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The Zodiac Killer Murders

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Author Topic: The Zodiac Killer Murders  (Read 479 times)
Copperhead
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« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2009, 03:53:29 am »

In a letter postmarked June 26, 1970, the Zodiac stated he was upset that he did not see people wearing Zodiac buttons. He wrote, "I shot a man sitting in a parked car with a .38."[32] It has been proposed the Zodiac was referring to the murder of Sgt. Richard Radetich a week earlier, on June 19. At 5:25 AM, Radetich was writing a parking ticket in his squad car when an assailant shot him in the head with a .38-caliber pistol. Radetich died 15 hours later. SFPD denies the Zodiac was involved in this murder; it remains unsolved.[30]

Included with the letter was a Phillips 66 map of the San Francisco Bay Area. On the image of Mount Diablo, the Zodiac had drawn a crossed-circle similar to the ones he had included in previous correspondence. At the top of the crossed circle, he placed a zero, and then a three, six, and a nine, so the annotation resembled a clock face. The accompanying instructions stated that the zero was "to be set to Mag. N."[33] The letter also included a 32-letter cipher that the killer claimed would, in conjunction with the code, lead to the location of a bomb he had buried and set to go off in the autumn. The bomb was never located. The killer had signed the note with " = 12, SFPD = 0."

In a letter to the Chronicle postmarked July 24, 1970, the Zodiac took credit for Kathleen Johns' abduction, four months after the incident.[34]

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« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2009, 03:53:43 am »

In his July 26, 1970 letter, the Zodiac paraphrased a song from The Mikado, adding his own lyrics about making a "little list" of the ways he planned to torture his "slaves" in "paradice." The letter was signed with a large, exaggerated cross circle symbol and a new score: " = 13, SFPD = 0."[35] A final note at the bottom of the letter stated, "P.S. The Mt. Diablo code concerns Radians + # inches along the radians."[36] In 1981, a close examination of the radian hint by Zodiac researcher Gareth Penn led to the discovery that a radian angle, when placed over the map per Zodiac's instructions, pointed to the locations of two Zodiac attacks.[37]

On October 7, 1970, the Chronicle received a three-by-five inch card signed by the Zodiac with the  drawn with blood. The card's message was formed by pasting words and letters from an edition of the Chronicle, and thirteen holes were punched across the card. Inspectors Armstrong and Toschi agreed it was "highly probable" the card came from the Zodiac.[38]

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« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2009, 03:54:01 am »

Riverside
On October 27, 1970, Chronicle reporter Paul Avery (who had been covering the Zodiac case) received a Halloween card signed with a letter 'Z' and the Zodiac's cross circle symbol. Handwritten on the card was the note "Peek-a-boo, you are doomed". The threat was taken seriously and received a front-page story on the Chronicle.[3] Soon after, Avery received an anonymous letter alerting him to the similarities between the Zodiac's activities and the unsolved murder of Cheri Jo Bates, which had occurred four years earlier at the city college in Riverside in the Greater Los Angeles Area, more than 400 miles south of San Francisco.[39] He reported his findings in the Chronicle on November 16, 1970.

On October 30, 1966, 18-year-old Bates spent the evening at the campus library annex until it closed at 9 p.m. Neighbors reported they heard a scream around 10:30 p.m. Bates was found dead the next morning a short distance from the library between two abandoned houses slated to be demolished for campus renovations. The wires in her Volkswagen's distributor cap had been pulled out. She was brutally beaten and stabbed to death. A man's Timex watch with a torn wristband was found nearby.[40] The watch had stopped at 12:24,[41] but police believe the attack occurred much earlier.[40] The police also discovered the prints of a military-style shoe.[42]

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« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2009, 03:54:20 am »

A month later, on November 29, 1966, nearly identical typewritten letters were mailed to the Riverside police and the Riverside Press-Enterprise, titled "The Confession". The author claimed responsibility for the Bates murder, providing details of the crime not released to the public. The author warned that Bates "is not the first and she will not be the last".[43]

In December 1966, a poem was discovered carved into the bottom side of a desktop in the Riverside Community College library. Titled "Sick of living/unwilling to die", the poem's language and handwriting resembled those of the Zodiac's letters. It was signed with what were assumed to be the initials, "rh". Sherwood Morrill, California's top "Questioned Documents" examiner, expressed his opinion that the poem was written by the Zodiac.[44]

On April 30, 1967, the six-month anniversary of Bates' murder, Bates' father Joseph, the Press-Enterprise, and the Riverside police all received nearly identical letters. In handwritten scrawl, the Press-Enterprise and police copies read, "Bates had to die there will be more", with a small scribble at the bottom that resembled the letter 'Z'. Joseph Bates' copy read "She had to die there will be more" without a 'Z' signature.[45]

On March 13, 1971, nearly four months after Paul Avery's first article on Bates, the Zodiac mailed a letter to the Los Angeles Times. In it, he credited the police instead of Avery for discovering his "Riverside activity, but they are only finding the easy ones, there are a hell of a lot more down there".[46]

The connection between Cheri Jo Bates, Riverside, and the Zodiac remains uncertain. Paul Avery and the Riverside Police Department maintains that the Bates homicide was not committed by the Zodiac, but did concede some of the Bates letters may have been his work to falsely claim credit.[47]

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« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2009, 03:54:55 am »

Lake Tahoe
On March 22, 1971, a postcard to the Chronicle addressed to "Paul Averly" — intended for Paul Avery and believed to be from the Zodiac — appeared to take credit for the disappearance of Donna Lass on September 6, 1970. Made from a collage of advertisements and magazine lettering, it featured a scene from an ad for Forest Pines condominiums and the text "Sierra Club," "Sought Victim 12," "peek through the pines," "pass Lake Tahoe areas," and "around in the snow." Zodiac's cross circle symbol was in the place of the usual return address.[48]

