25-year-old cold case resolved with the arrest of two brothers for the strangulation death of Cathy Zimmer
SAN JOSE – The San Jose Police Department, in association with the Santa Clara District Attorney’s office, has announced the arrest of two brothers for the murder of Cathy Zimmer 25 years ago.
66-year-old David Allen Zimmer, The husband of Cathy Zimmer made a brief court appearance on Monday in Dept 23. Zimmer with his attorney present entered a Not Guilty plea as several members of the media, friends and family watched on. Community members also gathered at the courthouse to remember Cathy Zimmer, who was strangled and placed in the back seat of her Chrysler New Yorker at the San Jose Airport on March 10, 1989. She had been wrapped in a quilt, which detectives working on the cold case released a picture of in February, hoping the clue might help spur someone’s memory.
69-year-old Robert Zimmer, the brother of David Zimmer has also been charged with her murder. According to the DA’s Office, “Cathy Zimmer was slain two and a half decades ago, but her family has never forgotten her,” prosecutor Ted Kajani said. “We, too, have never forgotten her”.
Domestic abuse is a common factor in most known spousal homicide deaths. How it leads up to the death is often only known by the defendant, but with 25 years behind the crime, a defendant’s hopes that while feigning forgetfulness due to his age, but with the remembrance of his participation in the strangulation death of his estranged wife, the crime may continue to go unsolved.
A more recent case of domestic violence involved 32-year-old Stephen James Johnson III, He is scheduled for a court appearance on March 18, 2014 in Dept 43. Johnson is being charged with assault under PC 245 (a) (4) for injury of a spouse/co-habitat under PC 273.5(a). On Feb 21, 2014 Johnson was arrested for attacking, striking, and battery upon a spouse or co-habitat under PC 242-243 (e) misdemeanor violent offence with numerous violent felony offences.
The victim stated that she got into a verbal argument with Johnson and things had gotten heated. The victim took a fork from the kitchen drawer and tried to stab Johnson. He was able to move away and take the fork. Then she took a knife and tried to stab Johnson in the arm. This is when Johnson grabbed the female victim by the hair and dragged her to the living room couch. He then began to hold her face on the cushion for more than a few minutes. He then dragged her to the bedroom and forced her on top of the bed. He placed his knee on her chest and began to choke her with both his hands around her neck. He took a sheet from the bed and began to shove it into her mouth, forcing her to vomit while being pinned down. “Stop screaming you (explicative),” Johnson said. “You would not be the first person I’ve killed”, Johnson said. While strangling her Johnson said, “I don’t mean to do this”. He continued to choke her saying, “I just want to talk”.
Eventually Johnson’s rage de-escalated, turning into remorse. Johnson, for several hours asked the victim for forgiveness while continually coaxing her, saying everything would be alright in order to prevent her from calling the police.
But then two days later, on Feb 23, another verbal argument erupted. This time Johnson struck the female victim with his hands on her face. Johnson shoved the female victim down, pushing her to the ground. Once she had fallen Johnson began to hit her. Because there were other family members on the scene Johnson was stopped from continuing his attack, and fled in his car. However, when Johnson returned to the scene he was arrested by the San Jose Police Department and booked into the Santa Clara Main Jail for the assault. By then a peaceful contact order has been signed. Such an order allows contact between the parties if the victim tells the DA and Judge that such as relationship is needed or wanted.
Read More: San Jose Mercury News: Cathy Zimmer murder: Husband, his brother arrested 25 years after body found at San Jose airport