Allen eliminated as Zodiac? Not!


Zodiackiller.com Message Board: Arthur Leigh Allen: Allen eliminated as Zodiac? Not!

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (proxy2-external.epotlnd1.or.home.com - 24.4.255.69) on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 02:47 pm:

Tuesday night I watched a video of the recent KTVU story detailing the supposed elimination of Arthur Leigh Allen as a Zodiac suspect via new fingerprint technology. I was in the company of Ed N. from thezodiacfiles.com, and when the segment was over I was left feeling confused, frustrated and angry.

The KTVU reporter was Rita Williams, known for her basement interview with Allen back in 1991. Her involvement in the Zodiac case is primarily limited to that interview.
For this recent segment, Rita interviewed a certain "author" and SFPD Inspector Kelly Carroll, who is in charge of the Zodiac case with partner Mike Maloney. Oddly, of the people involved Williams quickly appeared to be the only one who seemed to know what was going on. And then things got worse.

First of all, the segment was more of an infomercial than legitimate news story. There was even a close-up of the cover of the author's yet-unavailable book, complete with release date.

The author said that, while surprised at the supposed findings, he thinks Allen was somehow involved even if fingerprint evidence indicated otherwise.

Inspector Carroll, on the other hand, seemed dazed and confused. Here is how Carroll's "big announcement" came about:

Carroll: (very quiet voice)
"To the best of my knowledge..." (long pause)

Williams: (whisper) "Arthur Leigh Allen."

Carroll: "...Arthur Leigh Allen's palm prints were compared to the palm prints on the Zodiac letter with negative results."

Good God.
Not only did Carroll not remember the name of the case's most prominent suspect of the last thirty years, which I can perhaps understand under the glare of television lights, he worded the information like a sneaky politician. I mean, what in the hell is "To the best of my knowledge" supposed to mean? Isn't Carroll in charge of the case? Wouldn't he know for sure if the prints had been compared? And if they had been compared, wouldn't he be absolute? Wouldn't he be just a little bit excited to be the detective who finally eliminated Allen as a suspect, once and for all? Wouldn't he have said something like, "THEY DIDN'T MATCH!!! FORGET ABOUT THIS ALLEN GUY!!!"?

At this point, I have no faith in anything being done at the law-enforcement level regarding the Zodiac case.

By Curt (Curt) (63.174.96.232) on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 03:34 pm:

Tom Voigt wrote, "At this point, I have no faith in anything being done at the law-enforcement level regarding the Zodiac case."

What kind of murder investigation is it where the lead detective allows a product (Graysmith’s book) to be plugged? Not only does that seem very unprofessional, but it’s tacky, and offensive to the victims and their families, too.

Curt,
Labyrinth13

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (72.philadelphia08rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.31.72) on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 03:58 pm:

Tom, I wouldn't worry too much about it. If police agencies were competent to handle cases like these, they'd have solved it by now. Police agencies work by paradigm; when the case is outside the available paradigms they let it go and don't worry too much about it, other than to throw the public an occasional bone.

The prints are an inclusive tool, not an exclusive one. Allen remains just as big a suspect as he ever was, which depends entirely on your way of looking at things.

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) (cgowave-0-225.cgocable.net - 24.226.0.225) on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 09:35 pm:

Is there any way of putting this online? I know it may be a bit big in size but maybe just for a short time.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (c1990384-a.potlnd1.or.home.com - 24.248.51.15) on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 09:53 pm:

Ryan, a mutual friend of Ed and I brought it up from San Francisco. We were busy at Mt. St. Helens for three days and I didn't have a chance to dub it.

Maybe I can get a copy.

By Jake (Jake) (spider-we041.proxy.aol.com - 205.188.195.36) on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 09:15 am:

Tom wrote:
"At this point, I have no faith in anything being done at the law-enforcement level regarding the Zodiac case."

You're aware that law enforcement's feeling is mutual, right?

Regardless of one's personal interest in the case or impressions of its principals (Insp. Carroll probably didn't produce the segment, and I can assure you that he knows Allen's name, and while we're at it lets not forget that RG has made at least one huge gaffe in every single one of his TV appearances), three facts are true:

1. The print is valid evidence.

2. The print was checked against a database of 300,000 similar prints with no matches.

3. Allen's prints were among those tested.

Eebideebidee -- That's all, folks!

--Jake

By Oddball (Oddball) (slip-32-103-46-136.al.us.prserv.net - 32.103.46.136) on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 10:11 am:

Well, this is beyond pathetic. Seeing Tom Bruton interviewed, I always had the feeling that the case wasn't being taken very seriously anymore...but I didn't know things had regressed this far.

By Oddball (Oddball) (slip-32-103-46-136.al.us.prserv.net - 32.103.46.136) on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 10:19 am:

I dunno, Jake...I'm not completely sold on Allen(or any suspect), so it wouldn't break my heart if he was eliminated. But "To the best of my knowledge" doesn't quite cut it for me.
Maybe Carroll is telling the truth, but maybe he's sitting on something.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (proxy2-external.potlnd1.or.home.com - 24.4.254.137) on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 11:30 am:

...or maybe he doesn't really know for sure.

By Roger Redding (Roger_Redding) (user-33qs0oe.dialup.mindspring.com - 199.174.3.14) on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 02:26 pm:

There was even a close-up of the cover of Graysmith's
yet-unavailable book, complete with release date.


Which is????

Carroll: (very quiet voice)
"To the best of my knowledge..." (long pause)

Williams: (whisper) "Arthur Leigh Allen."

Carroll: "...Arthur Leigh Allen's palm prints were compared to the palm prints on the Zodiac letter with negative results."


It sounds like Carroll started one sentence, then when Williams prompted him, finished the sentence Williams started.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (c1783462-a.epotlnd1.or.home.com - 24.248.50.12) on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 02:46 pm:

The release date is sometime in March 2002.

I feel Carroll simply forgot Allen's name, which isn't exactly the blunder of the century. (Those honors go to his "to the best of my knowledge" statement.)

By Bucko (Bucko) (spider-mtc-ti063.proxy.aol.com - 64.12.101.178) on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 04:57 pm:

"which isn't exactly the blunder of the century"...

Didn't President Jimmy Carter once forget Hubert Humphrey's name and introduce him to an audience as "Hubert Horatio Hornblower"? I agree with you Tom, some people may get nervous and/or forget common things or may state facts in an unsure manner, when in an interview or similar setting.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (203.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.16.203) on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 05:31 pm:

Tom, I agree with you that Allen can't be eliminated as a suspect on the basis of fingerprints. But it perturbs me to find that you're still eliminating Kaczynski on the same basis, as well as the hearsay (totally unsubstantiated) that Kaczynski had an alibi for the Zodiac events. Let's be consistent.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (proxy1-external.potlnd1.or.home.com - 24.4.254.136) on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 05:59 pm:

Doug, while I list on Ted's page the reasons law enforcement (SFPD/FBI) eliminated him as a Zodiac suspect, I have my own seperate beliefs why Ted wasn't the Zodiac.

By Esau (Esau) (proxy1-external.scrmnt1.ca.home.com - 24.4.254.112) on Sunday, November 11, 2001 - 01:30 am:

You two stop it....
Tom, ALA can be Zodiac on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.
Doug, TK can be Zodiac on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Howard, BD can be Zodiac on Wednesdays (I know it's only one day but you're the most mature and understanding)......
On a serious note, I agree that prints are an inclusive tool and not an exclusive tool and as far as I'm concerned the print in question has little or no significance if it can't be matched to any suspect.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-102.linkline.com - 64.30.217.102) on Sunday, November 11, 2001 - 02:05 am:

No -I want Zundays and I will let Tommie have Wedsdays and if not I will take my .22 and go home to Vallejo in my'60 Chevy.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (143.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.16.143) on Sunday, November 11, 2001 - 05:50 am:

And I will tape a flashlight to my pistol and call myself the Zodiac.

By Mcgarrett2000 (Mcgarrett2000) (adsl-64-165-199-137.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 64.165.199.137) on Sunday, November 11, 2001 - 10:44 am:

Hey Like I said in my other post about this, without printing every clerk, intern, copy boy, reporter and editor who handled the Exorcist letter at the Chron, the evidence is contaminated. Pure and simple.

