The Zodiac Killer was a killer who lived and did his operations in Northern California from the 1960s to the 1970s. The real identity of the killer is still unknown up to now. It is not known when he was born and where he was born. However, the Zodiac killer got his name as Zodiac in many letters which were sent and delivered to the Local Bay Area Press. He wrote many cryptic letters and send them to the press and others stakeholders who were deemed to distribute information.
In these letters, he always disclosed his heinous acts which psyched his killings and outlined his plan for the murders of the future. Some of the said letters that he sent included the four cryptograms or also known as ciphers. However, three of these ciphers have not been able to be solved up to now. History will judge the Zodiac harshly because he caused so many killings. He murdered and butchered people like animals. He murdered and killed victims in San Francisco, Benicia, and Lake Berryessa between December 1968 and October 1969. He targeted three women and four men between the ages of 16 and 29.
With his outstanding nature when it came to the murder of people, it is obvious that the Zodiac killer caused a lot of killings. The facts and evidence behind his killings have not been known by both law enforcement agencies and amateur investigators. To make the matter worse, the case was marked as being inactive by the San Francisco Police department in the year 2004. However, the case still remains in files in Vallejo, Napa, and Solano counties. The case has also been maintained open by the California Department of justice.
The police tried their level best to investigate over 2500 potential suspects, the findings always nullified the outcome of the results. A few suspects even stood but it was not able to be proven that they were the ones because of the poor forensic technology which was not well advanced., and therefore they could not pin down people conclusively. However, it is also said that the same serial killer changed the lives of about eight people, and out of those only two managed to live to tell the story behind the serial killer.
The zodiac, in his letters, wrote that he had murdered 37 people. However, investigators behind the cases said that there were only seven victims were confirmed and only two survived. They therefore named and identified the victims including Cecelia Ann Shepard, 22, who was stabbed and murdered on 27th September in the year 1969 in Napa country. Hartnell is also said to have survived stab wounds in the back but however, but due to the injuries, she later died in the year 1969. David Faraday and Betty Jensen who were 17 and 16 respectively, were shot and murdered on 20th December 1968 in Benicia. Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau were also shot on 4th July 1969 and lastly, a person by the name of Paul Lee Stine, who was 29 was also shot and murdered.
Among the list of people found to have been murdered, there are also those that are suspected to have been murdered by this serial killer. Linda Edwards who was 17 years old and Domingo’s Robert who was 18, two were found shot and murdered on 4th June 1963 on Lompoc Beach. The reason why the two were suspected to be Zoodiak’s victims is that their attacks had some specific similarities with the attack that Zodiac had committed at Berryessa. Bates Jo was severely stabbed to death on 36th October 1996 in the city of Riverside. Lass Dona who was 25 years of age is also suspected to have been Zodiac’s victim. She went missing and the police later suspected that it might have been Zodiac’s role for her to disappear. This list includes more people who have not been mentioned.
The initial attacks that were attributed and identified with the Zodiac Killer were when a high school student, Lou Jensen was shot while she was with her friend David Faraday. They were shot on 20th December 1968 on Lake of Herman Road, which is right through the limits of Benicia city. The students had planned their date and were then to attend a Christmas Concert, which was to be hosted at Hogan High, which was just a few miles from Jensen’s home. Before they could stop at the restaurant where they had to enjoy their date, they decided to stop at their friend’s place. At 10:15 p.m., Faraday parked their car at a gravel turnout. However, their bodies were later found lying by Stella Borges, dead. The murder was investigated but no success was recorded. However, Graysmih tried to use forensic data to investigate the case. He postulated that just after Faraday had parked their car, there was another car that entered the turnout. He then said that after the killer had parked, his car, he went to the Rambler. By this time Jensen had already exited their car but when Faraday was just about to get out, the killer pulled the trigger and shot him in the head. While Jensen was trying to flee and run away from the killer, she was immediately gunned down just about twenty-eight feet from where the car was. He says that the killer shot Jensen five bullets through her back and he drove and flew off.
Another attack occurred when on 4th July 1969 Michael and Darlene were driving into the Blue Rock Springs in Vallejo. They then went to the park just about four miles away from Lake Herman Road. While the two were sitting in the car chatting, another car immediately drove alongside them and parked. It is then said that the driver who was in the second car was immediately excited and then went towards the passenger door of Darlene’s car. The driver was ostensibly carrying a 9mm luger and a flashlight. The killer then darkened their eyes by directing the flash towards them and immediately fired five times. The couple was hit and perished while the killer drove off. However, on 5th July 1969, a tricky man phoned the Police Department of Valego claiming responsibility for the killings. The police trucked but they never reached the serial killer.
Vallejo Times-Herald, San Francisco Examiner, and the Vallejo Times-Herald received three letters from the killer on 1st August 1969. In the letters, the address or had taken responsibility for the shootings that had taken place at Blue Rock Springs and Lake Herman Road. The exciting thing about the letters is that they contained the symbol cryptogram which the killer used and claimed that it was his identity. However, the killer had also forced the print rooms to put his publication on the first page or he would continue killing people. With time they were printed but not so many killings happened as he had promised. San Francisco still received another letter on 7th august, 1969 that was a response giving more information about himself, however, the police never got to catch up with him.
More attacks were committed on 27th September when Brayan Hartnell and Cecelia were killed while they tried to prevent the killer from using their car. The killer got angry and stabbed them and ran away. On 11th October 1969, a person requested to be taken to Washington and Marple Streets. Stine, the cab driver, took the chance and decided to help the man. However, this passenger ended up shooting and murdering Stine. The man then made away Stine’s car keys, and wallet, and tore away Stine’s shirt. Bill Armstrong was given the task of investigating this case.
The Chronicle still received another Zodiac letter. This time round its contents as part of Stine’s shirt to prove that he was the one who was behind the murder of Stine. The letter further revealed the threats about the shooting of schoolchildren. On October 20th, 1969, someone who was saying that he is Zodiac called Oakland PD demanding to host a talk show with one of the brilliant lawyers. He later mailed a card with 340 characters on it. On November 9th, 1969, a seven paged letter was mailed to the police claiming that Zodiac had actually interacted after some of the murders had been committed.
A lot of legal representations have occurred in courts dealing with Zodiak’s case. In the year 2002, some DNA evidence was submitted by SFPD which had been extracted from Zodiak’s letters for comprehensive analysis. However, the results led to a partial genetic profile. However, Alan, the main suspect as the results showed, died before he could further be investigated. However, despite the DNA results, Allen could still go scot-free because of a lack of other evidence.
Things got complicated in April 2004 when SFPD later said the case was inactive. With this, they supported their position by citing caseload pressure and case demand. In the year 2007, another man by the name of Stepson turned to court saying that Zodiac was his grandfather. He even gave evidence to show that he was his real grandfather. However, DNA tastes showed the results as being inconclusive.
Deborah Perez also came up in 2009 saying that the Zodiac killer was her father. What then contradicted her is that she had also claimed that her father was J. F. Kennedy, therefore a court ruled that her claim that her father is the Zodiak cannot be credible.