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Will DNA Solve 1969 Zodiac Murders?

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Copperhead
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« on: May 03, 2009, 02:16:54 am »

Figure No. 1: The Schoolteacher

Over the years, the Zodiac killings have intrigued a legion of amateur sleuths, who fill Web sites and discussion groups with theories about his identity, some logical, some outlandish, ranging from Charles Manson to the Unabomber. Some of the most dedicated amateurs make pilgrimages to the Zodiac's crime scenes on the anniversaries of his attacks.

One amateur investigator, former newspaper staffer Robert Graysmith, has spent 30 years gathering a mountain of circumstantial evidence on the man he believes is the Zodiac: a former Bay Area schoolteacher named Arthur Leigh Allen. Among the evidence Graysmith says supports his theory are:

Witness accounts placing Allen at or near the scene of every Zodiac killing. A complaint in which one of the Zodiac victims, Darlene Ferrin, said she was being stalked by a man who called himself "Lee." Allen went by his middle name. Information that Allen owned a watch with the brand name Zodiac and a logo identical to the symbol the Zodiac drew on his letters. Footprint impressions at Lake Berryessa from a rare military shoe, sized 10 ½ — Allen's size.

Graysmith also has a July 1971 police report in which a friend said Allen had told him in 1968 or earlier — before the first Zodiac killings — that he planned to:

Kill couples in lover's lanes. Attach a flashlight to his gun and shoot people in the dark. Write letters to harass police. Call himself Zodiac.

Allen did not look anything like the composite sketch, but the Zodiac had said in the Nov. 9 letter "I look like the description passed out only when I do my thing. The rest of the time I look entirely different."

Allen died in 1992, but brain tissue preserved from his autopsy is still available for DNA testing.

Figure No. 2: The Businessman

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