Also according to the story, SFPD has only started keeping palm prints for, what was it, 5 or ten years. Tom you saw the thing more recently than I did. Let me know. Z's crimes happened 30 years ago so SFPD wasn't palm printing perps back then.

Now, in regards to this contaminated palm print, has anyone checked it against Ted Kaczynski or Davis?

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (proxy1-external.potlnd1.or.home.com - 24.4.254.136) on Sunday, November 11, 2001 - 12:09 pm:

Mcgarrett2000:
"Now, in regards to this contaminated palm print, has anyone checked it against Ted Kaczynski or Davis?"

Based on Inspector Carroll's Condit-like interview style, I'm not even convinced it was checked against Allen's.

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldevf.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.187.239) on Sunday, November 11, 2001 - 10:10 pm:

STOP. WAIT. HOLD ON. BACK UP.

I think there's something wrong with my computer monitor:

Jake wrote:

"1. The print is valid evidence.

2. The print was checked against a database of 300,000 similar prints with no matches.

3. Allen's prints were among those tested."

Really? 300,000 print samples? Wow. Is that supposed to impress somebody? That's like saying "Well, we checked 300,000 web pages and couldn't find that document, so it must not be on the Web."

"The print is valid evidence." Exactly what does that mean? I hope you are not trying to say that the print belongs to Zodiac. The print is in fact an unknown print, and therefore the results of any comparative effort with it, no matter how exhaustive, can at best be described as WORTHLESS if they do not match anyone in the database. Look at it like this. Suppose we had available what we considered to be a complete database with complete prints of every human being on the face of the earth during the time frame in question. If the suspect print(s) were compared to such a database, and "negative results" were obtained, are you saying the police would rightfully be purporting that Zodiac was an extraterrestrial? In this case, absolutely no person would be eliminated, but rather the whole comparison process would become suspect. Also on the incomplete list of what would not be eliminated:

1) The strong likelihood of the "complete" database being in fact incomplete.

2) The almost unheard of concept of human error.

3) The almost unheard of concept of new technologies being touted as something which they later turn out not to be.

I can understand that many people just don't get the concepts of "positive results" vs. "negative results". It's like an AIDS test, folks. If you have a positive test, it means you probably have AIDS. If you have a negative test, it means they didn't find it. It doesn't mean that the reason they didn't find it is that you don't have it. A small, but very important distinction easily digestible for those interested in the truth. We just have to accept the fact that prints can only be used to eliminate a suspect under an extraordinarily narrow set of parameters, and if there has ever been a case which is polar opposite to these parameters, it's Zodiac.

You see, in order to use prints to rule someone out as the Zodiac, they first have to prove that the print belonged to Zodiac. I know document examiners can look at prints on paper and give opinions on its origin, but the only definitive way to establish whether or not it's a Z print is to identify the person the print belongs to. WHICH THEY CAN'T DO! The only thing they have proven here is that Allen can't be eliminated with these prints at this time!

How much more straightforward and simple can this get? Maybe it's about time for me to break out the video I made in the stationery store showing how "made to order" confession paper and greeting cards can be easily prepared with the help of unsuspecting strangers before you even get the stuff out the door. It also shows how someone could use a "missing 25 minutes" to cruise around looking for a public phone someone is using and then place your call leaving those fresh prints undisturbed. When I read these fingerprint threads and then go watch the video, it's better than MAD TV!

Let's face it, if the Simpson murder scene can't be considered properly secured and processed during the "golden age of forensics", how can we think that any of the high-profile Zodiac crime scenes, particularly PH, or letters sent to newspaper mailrooms could have been?

And, although I'll admit it's unlikely, this is not even to breach the subject of outright fingerprint forgery.

Gotta go medicate myself now.

Ray

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) (proxy4-external.busy1.on.home.com - 24.226.0.236) on Sunday, November 11, 2001 - 11:00 pm:

Ray, I haven't seen the news about it but from what I read here the print on the 1974 Exorcist letter is in the handwriting position, meaning its the print of the author. Perhaps Jake may have gone a bit too far by implying this slams the door on Allen and the other 300,000 people. But we can't just ignore that either. It seems that any time some print/DNA/etc evidence, there are all those from their respective suspect's camps that must shoot down the tests, the evidence, and/or the testers because it did not match their suspect.

Since this came from the 74 letters, one could then argue that this was a well done forgery that fooled even the experts so then the print is of someone who pulled off a hoax, but not Z.

Its possible the tests/testers/evidence is flawed. These results should not be seen as the holy grail of evidence, but this piece of evidence points away from the known suspects and gives a bit more strength to the Unknown Suspect.

I totally disagree with your statement about it being WORTHLESS. This evidence is like circumstantial evidence. If you were able to test all the humans on the earth at that time and the results were negative, then the only answer is that the test or evidence is flawed. However we only have part of the humans there at the time. So one could say the tests is still flawed but not as strongly as one could say about the tests where all humans were tested. Its also possible then that Z was not in that group.

Now what about this... Ray you say how easy it is for others prints to unsuspectingly end up on paper and phones. If you are going to argue against this recent palm print evidence then think about this.

Lets say then that Allen is NOT the Zodiac. WHAT IF...by some crazy coincidence, Allen happened to be one the people who comes in contact with the paper, or happened to use the phone booth right before Zodiac does. If you find Allen's prints then couldn't someone argue that while his prints are there, he is not Zodiac?

Its certainly possible that none of the evidence is Zodiac's, but if one is going to encourage tests on the evidence and then shoot it down when it fails to implicate their suspect, then if it does one day match Allen/Ted/Davis/Kane/Larry/Curly/Moe, I'm going to launch an assault on the evidence and claim its a horrible coincidence.

I'm fairly open minded and I don't have a favorite suspect, but I don't know how much more of these tests I can listen to before I can pretty much rule out, in my own (possibly twisted) mind, all the major suspects.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (252.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.16.252) on Sunday, November 11, 2001 - 11:24 pm:

It occurred to me that if Zodiac was stupid enough to leave his prints on the Napa phone, he obviously would have been stupid enough to do the same in Vallejo. Does anyone know whether that phone was dusted for prints?

Ditto the earlier letters.

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldevf.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.187.239) on Sunday, November 11, 2001 - 11:47 pm:

Ryan,

I'm not arguing against the palm print evidence. In fact, I think it's great that they are spending time, money, and effort on this case. What I am arguing against however, is this Pied Piper of Hamlin mentality that the real value of evidence always equals its apparent value. What grated my nerves was this news broadcast. There is no way to convince me that the message sent out to an all-to-eager-and-receptive television audience was that because we didn't match the print, Allen's not the guy. Then, when someone on this board with good case knowledge and good sense seems to start marching off to the sound of this flute, it was more than I could take. All I want to say to everyone is, BE WARY. This is a very slippery slope we're traversing. The examples in my post are specific reasons why they might be on the wrong track, if in fact they are. I'm not saying they are, I'm saying they're not being responsible with what they report! The planetary database thing was my attempt to take this illogical mentality to its ultimate extreme where it might be exposed as fallible. It was only metaphorical in nature. I freely acknowledge the possibility that they might actually have a Z print on their hands. That's what's so upsetting about the way they're handling things. If they can't say for sure where the print came from, they can't say who's not Zodiac. It's that simple. It might be "consistent with" a print that the author would leave, but that does not make it a fact that the author left it. That fact can only be established if and when the print can be positively matched to an individual with a name. On that basis, although it certainly retains credibility as circumstantial evidence, as definitive exculpitory evidence it is WORTHLESS.

Ray

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldevf.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.187.239) on Sunday, November 11, 2001 - 11:59 pm:

Ryan,

BTW, I am not member of any "suspect camp". I am Mulder, and I want the truth! While it's true I can be pretty vocal about Allen's viability as a suspect it is only because I find much evidence curiously pointing his direction. I have argued here at length on at least a couple of threads to his guilt. But, my theories have many credible detractors. I think this is what we must all strive for. Develop theories and see which ones can be shot down. The one theory which cannot be shot down will be the truth. I feel strongly about this, and react quickly when I see the keepers of the evidence, those charged with professionally pursuing this case, becoming media pawns at best, or possibly getting ready to fumble the ball, at worst.