Lass was a nurse at the Sahara Tahoe hotel and casino. She worked until about 2 a.m. on September 6, treating her last patient at 1:40 a.m., and was not seen leaving her office. The next morning, her work uniform and shoes were found in a paper bag in her office, inexplicably soiled with dirt. Her car was found at her apartment complex, and her apartment was spotless.[49] Later that day both her employer and her landlord received phone calls from an unknown male who falsely claimed Lass had to leave town due to a family emergency.[50] The police and sheriff's office initially treated Lass' disappearance as a missing persons investigation, suspecting she simply left on her own.[49] Lass was never found. What appeared to be a grave site was discovered near the Claire Tappan Lodge in Norden, California, on Sierra Club property, but an excavation yielded only a pair of sunglasses.[51]

No evidence has ever been uncovered to connect Donna Lass' disappearance with the Zodiac Killer.[5]

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« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2009, 03:55:05 am »

Santa Barbara
In a Vallejo Times-Herald story that appeared on November 13, 1972, Santa Barbara Sheriff's Detective Bill Baker (ret.) theorized that the murders of a young couple in Santa Barbara County may have been the work of the Zodiac.

On June 4, 1963, five-and-a-half years before the Zodiac's first known murders on Lake Herman Road, high-school senior Robert Domingos and fiancée Linda Edwards were shot to death on a beach near Lompoc, having skipped school that day for "Senior Ditch Day". Police believed that the assailant attempted to bind the victims, but when they freed themselves attempting to flee, he shot them repeatedly in the back and chest with a .22-caliber weapon. He then placed their bodies in a small nearby shack and tried, unsuccessfully, to burn it down.[2]

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« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2009, 03:55:37 am »

The final letters
After the "Pines" card, the Zodiac remained silent for nearly three years, after which the Chronicle received a letter from the Zodiac, postmarked January 29, 1974, praising The Exorcist as "the best saterical comidy [sic]" that he had ever seen. The letter included a snippet of verse from The Mikado and an unusual symbol at the bottom that has remained unexplained by researchers. Zodiac concluded the letter with a new score, "Me = 37, SFPD = 0".[52]

The Chronicle received another letter postmarked February 14, 1974, informing the editor that the initials for the Symbionese Liberation Army spelled out an Old Norse word meaning "kill".[53][54] However, the handwriting was not authenticated as the Zodiac's.

Another letter to the Chronicle, postmarked May 8, 1974, featured a complaint that the movie Badlands was "murder-glorification" and asked the paper to cut its advertisements. Signed only "A citizen", the handwriting, tone, and surface irony were all similar to prior Zodiac communications.[55]

The Chronicle received an anonymous letter postmarked July 8, 1974, complaining about one of its columnists, Marco Spinelli. The letter was signed "the Red Phantom (red with rage)". The Zodiac's authorship of this letter is debated.[56]

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« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2009, 03:55:50 am »

Another four years passed without communication (purported or verified) from the Zodiac. A letter of April 24, 1978, was initially deemed authentic, but was declared a hoax less than three months later by three experts. In recent years, however, the letter has been deemed in some quarters as authentic. Toschi, the SFPD homicide detective who had been on the case since the Stine murder, was thought to have forged the letter, since author Armistead Maupin thought it similar to "fan mail" he received in 1976 that he believed was authored by Toschi. While he admitted writing the fan mail, Toschi denied forging the Zodiac letter and was eventually cleared of any charges. The authenticity of the letter remains in question.

On March 3, 2007, it was reported that an American Greetings Christmas card sent to the Chronicle postmarked 1990 in Eureka had been recently discovered in their photo files by editorial assistant Daniel King.[57] Inside the envelope with the card was a photocopy of two U.S. Postal keys on a magnet keychain. The handwriting on the envelope resembles Zodiac's print, but was declared inauthentic by forensic document examiner Lloyd Cunningham. Not all Zodiac experts, however, agree with Cunningham's analysis.[58] There is no return address on the envelope nor is his crossed-circle signature to be found. The card itself is unmarked.[59] The Chronicle turned over all the material to the Vallejo Police Department for further analysis.

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« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2009, 03:56:14 am »

Current status
The last SFPD investigators of the case were Homicide Detail Inspectors Michael N. Maloney and Kelly Carroll. They were the first to submit DNA evidence from Zodiac's letters for analysis, which resulted in a partial genetic profile. DNA testing seems to have conclusively ruled out their lead suspect, Arthur Leigh Allen.[60]

In April 2004, the SFPD marked the case "inactive", citing caseload pressure and resource demands.[61] They reopened the case some time before March 2007 and returned evidence to Vallejo police for additional DNA testing, where the case has remained open.[62][63]

The Vallejo Police Department website maintains a link for providing Zodiac crime tips.[64] The case is also open in Napa County[62] and Riverside.[65]

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« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2009, 03:56:40 am »

Arthur Leigh Allen

Arthur Leigh Allen was the main suspect in the Zodiac murders and the only suspect served search warrants by police. [66] He was never charged with any Zodiac-related crime, and he continually denied any connection to the murders.[67][68] He died in 1992 from kidney failure.[69] In 2002, DNA samples taken from saliva on the Zodiac's stamps and envelopes were compared with Arthur Leigh Allen's DNA, and that of a former close friend, Don Cheney, who first suspected him as the Zodiac Killer. Allen and Cheney were ruled out as the contributors of the DNA, though it can not be said for sure that it is DNA from the Zodiac on the envelopes. [70] According to Robert Graysmith, when Arthur Leigh Allen died in 1992, he no longer received unknown hangups, which usually occurred at least three times a month. But this date does not rule out Guy Ward Hendrickson as the possible killer, since he died of cancer in 1993.

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