahoe, a month after Chayo's slaying. Again, as in New Orleans, according to Jack's confession, the motive was robbery and the method was "rolling" an unsuspecting lone male, using Ginny as bait. This time, however, the murder weapon was a gun.

Map showing Zephyr Cove, near Lake Tahoe
Map showing Zephyr Cove, near Lake Tahoe

The victim, Donald Fitting, was a hotel worker from San Francisco. According to Jack's story as told to NYSP, he and Ginny were again low on funds and they discussed going to one of the South Shore casinos to select their prospective victim. He said they sat down at a casino bar next to a man drinking by himself and Ginny introduced herself and Jack as her brother. In his confession, Jack said he was drunk and didn't or couldn't hear much of their conversation. He claimed to have passed out in a drunken stupor in the car's back seat, only to be awakened by the sound of "loud noises," possibly from a gun being fired, in the front seat.

His confession went on to say that Ginny was telling him to help her get Fitting's body out of the car. When Jack got out and opened the front passenger door, he said the body fell against him and, with the car's dome light on, he noticed blood on the back of the passenger seat. Ginny, he claimed, helped him get the body out of the car and lay it alongside the road, and he said she also told him to get the ring off Fitting's finger, which Jack said he did. Jack also told NYSP that he saw a gun on the front seat of the car when he first opened the door.

Following the incident, according to Jack's statement, the two of them drove back to Carson City as dawn was breaking. When he asked Ginny what happened, she reportedly told him, "I don't want to talk about it." Ginny, he said, cleaned up the car so that, by the next day when they set out for California, it was "as though nothing had happened." When they got to California, Jack said, Ginny sold Fitting's ring to a jewelry store for about $200. He claimed not to know where the gun had come from or what happened to it afterward.

The details of Jack's statement regarding the Fitting murder, when checked out for their veracity, actually matched an unsolved murder in the files of the Douglas County (Nevada) Sheriff's Office. A body was found alongside U.S. Highway 50, the main thoroughfare connecting Carson City and Zephyr Cove, on the afternoon of December 20, 1965. Jack had stated that the incident took place on the night of December 19 and the pre-dawn hours of the 20th. The police report also said "the victim had been shot three times with a small caliber weapon." On the night of the murder, Jack said he had been awakened from his drunken stupor by "loud noises," at least two of them. Could they have been gunshots? At his later trial for the murder, this was what was established.

Although claiming to not know where the gun came from, the weapon that killed Fitting was described as being of a "small caliber." A month earlier, as Jack, Ginny, and Wasyl were driving across Texas, their fourth, unidentified, passenger was packing a small caliber pistol, believed to be a .22, with which they were shooting at road signs. When Ginny expressed her fears to Jack, he had laughed and reportedly told her, "It was only a little gun." It appears possible that the fourth passenger, for whatever reason, may have left the gun behind when he parted company with them.

Two months after his confession, Jack was booked and charged with murder in the death of Donald Fitting. Although he accused Ginny of the crime, she was questioned but never charged. But, long before that took place, much more would transpire in the years between the murder and Jack's confession, including the split between him and Ginny in 1970. The bloody and violent saga was far from over.

 

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