Ray

By Esau (Esau) (proxy1-external.scrmnt1.ca.home.com - 24.4.254.112) on Monday, November 12, 2001 - 06:01 pm:

Doug, I remember hearing or reading somewhere that the there was too much sweat in the print on the pay phone to give a good readable sample. I don't remember where I read it or heard it.

By Curt (Curt) (63.174.96.189) on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 08:20 am:

Ryan Olesin wrote, "It seems that any time some print/DNA/etc evidence [comes along], there are all those from their respective suspect's camps that must shoot down the tests, the evidence, and/or the testers because it did not match their suspect."

Bravo! While this message board is very smart and there are some highly knowledgeable researchers here, my own "outsider" perspective can tell you that there is a tendency towards "tunnel vision" here sometimes.

But at the same time, I'm of the mind that as far as this particular piece of evidence is concerned, something really does seem to stink to high heaven (and I’ll ask the question again: what kind of police investigation is it that allows an author to get in a plug for a book while making a "major announcement"?)

Curt,
Labyrinth13

By Mcgarrett2000 (Mcgarrett2000) (adsl-64-168-25-111.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 64.168.25.111) on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 10:17 am:

The police representative probably had no idea that Graysmith was being interviewed in the same segment or that he was going to mention his book. Ch. 2 and Rita Williams showed up, interviewed Kelly Carroll and then all of the book plugging was added in the editing room. All Carroll did was agree to an interview with the highest rated news show in the SF Bay Area. That's a hard thing to pass up. He had no idea about the rest of the segment's contents and there is a good chance that even Williams may not have known at the time she interviewed Kelly as these stories are all assembled in a matter of hours.

Hey, I am not defending any of the other things Carroll has done, but in reality, he can't be held responsible for the entirty of the piece -- only what he said in it.

By Jake (Jake) (spider-mtc-tk044.proxy.aol.com - 64.12.107.39) on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 06:32 pm:

Ray wrote:
"... an unknown print ... can at best be described as WORTHLESS if they do not match anyone in the database."

A print is not worthless in excluding a suspect if we have that suspect's prints, unless you want to take that severed-hand routine a step further and tell me that Allen wasn't just using it to plant phony prints but was writing with it as well.

"2) The almost unheard of concept of human error.

3) The almost unheard of concept of new technologies being touted as something which they later turn out not to be."

Do you think for a minute that anyone would take me seriously if the print matched Allen and I touted these three points as reasons why Allen was still not a suspect? Do you think I would even log on under my real screen name after uttering such a ridiculous rationalization for a match?

What will it take to rule Allen out? If not handwriting, and not fingerprints, and not a series of palmprints, and not any objective criterion introduced to date, WHAT WILL IT TAKE?

Pass the Qualuudes, Ray...

--Jake
http://www.ZodiacSpeaking.com

By Oddball (Oddball) (slip-32-103-46-25.al.us.prserv.net - 32.103.46.25) on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 07:30 pm:

Fingerprints/handprints eliminating Allen are not the issue, at least not to me; if it can be shown conclusively that print evidence has ruled Allen out, so be it. What I'm arguing with is Carroll's wording: "To the best of my knowledge" is pretty vague, and having to be prompted as to Allen's name is(in my opinion)downright ridiculous.
I don't think I'm nitpicking. This is a tad too ambiguous, I feel, to be considered any kind of revelation.

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) (d221-216-88.systems.cogeco.net - 216.221.81.88) on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 12:12 am:

Curt, remember that Graysmith is in the Allen camp so I don't know if the police necessarily "allowed" Graysmith to plug his Zodiac/AllenDidIt book when they're saying Allen's prints DO NOT match. Its the new shows that put this stuff together.

P.S. I have nothing against Graysmith, I'm looking forward to Zodiac Unmasked.

Tom, do you think we could get a glimpse of the cover that you said looked great? March 2002 is still a long ways away. Just throw us a bone or something.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (proxy2-external.potlnd1.or.home.com - 24.4.254.137) on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 12:39 am:

I don't have a picture of the cover. Later this week I might have the entire KTVU segment, however.

By Curt (Curt) (1cust66.tnt3.krk1.da.uu.net - 63.23.255.66) on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 06:40 am:

Ryan: thanks for your input and as Tom mentioned earlier in this thread, Graysmith's part in the segment sounds as if it was dubbed into the final mix (I was imagining Graysmith brazenly displaying the cover of his new book while sitting in a chair next to Carroll). And I'm not venomously opposed to Graysmith myself, only that I've come not to trust his word after learning what other investigators on this message board have uncovered.

I think that seeing the KTVU segment would help to put this in better perspective (for myself, anyway). I spent half a day listening to Fox Network News (which I loathe) hoping they would run it again; no luck.

Jake: You make an excellent point and I hope someone will take the time to try and answer your main question: WHAT WILL IT TAKE to eliminate ALA as a suspect?

And lay off those Qualuudes!

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (212.philadelphia08rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.31.212) on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 10:07 am:

What will eliminate Allen as a suspect? The same thing that will eliminate anyone else; namely, an alibi.

By Mcgarrett2000 (Mcgarrett2000) (adsl-64-168-25-183.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 64.168.25.183) on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 10:48 am:

Guys, the letter was contaminated, plain and simple. As long as there is this cloud hanging over palm prints or any other kind of prints collected on the Exorcist letter, than said letter cannot eliminate anyone as a suspect. Like I said in an earlier post, it would be nice to know if they checked it against Kane's, Kaczynsky's and Davis' prints as well. The SF Police database of palm prints is only 5 years old so checking it against that is a longshot at best also.

That being said, though, the DNA gathered from the stamps would be very interesting. In the KTVU story they said that they were going to attempt to gather DNA again which means, if this story is accurate here (which is a big "if") that the SF Crime Lab failed the first time around. ONly a couple of years ago, the SF Crime Lab was blasted for being shoddy and below par. Here's a 1998 Chron article about it...



<A HREF="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1998/09/30/MN11608.DTL"

By Curt (Curt) (63.174.96.232) on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 01:42 pm:

Douglas wrote: What will eliminate Allen as a suspect? The same thing that will eliminate anyone else; namely, an alibi.

Well, I don't think it would be that simple. Not everyone always has an alibi for everything they do (and if it were that easy, then could you say that everyone without an alibi could also be considered a suspect? Things would get mighty crowded).

Curt,
Labyrinth13

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (159.philadelphia01rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.17.159) on Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 03:12 pm:

An alibi will eliminate you as a suspect. Not having an alibi will simply not have a bearing on the issue. If there are other reasons for suspicion, not having an alibi means that you remain under suspicion. Does that make any sense?

By Classic (Classic) (spider-tj013.proxy.aol.com - 152.163.213.178) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 01:27 pm:

The only thing that will eliminate Allen as a suspect, or any of the other suspects at this point is when the true identity of z is revealed.
You cannot prove a negative. If I catch bigfoot, that is proof that he exists. I cannot prove that he doesn't exist on the other hand.
If one of the Big 5's prints match those on the letter, that would be compelling. If none of them match,there are two possiblities. Most likely would be that the prints are not of z. The other possibility is someone other than the Big 5 is z.
Is the print that of the zodiac? I find it hard to believe that for someone to write that many letters without wearing gloves or airplane glue on their fingers that so few prints would come up. For an individual to type through 13 copies of carbon paper so as not to be detected and then not take 3 seconds to put gloves on is a bit of a stretch for me.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (proxy1-external.potlnd1.or.home.com - 24.4.254.136) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 10:50 pm:

Classic, I agree it would be illogical for Zodiac to not wear something protecting his fingerprints. Why take the chance? On the other hand, he apparently didn't wear gloves at the phone booth in Napa. (I don't know about the Vallejo phone booth.)

Regarding Bigfoot, Ed and I had an encounter recently at Mt. St. Helens that might have made even the biggest skeptic change his mind. One thing is for sure: IT WASN'T ALLEN!

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) (d221-216-88.systems.cogeco.net - 216.221.81.88) on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 11:41 pm:

Tom, I realize Bigfoot is WAY off topic, but could you post this Bigfoot story somewhere.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acb69c65.ipt.aol.com - 172.182.156.101) on Friday, November 16, 2001 - 10:15 am:

It's been one of those weeks, and I'm off to work in a few minutes (does it never end???)... I'll post my take on what happened as soon as I can, and I'm sure Tom will too somewhere. One thing is for certain, I'm positive it wasn't Allen...

By Classic (Classic) (spider-wg044.proxy.aol.com - 205.188.196.39) on Friday, November 16, 2001 - 03:34 pm:

Tom, regarding Mt.St. Helens, was it Kane??? Just kidding.

Regarding the Napa phone booth, maybe he couldn't dial a rotary phone with gloves on? There has to be a rhyme and reason to his using protection. He couldn't have been haphazard and eluded capture for so long.
The question is when could it logically be assumed he was wearing gloves and when not. Could there be instances where no attempt at looking for prints was done but should have? Classic

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38lddl7.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.182.167) on Saturday, November 17, 2001 - 01:02 pm:

Jake,

The severed hand theory is nonsense. This is not what I am refering to when I talk about fingerprint forgery, which is a legitimate anti-detection technique.

Police are people too, and they are not immune from wanting certain things to be, such as prints on letters and taxicabs belonging to perps!

1) As I recall, there was "no match effected" with the cab print, which is not the same as "suspect ruled out". Not a big surprise with only 8 points on 2 fingers. Or with the fact that there were only "traces of blood" in the lift, not really what one would expect of a perp print given what we know about his activities after the shooting. In fact, if the print was actually "in blood" it would not even have been liftable with dust and tape (the method which was used). Such prints are photographed (with special digital photography today) and not lifted, because wet blood smears and dried blood crumbles. Seeing as how the minimum required for a match is 10 (this requires the subjective opinion of an expert) with 12 being preferred, and here we have 8 between 2 fingers, what do you find so convincing?

2) If Allen was ruled out with the taxicab print, why the need to compare him to the new print? Oh, do you think they were just checking the accuracy of their expensive new machine with a "known" result?

So what if the side palm impression is in the writing position? I can think of at least two other ways such a print could be placed on the letter. Exactly how many people do you acknowledge might have handled this letter before the police got it?
Or who handled the paper before the letter was even written? Unless you can show ink on top of a print, there is no reason to think Zodiac couldn't have picked this piece of paper up from almost anywhere.

As far as the points in my previous post, I was not trying to use them to refute the results of any legitimate test. I know most real lab tests are perfectly done, and the SFPD's test probably was, too. What I was trying to do, and guess I didn't do very well, was point out the illogic of the concept of suspect elimination with prints in this particular case using a contrived scenario in which a hypothetical test takes place. These points applied only to that test, because they were the only explanation for negative results under that scenario.

Of course, there is an easy explanation for no match with the test which was actually done, and that is that Allen's not the guy. All I am saying is that you can't PROVE that unless you can PROVE that these are Zodiac prints, and it would be IRRESPONSIBLE to eliminate him (read: exclude him in future comparisons of evidence) on that basis. If and when this is proven, you won't hear another peep out of me about Allen. I'd also be impressed by an RFLP analysis on the stamps which also doesn't match Allen. This should be a breeze since the guy ended up with diabetes! You could also document Allen anyplace else on the planet at the time of any of the murders!

I can't help but feel this whole deal with the SFPD was a publicity stunt to demonstrate the merits of their recent expenditures. The way I figure it, they had a prefabed position either way. If someone is identified, great, case closed. If all the majors are "eliminated" (if we can get the news media and public to buy in to the nonsense), then with no new suspects or leads...that's right, case closed - Maloney and Carroll back to work on "solvable" cases. Blame for failure to close this one can easily be passed back down the line to the original investigators, and with each new day decreasing chances Z is still breathing, they might be asking themselves, "What's the point?" This might also explain Insp. Carroll's demeanor on the news segment. It may be that he was not comfortable with implying a non-match was an elimination. Perhaps he was directed to make such a statement by superiors eager to justify their expensive new lab. "To the best of my knowledge" may have been the best way he could think of to distance himself from the whole elimination concept. I agree with Curt, this whole thing stinks to high heaven!

I don't know, maybe blind faith in partial prints and the opinions of document examiners is the way to go. It certainly appears to be the path of least resistance.

Uh oh, there's that sweet flute music again...

Ray

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p231.as1.clonmel1.eircom.net - 159.134.150.231) on Saturday, November 17, 2001 - 04:23 pm:

Ray,
I think you have nailed the whole argument here.If it has been determined that the ink was on top of the print,then it nearly has to be the author.The other way around leaves it wide open.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (143.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.16.143) on Sunday, November 18, 2001 - 07:33 am:

If the SFPD had any faith at all in the validity of their fingerprints or handwriting analysis, they would have dropped Allen back in 1971. The fact that they continued to pursue him (and continue to do so, even after his demise) indicates the opposite.

By Jake (Jake) (spider-te014.proxy.aol.com - 152.163.195.179) on Monday, November 19, 2001 - 07:09 pm:

Ray wrote:
"Seeing as how the minimum required for a match is 10 (this requires the subjective opinion of an expert) with 12 being preferred, and here we have 8 between 2 fingers, what do you find so convincing?"

I'm not sure if you're citing Graysmith, but post-1969 technology has brought out additional points of comparison on the cab prints and we now have twelve, which, it would seem, is good enough even for you! (Hey, wait a minute -- if it was only eight, why was everyone so afraid that they were genuine?)

"If Allen was ruled out with the taxicab print, why the need to compare him to the new print? Oh, do you think they were just checking the accuracy of their expensive new machine with a "known" result?"

Your question is a bit of a paradox, since you've already stated that the cab scene could have been contaminated. Might that not be a good enough reason to recheck Allen with the latest evidence? Wouldn't you be crying foul if a suspect wasn't checked against it? I sure would, and I have every reason to think that at least some of the cab prints are Z's.

Incidentally, Allen was also a distinct no match on the handwriting and two sets of letter prints that VPD had the Feds check out. SFPD is rebuilding their crime lab, as was mentioned before, and old techniques wouldn't inspire the same funding as a break in a cold case using state-of-the-art technology.

"So what if the side palm impression is in the writing position? I can think of at least two other ways such a print could be placed on the letter. Exactly how many people do you acknowledge might have handled this letter before the police got it?"

You don't seem to understand the print situation here. It isn't one print. It isn't two prints along the margin, or next to a coffee ring where a reporter set down his mug. This is a mass of prints all over the paper that could only have been left by the writer as he wrote the letter. I acknowledge ZERO people besides Zodiac having the opportunity or inclination to do this. How many do you count? What are your two methods of inadvertant print deposit that take this phenomenon into acount?

"Or who handled the paper before the letter was even written? Unless you can show ink on top of a print, there is no reason to think Zodiac couldn't have picked this piece of paper up from almost anywhere."

Sure. Maybe he picked it up in Paul Stine's cab, and the prints on it belong to Mr X, who happened along the crime scene and touched a bunch of stuff and left without being noticed by three witnesses or a dozen cops. You know, maybe, right? It could happen! AAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhhhhh....

"I don't know, maybe blind faith in partial prints and the opinions of document examiners is the way to go. It certainly appears to be the path of least resistance."

There was a thread a while back about Occam's Razor, the old concept that the simplest explanation is generally the correct one. In this case -- though not all -- I'm inclined to go along with it. The alternative is to think up new and increasingly tenuous explanations every time legitimate and unambiguous evidence comes up. The alternative is to accept experts who are untrained and unqualified. Did somebody say "blind faith?"

Maybe the whole argument in favor of ALA is an incredibly perceptive and ironic piece of performance art demonstrating fanaticism among internet addicts. Who can tell anymore?

--Jake
http://www.ZodiacSpeaking.com

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-ntc-ta032.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.16.32) on Tuesday, November 20, 2001 - 06:07 pm:

Jake wrote: There was a thread a while back about Occam's Razor, the old concept that the simplest explanation is generally the correct one.

You're missing the critical part of Occam's Razor . . . the simplest explanation that accounts for ALL THE FACTS is generally the correct one.

The problem with using this concept with regard to this case is that NOBODY has all of the facts, or can even concur as to what the facts are. In my opinion, if you really use Occam's Razor as a philosophical/scientific tool, you will see that the easiest explanation that accounts for all of the facts with regard to the prints is this: We don't have a set of Zodiac's prints.

Consider this: Even though bloody prints were found at Paul Stine's murder scene, which prompted SFPD to "have faith" that the prints belonged to the perp, we still don't know if the prints actually belonged to Zodiac. In fact, after 32 years with a no match, it almost seems like a no-brainer. The simplest explanation that accounts for this fact? Zodiac was telling the truth when he commented that he was leaving behind fake clues. Otherwise, where is the proof that any agency, anywhere, has a set of Zodiac's prints? It doesn't exist, does it?

I know this sounds as though I were asking the various police agencies to show proof that they have proof, so to speak, but God Almighty, after 32 years of cold-icing, somebody has to start wondering about all the friggin' delays. I believe it's very possible that ol' William of Ockham would have argued: The police have no idea who the Zodiac killer was, because if they did, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

I fully agree with the sentiments shared by Tom V. in his first post on this thread. Putting your faith in the various police agencies to solve this case is like throwing a rock into the Grand Canyon.

Scott

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldesp.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.187.153) on Tuesday, November 20, 2001 - 07:15 pm:

Jake wrote:

"You don't seem to understand the print situation here. It isn't one print. It isn't two prints along the margin, or next to a coffee ring where a reporter set down his mug. This is a mass of prints all over the paper that could only have been left by the writer as he wrote the letter. I acknowledge ZERO people besides Zodiac having the opportunity or inclination to do this."

This means that you believe Zodiac had the inclination to submit a letter with his prints on it. In my mind, the more prints there are, the greater the chance that they are not Z prints!

I'm not saying I don't believe the prints aren't the writers because they're not Allen's. I'm saying I want to know the specific details of why they are the writer's prints. Something more than a statement that it was determined by an expert. I want to know exactly what was determined and how. If you have this information, feel free to share it. Don't hold it back until the very end of the discussion!

By Jake (Jake) (spider-wm071.proxy.aol.com - 205.188.199.181) on Thursday, November 22, 2001 - 07:26 am:

Scott wrote:
"The simplest explanation that accounts for this fact? Zodiac was telling the truth when he commented that he was leaving behind fake clues [at the cab crime scene]."

Was he leaving fake clues or was he wearing gloves? In either case, why was he performing the wiping motion that the witnesses described? The simplest explanation is that he wasn't wearing gloves, he wasn't leaving fake clues, and only started to sweat after being seen by the cops.

"Otherwise, where is the proof that any agency, anywhere, has a set of Zodiac's prints? It doesn't exist, does it?"

If you mean major case prints -- all ten fingers and both palms -- then no. If you mean prints (ie, more than one) that could only have been left by the author/killer and thus would identify him, then yes. It exists and is in posession of law enforcement, and that's all I can say.

"I believe it's very possible that ol' William of Ockham would have argued: The police have no idea who the Zodiac killer was, because if they did, we wouldn't be having this discussion."

A fine observation. He would not, however, have equated this uncertainty with the statement that the police don't know who the Zodiac killer wasn't.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

--Jake

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-ntc-tb021.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.16.156) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 12:55 pm:

"A fine observation. He would not, however, have equated this uncertainty with the statement that the police don't know who the Zodiac killer wasn't."

Really? Then why is ALA, among other suspects, still on the suspect list? And yes, I did read Tom's first post on this thread. If SFPD knew, without a doubt and with 100% certainty, that the prints found in Stine's cab belonged to Zodiac, ALA would have been eliminated from the suspect list over thirty years ago. The simplest explanation that accounts for this fact: SFPD doesn't know, with 100% certainty, that the prints belong to Zodiac.

Some time ago, a fellow poster (I don't remember who) put it like this: If Zodiac had dropped his gun while leaving the Stine murder scene, and prints had been recovered from it, that would be 100% certainty(paraphrased). However, the prints that the police do have are not 100%. If they were, many suspects, most importantly ALA, would have been dropped from the suspect list years ago.

I still contend that none of the suspects can be eliminated based on print evidence alone. The fact remains that the bloody prints could have been planted, or that the crime scene was contaminated in some fashion. I know that these are not very popular ideas for those who have faith in the various police agencies. However, I'm convinced that these possibilities have also occurred to the police as well. Otherwise, as already mentioned, ALA would have been eliminated as a suspect years ago. The fact that he wasn't eliminated, even after his prints had been checked against the cab prints, only serves to bolster my argument: It is not known, with 100% certainty, that the prints in the cab belonged to Zodiac.

Furthermore, Inspector Kelly Carroll hasn't done a very good job of convincing me that the opposite is true. If we accept his claims as truthful, and SFPD continues down this same path of investigation, in another 30 years we still won't know who the Zodiac was. BTW, the same set of issues and concerns can be applied to the prints on the letter as well.

Scott

By Bucko (Bucko) (spider-mtc-td074.proxy.aol.com - 64.12.104.184) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 02:16 pm:

It's interesting how quick many are to discount any validity to fingerprint evidence, yet the same people are willing to jump on the bandwagon and proclaim the importance of that "titwillow" thing a while back. It seems far more likely, as Jake indicated, that Z was trying to remove "existing" clues when he wiped parts of the cab, rather than leave "fake" clues. Z was careless and/or cocky the night of the Stine murder. I agree with Jake, he screwed up, the print is his.

I guess it always boils down to which side of the fence you're on concerning Allen, as to how you view such things.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-40-129.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.40.129) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 03:22 pm:

Scott:

OK you asked for help, pro or con. First there is no such thing as "the" suspect list, any more than there is any such thing as "the" police. Everyone, including the different PDs and different individuals within each PD has A suspect list. So ALA is apparently not on Carroll's suspect list. Big deal.

As far as eliminating any suspect on the basis of prints, the analytical syllogism is real simple. If and only if you have the perps prints, beyond a reasonable doubt before the comparison is made, then a no-match acquits. In any other case, a no-match means nothing.

If you have prints at the scene, but not to a certainty those of the perp, a match puts the suspect at the scene, but does not directly convict. The strength of the match to convict depends on the strength of the argument that the perp could not have been at the scene for any other reason. A mismatch is completely inconclusive.

So, the strength of the no-match in all cases depends entirely on the likelihood that the prints are those of the perp. If you believe that the prints could not be anyone other than the perp, then a no-match eliminates the suspect. If you believe that the bloody prints had to be the perp and do not match ALA, then ALA is eliminated. If someone else could have left the prints, no-match means nothing.

Only in the case of a MATCH, is the strength of the evidence that the prints are the perp's strengthened by the match with the suspect. If say, we have great prints on the letter, but absolutely no evidence one way or the other whether they are the perp's, then the argument (1) that the prints were the perp's and (2) the suspect is the perp have some synergy.

To illustrate: Suppose the prints on a letter are on top of the ink and not in a writng position. Could as easily been left either by the perp or by an investigator handling the letter. Suppose they do not match with ALA. No elimination of ALA: all they prove is that ALA did not leave those prints on the letter. Does not make it any more or less likely that the perp left the prints.

If the prints match,however, then bam: conviction, (probably) even though before the match there was absolutely no evidence that the prints were those of the perp. Why? Because they prove that the suspect handled the letter, and no jury, no matter how disciplined, is going to see that the suspect handled the letter before it was mailed but was not responsible for the crime. What are the odds, the prosecutor argues, that the suspect handled it, even after it was written, but did not write it? That depends on all the other evidence, including handwriting analysis and the defense's explanation of how the perp came to handle the letter but had no knowledge of the crime at the time it happened.

And you are correct: the analytical process applies equally to the letters and to the cab. What does a no-match mean? It depends entirely on whether we are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt before the print comparison is made that the prints could not be those of anyone but the perp.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (proxy1-external.potlnd1.or.home.com - 24.4.254.136) on Friday, November 23, 2001 - 10:52 pm:

Z was quite practiced by the time he killed Stine. Additionally, he was prepared and focused. IMHO, Stine was killed for a reason and not for pure pleasure.

These are reasons I have a hard time believing Z "goofed up" and left fingerprints on the cab.

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldcem.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.177.214) on Saturday, November 24, 2001 - 04:24 pm:

This concept of a match being significant, but a non-match not being necessarily so, while not that complicated, can be somewhat challenging to wrap your mind around as well as to explain well. Peter has done the best job here so far that I can see of explaining why this line of reasoning applies to the letter and the taxicab print.

As far as the taxi print goes, Jake wrote:

"I'm not sure if you're citing Graysmith, but post-1969 technology has brought out additional points of comparison on the cab prints and we now have twelve, which, it would seem, is good enough even for you! (Hey, wait a minute -- if it was only eight, why was everyone so afraid that they were genuine?)"

Last things first, Jake. The reason everyone was so afraid that these were genuine Zodiac prints was that they were afraid that those prints would be used to erroneously exclude the real Zodiac as a suspect when the prints were in fact in no condition to be used for such a purpose.

As far as your information on new points being developed,

The only question remaining is: Is the print in its present condition good enough for anything? Comparison? Elimination? This print has historically had 2 major problems:

1) It has not been matched to an individual.
2) Not enough unique points have been identified to effect such a match.

The wonderful news that there are now enough point for a match (assuming all 12 points are on one of the 2 fingers, which I doubt) does not make problem #1 go away. A positive match would be required to place the print owner at the scene. This person could fall into one of three categories:

1) the perpetrator
2) the victim
3) someone else present at the scene

So we would have to fail to match the print to anyone in group 2 or 3 before we could think it was a group 1 print. The only problem is that even if we now get 12 points, too much time has passed to be able to attempt matches with everyone who could have been in groups 2 or 3, so all that is left to do is to assume that it is a group one print and attempt a match with a suspect. See Peter's excellent post on the logic behind the match/mismatch stuff. So basically, the only match we could get at this point which would mean anything would be a match to a Zodiac suspect, which again is not even possible without 12 points on one finger.

As it turns out, 12 points are indeed quite enough for me. Since I am untrained and unqualified, however, perhaps I shouldn't have been so bold as to require the same standard of proof as professionals. Just to be sure, I contacted my friend Tony Provenzano, retired Chief of Weschester, New York Police, a fingerprint technician instructor for many years. He has testified in court many times relative to print evidence. His opinion on this print is that a partial match could possibly be used in conjuction with other evidence in the application for a search warrant, but unless there are 12 points on one finger, the print would be worthless except as noted above, and if it had 12 points, only useful if it matched a suspect. FYI, print technician instructors are trained and qualified professional, apparently good enough qualifications even for you.

Jake, on the other hand, says "It exists and is in posession of law enforcement, and that's all I can say." That's all I can say, or that's all I will say?. I don't know whether he's frustrated with our stupidity that we can't see things the way he does, or whether he's frustrated by our ignorance because he knows stuff that we don't. If there's anyone here who's got the real, current poop, it's historically been Tom or Jake. So Jake, do you really mean that's all you can say? Are you actually being prevented from disclosing a confidential disclosure? If not, I'll renew my invitation to share all that you know about these prints. After all, apart from genetic material, they are the best physical evidence we've got. Bring it out, man.

Ray

By Oddball (Oddball) (slip-32-103-46-105.al.us.prserv.net - 32.103.46.105) on Saturday, November 24, 2001 - 07:07 pm:

I agree with you wholeheartedly, Ray, for whatever it's worth. If the information is not confidential, let's get it all out in the open and eliminate at least one source of contention.

By Mcgarrett2000 (Mcgarrett2000) (adsl-64-168-24-127.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 64.168.24.127) on Saturday, November 24, 2001 - 07:43 pm:

Ok, about the cab. San Francisco is a hail a cab town where you can stand on any corner downtown at almost anytime and hail a cab in no more than 5 mins. I have been to just about every city in this country and only New York, D.C. and Philadelphia seemed to have the same abundance of taxis as SF. Point being that Paul Stine probably had several fares that day coming in and out of his cab and leaving finger prints. His cab probably was used before his shift by another driver who probably picked up many other fares -- all who got their finger prints all over the seats, widows, window handles, backseat ashtrays (as it was probably ok to smoke in a cab back then) and door handles. In a place like a cab, most investigators would have considered print evidence a longshot because of the sheer volume of prints left in a pl. like an SF Yellow Cab.

Then on top of all of this there is the issue of the EMTs possible contaminating the scene, Zodiac's claim of using airplane glue on his finger tips, and the sighting of him wiping down the backseat of the cab on top of it all. Maybe phone booths in Napa, which aren't used as often as cabs in San Francisco, would have yielded better print evidence, but the cab's pirnt evidence still would be considered shakey.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (spider-ntc-ta063.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.16.48) on Saturday, November 24, 2001 - 08:43 pm:

McGarret,
I am under the belief that the said cab print was a "bloody print", thereby eliminating all those other variables you mentioned.
Correct me if I am wrong.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-160.linkline.com - 64.30.217.160) on Sunday, November 25, 2001 - 02:38 am:

Sylvie,That is correct.This has been discussed in great detail in past posts.On the print card other prints are listed as possibles.

It was the POSITION of the prints with "traces of blood"based,at least in part,on the three teens witness report.

Did Z wipe his hands with the white cloth or handkerchief he was seen holding?His hands must have been coated with blood from tearing off the bloody shirt and from just touching Stines person-there was blood everywhere.This could account for the 'blood traced' prints mentioned on the SFPD(See I stayed away from using F----o PD!) print card.

The teens SAW Zodiac holding on to the door jam as he was wiping down the dash,etc.(to supposedly,leave 'fake clues')it is there the 'blood prints' were found-the prints position or placement(and this is the main issue with the partial palm print lifted from the Exorcist note-it's the placement of the prints- and it will continue!)could indicate Z lost two or more plastic covers or 'coatings', possibly due to the blood,etc.This is some of the speculation-which pretty much speaks for the entire Z case!

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (1cust133.tnt1.santa-maria.ca.da.uu.net - 63.28.219.133) on Sunday, November 25, 2001 - 10:07 am:

While it's probable that someone on this board has, at one time or another, already suggested it, it occurred to me that the print found in the cab that had "traces of blood" on it, could have been a pre-existing print upon which spattered blood from Stine was deposited, and one which Z failed to obliterate with his "wipe down." It would all depend on the initial appearance of the print, before collection, and if the "traces" were indicative of spatter or of blood having been transfered from a bloody finger.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx2-1.linkline.com - 64.30.218.1) on Sunday, November 25, 2001 - 11:13 am:

Det.Wm.,
From the SFPD print Report,quoted in past posts,it seems that the Experts agreed or 'believed' that those 'blood traced' prints were left by the suspect."Trace" is a good word study!

That means,as you know, all of the factors that you brought out-though good postulates,were considered prior to their final conclusions.Of course,you could be correct as everything should be reconsidered.

Several people,including Stine,that had ridden in the cab were located and cleared.I can't find any place that Toschi thought that the crime scene was contminated.It is my understanding that he called to insure the cab was to be cordoned off,etc. All of this is subject to much discussion and we have had plenty!

The Experts were careful enough to determine that those prints in question were made by the perps right hand(including which fingers)-the hand which one would use if he were trying to steady himself as he wiped down the dash area.

As Zodiac wiped the cab down he certainly did not wipe the questioned prints off-other prints must have been smudged.

Graysmith seems to be quoting from the Report print Expert Robert Dagitz personally wrote as this is not in the same wording as the SFPD Report I have.From all that Peterson could find it was directly from Dagitz's Report, but not from the "official"SFPD report that he had and later gave to me.Dagitz states:"Middle finger and third finger of right hand...8 points on 2 fingers.In blood."The word "In" is vital as it indicates it was not a pre existing print, but was made by the perp"In blood."At least this was the conclusion of the Experts and was,at the time,to be kept confidential.If Graysmith just concocted this QUOTE then I would like to see proof of it.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx2-1.linkline.com - 64.30.218.1) on Sunday, November 25, 2001 - 11:43 am:

For a comparative approach see Jake Warks site, This is The Zodiac Speaking and the section dealing with possible Zodiac finger prints.Jake posted under Prints from Letters 2/13/01 (and in other discussions)concerning Zodiac prints.

When one surveys all the known evidence,it opens the door(or should I use that word?)for intense discussion to be sure!When one reads all the past posts, which I recommend, you will see what I mean."Have fun."!

By Mcgarrett2000 (Mcgarrett2000) (adsl-64-166-22-123.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 64.166.22.123) on Sunday, November 25, 2001 - 12:30 pm:

Hey Howard, I just read over Wark's section on fingerprint evidence. Now we have strayed way off topic (ALA) with this post here, but my one question about fingerprint evidence is if the law enforcement agencies ever compared the latent prints from all of the letters to each other and the ones found at the cab scene? Were prints found at the cab scene a match to those found in letters?

Hey we can assume that SFPD and Calif. DOJ did compare the print evidence to itself, but like BEnny Hill once said: "Never assume because it makes an Ass out of u and me."

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-ntc-ta071.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.16.51) on Sunday, November 25, 2001 - 01:51 pm:

Ray N. wrote:

"Peter has done the best job here so far that I can see of explaining why this line of reasoning applies to the letter and the taxicab print."

I agree completely. Thanks Peter, your post reads like a crime scene technician's handbook, or something of that nature. It should be printed and used as reference every time the "great print debate" arises. I asked for your help and you came through in spades. Thanks again!

Mcgarrett2000 wrote:

"... my one question about fingerprint evidence is if the law enforcement agencies ever compared the latent prints from all of the letters to each other and the ones found at the cab scene? Were prints found at the cab scene a match to those found in letters?"

I've been wondering the exact same thing for quite some time. I seem to recall some evidence of this being done by the FBI. If so, it should be somewhere in the FBI's Zodiac case file. Can somebody point me in the right direction on this?

Scott

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (proxy2-external.potlnd1.or.home.com - 24.4.254.137) on Sunday, November 25, 2001 - 06:39 pm:

This is getting a bit off topic...

By Mcgarrett2000 (Mcgarrett2000) (adsl-64-166-22-123.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 64.166.22.123) on Sunday, November 25, 2001 - 09:45 pm:

Agreed Tom. I started a new thread in the General Zodiac Discussion cleverly entitled "MORE MORE MORE FINGERPRINTS" in case any body wants to discuss the latest in fingerprint evidence and the controversy it has stirred up any further. Howard, Scott, anyone else, please continue this fingerprint conversation over in that thread. Sorry Tom.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p68.as1.clonmel1.eircom.net - 159.134.150.68) on Thursday, December 06, 2001 - 10:10 am:

On the question of the palm print,is it not likely that if this was something overlooked by Zodiac,then similar prints would be found on more of his letters?.Are we to assume that Zodiac was mindful of this evidence in earlier letters and for some reason forgot to protect himself with the Exorcist letter?.On the other hand(pardon the pun)this letter was posted in 1974.If we are talking about suspects that had come under suspicion,would this not be a good way to throw Law enforcement off their track.Assuming they could manipulate the evidence!

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldeb0.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.185.96) on Friday, April 19, 2002 - 11:49 am:

Board:

Well, I see that some can understand my frustration with general characterizations of those of us who like Allen for these cases. Nevertheless, we are now given the new moniker "Allen Youth". I can only suppose this is to mean that we are fanatics and cling to our ideas fervently without regard for logic, reason, or knowledge of the "facts". There is simply too much exculpatory evidence or "anti-evidence" which is accompanied by contradictory or ambiguous facets to be accepted at face value. I find it hilarious that those who won't look at the real substance of the facts always claim their views are based on a determination to remain impartial. It's a hoot. The more you guys argue against Allen, the less impartial you become.

Jake claims in his latest post on the Stupidity thread not to know what the contradictory aspects of the evidence are. I have only written about 1000 words on this topic on here, not to mention all the others who contributed dozens of posts (in this thread and the fingerprint threads) explaining exactly what is wrong with the evidence. In fact, Jake, you were right there in the middle of it. Now, I guess enough time has passed that you have forgotten about all those posts. Do I have to lay it all out again?

This is what is wrong with your arguments, Jake: You throw out all of these direct quotes from police reports, "Well, Ray, this is what the police say, this is what the police believe, this is what they have said over and over again". If the police said the moon was made of cheese, would you look into things yourself and ask them how they came to the conclusion that the moon is made of cheese, or would you just stand back and say, "Well, Ray, everybody knows the moon is made of cheese. The police have said this repeatedly, and it's right there on page 923."? You habitually put forth your arguments by holding up police statements rather than getting involved in a discussion of the details of the problems with the evidence. If you simply don't have the time to waste on a dummy like me, I more than understand. But if you really want to talk about what is wrong, put away those reports. There is too much information not provided for me to simply accept all police conclusions out of hand. Even if the police have been consistent with their statements (which they haven't), it does not mean that the evidence is consistent. Not even acknowledging that there are problems with the evidence is a hallmark characteristic of an Ostrich.

It seems that some of these ponies we have been beating on aren't quite dead yet, so maybe it's time we drag them out and kick them a few more times for the benefit of any Ostriches who might be rethinking their positions:

1. Allen complained that he was "hounded" by the police. If he truly was not Zodiac, and didn't like this treatment, all he had to do was provide a solid alibi for any of the cases. The sooner the better. He never did this, though. To this day, no one else can put him anywhere else, either. Of course, the Ostriches (two can play this game) explain this away by saying he enjoyed the media attention and police harassment and wanted to be thought of as the Zodiac even though he wasn't.

2. Allen did not "match" the taxicab print. That print is not one print, but an impression of portions of two fingers. I see there are still folks discussing it as the bloody print, and how much blood there was, etc. The fact that it was lifted with dust and tape means it was not a patent impression. A truly bloody print would need to be photographed. So there must have been very little blood. There are posts on this. It may well have been a simple latent which got contaminated with a small amount of blood sometime before it was processed. The fact that it was even compared to Allen back in the day, before we had 12 points, and again after 12 points were identified says that the two fingers at least had overall characteristics which matched Allen or he would not have been checked against them twice. In other words, the loops, whorls, on Allens fingers at least had to coincide with the general pattern of the taxicab print, or they wouldn't need to be digging around for additional points with which to attempt a match, which is what they did (ante and post mortem). This leaves us with 12 points on two fingers which is not good enough to match to anyone in court. Even the person who actually left the print could not be convicted on that evidence alone.

3. The Exorcist letter print is a little better. The police think it was left by the writer. At least we think they think that because they did some tests on it in their new lab. Insp. Carroll said, "To the best of my knowledge the print was compared to Arthur Leigh Allen with negative results." Is that a statement? Does negative results mean they failed to make a match or failed to exclude Allen as the writer? Does it mean he can't be the writer? Very curious verbage to be using if conclusive results were obtained one way or the other. CONCLUSIVE is the word I was looking for there. Of course, we don't know if the print was on the paper before the letter was written or put there during the writing, or after. We only "know" (because we believe what we "heard" on here and in "the papers" which quote "sources") that the police "believe" the print could only have been left by the writer. My question still stands: Do the police know this because they found ink on top of the print? I would think they would be proud to announce that if it were the case and is the only definitive way I can think of to be sure it was left by the author. I asked this 6 months ago when we were getting new information about this print. Jake seemed to have an inside source of some sort, but all he would say was that the print was in the possession of law enforcement, and I never got an answer. Anyone needing more information on prints look at the 50 or so posts on this thread and the fingerprint threads. As far as the other prints lifted from the letters the very quote which Jake provides, "they were not made by persons handling the card after its receipt" is exactly what I am talking about. We are to possibly infer they are the author's prints. One might do that, but that's not what they said. They didn't say "they are unquestionably the author's prints". All they said was that it was possible that the prints were on the paper before the letter was written and the paper could have been picked up from a table at any library or public place after being handled by God knows how many people. If anyone still think prints have excluded Allen after reading all the posts on here, then you must be an Ostrich.

4. Handwriting analysis. We have the undisputed heavyweight champion questioned document examiner of all-time examining the writings of Zodiac and Allen and saying there's no match. Actually, he said more than that - he said Allen is not the guy. Of course, Allen was ambidextrous and used many different hands, Zodiac used the manic hand, the careful hand, the car door hand, possibly the Red Phantom hand, the "RCC library hand" (remember that was "unquestionably the work of Zodiac"). But we're pretty sure Zodiac didn't do that case, but he drove down there, crawled under a desk and wrote the message anyway or could it be Morrill was wrong about that? Or was he wrong about Allen matching Zodiac? Oh, that's right, Morrill was never wrong about anything. So CJB was definitely killed by Zodiac, we can just stop arguing about that now because God has Spoken, neverminding all the evidence indicating CJB was not a Z case. Of course, all we have from Morrill is his conclusion about Allen's writing relayed through third parties. We don't have his full report where we could see him discuss Allen's amidexterity, different hands, and why there's no way he could have been fooled by this guy who submitted samples knowing what they would be used for. If we had the full report, we could maybe be more impressed by the verdict. The reason we don't have the report? It's apparently a secret report, which although it should be available through FOIA, authorities won't release it citing the reason being that they can't seem to find it after an "exhaustive search" of their files. This makes me two things: curious and skeptical. Then, at one point, we also have Insp. Toschi apparently going out of channels for an unknown reason, and that examiner says it's Zodiac, but then reverses his opinion when it conflicts with Morrill. Who was wrong on that one?

If what the police write in their reports is all so meaningful, how do you reconcile Detective West's statement about the Z videotape: (paraphrasing) "The tape does not contain a confession. If it did, the case would be closed." Does that mean the police would close the case with Allen as the Zodiac anyway, even though they have eliminated him with all of this "exculpatory evidence", therefore knowing he's not really the guy? Why would police search his trailer in '91 and again after his death, taking a careful inventory of his belongings if they felt so confident about his innocence? Why do they still hope for improvements in genetic testing methods to permit a test on the stamp DNA if he is eliminated by so much conclusive and unambiguous "evidence"?

Shall we now conduct a smell test on any of the above? I fear the next time I see someone come to the board and say something like, "I'm sorry, but I do not believe Mr. Arthur Leigh Allen was the Zodiac because - don't you all know - he was excluded by handwriting and fingerprint analysis an awfully long time ago.", I'm going to make some gurgling sounds and fall over backwards.

Ray

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (199.251.68.84) on Friday, April 19, 2002 - 12:11 pm:

Gee, Ray, I know how you feel.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-ntc-tc064.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.17.49) on Friday, April 19, 2002 - 01:22 pm:

With regard to Morrill's conclusions concerning Allen, take a look at page 131 of Zodiac Unmasked where Morrill told RG the following:

"I do now note that the printing that Allen is doing is contrived and not natural to his own."

Also, on the same page, we have two other document experts claiming that it is possible to disguise handwriting.

"If the writing had been a product of a mental state . . . the writing of a subject can be different when in a different mental state, or it could be a case of an intentional deception. With the talents that [Allen] has, writing with both hands, this could be done." --
Terry Pascoe, Department of Justice Document Examiner
(Emphasis added)

Detective Bawart, again on the same page, states the following, "Our handwriting expert, Cunningham, confirms that if Allen had the ability to write with his left hand, this could explain the inability to match the handprinting (sic) to Arthur Leigh Allen."

Interesting, huh?

Scott

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-10407-2.linkline.com - 64.30.209.40) on Friday, April 19, 2002 - 02:41 pm:

On page 505 of GSs book he says in commenting on the 1/29/74 Exorcist note:"Three contact palm edge prints were found in 2001 which did not match Allen's palm print."If GS has new evidence which could not be included in time for publication then I hope to see it.
We also need to learn if a DNA was done for comparison between the officially accepted Z missives and Allen.If not why not?And if so,why has it not been released?Allens numbers are on file.It takes about ten minutes for a comparitive match.Eduard has worked with DNA and he is very suspicious why this whole DNA testing has not been done-at least what is the problem?This smacks of Riversides DNA test.Their guy failed,predictably,and they have kept silent about it.Real honest to God professionalism-with a lot of pride and ego thrown in!
I say no one can be ruled in or out with certain fact-the Zodiac case is not resolved beyond a reasonable doubt using standard methods of scientifically accepted modalites of comparison presented in a court of law with jury acceptance.Certainly we have no real verifiable confession either.It remains officially as an unsolved case.
Any honest researcher would be happy to acknowledge if Allens DNA matched-or anyone elses'for that matter.It would be a great thrill to have this case resolved!I pray that it happens.
Any personal feelings about "suspects" would then have to be dealt with.In the light of such good news it would ease the pain for those that maintained a certain suspect!

By Zander Kite (Zk) (a010-1074.stbg.splitrock.net - 64.196.37.58) on Friday, April 19, 2002 - 02:47 pm:

With all due respect to Jake, I do believe his anti-Allen arguments are tied too strongly to his "no-suspect" stance. The problem I have with such a stance is that it appears borne out of the residue of "sour-grapes" at having pursued what turned out to be bogus suspects. Its like a(an?) used car buyer who swears he'll never buy used again no matter what rolls up. It's limiting to take such an approach. As for the handwriting and fingerprint evidence, I'm with the majority who feel Zodiac was just too dam competent to supply these things to the police. So, to me, that's a very weak foundation on which to butress a"no-suspect" theory off of. Keep in mind though that Kaczynski is a cousin of the "no-suspect" suspect.

By Jake (Jake) (spider-te064.proxy.aol.com - 152.163.195.204) on Friday, April 19, 2002 - 07:40 pm:

Ray wrote:
"Take THAT, punk!"

Ow! Okay! Let me up!

I fear we're headed toward the old Occam's Razor impasse, where we each hold that our side requires the least amount of explanation and we both end up repeating ourselves. Until such time as a definitive Zodiac print surfaces, or until useful DNA evidence is found under a stamp or envelope flap, you're going to be able to challenge any suspect's exclusion. The results of multiple finger- and palm-print checks, handwriting analysis, a polygraph, two physical searches, and hundreds of manhours spent trying to prove a suspect's guilt will be worthless, and the best evidence will be circumstantial. Unfortunately, that doesn't bode too well, either. The quantity, not quality, of the stories circulating about Allen is what's tough to get around, since Cheney, Spinelli, the Allens, and the Tuckers all have confusing or suspicious elements to their stories, whether in timing, motive, or origin of a certain sheet of paper with code on it.

So who else has some good circumstances? Gareth Penn has over 400 pages worth. Doug's probably written about as much by now, maybe just on this message board alone. And don't sell Howard short, either. There's also a guy named Mike Rodelli and a person calling himself Kenny Kilgore. If Arthur Allen is a valid suspect -- and I'm hedging even that -- then he is no moreso than O'Hare, Kaczynski, Davis, the SF Businessman, or, uh, Daddy Kilgore.

If you'd care to put that post in traditional essay form, Ray, I'd be happy to put it on my site. It's the best impeachment of the Zodiac evidence assembled thus far, and it would take me all night to counter each point. Nonetheless, a few of them do need some direct response:

There were not one but two sets of prints found in/on the cab that were believed to have been the Zodiac's. No one actually saw him put them there, however: witnesses only saw him touching the parts of the cab where they were found.

I'd love to hear an explanation for the origin of the Exorcist prints if they weren't left by the letter's author. The manner in which they appear -- the flat side of the palm, moving across the paper -- is consistent only with someone writing on the page. Did someone pretend to write on a piece of paper and put it back on the shelf or something where it would later be found by the Zodiac, who wrote on it without touching the page? Even if these prints are totally useless as evidence, it seems the height of ostrichism to propose this.

Morrill confirmed that the Zodiac wrote the "Bates" letters and the desktop poem. He did not confirm the "Confession" envelope as such, and that letter is the only correspondence that gives details of the murder. That Bates wasn't killed by the Zodiac -- and this is still debated -- does not mean that the "Bates" letters weren't written by the Zodiac.

Finally, JoAnne West is a spokesperson, not a detective, and Tom can tell you how familiar she is with the Zodiac case. If you want to grab quotes, though, how about this one: "'Allen looked very, very good for a while,' Toschi said, '[but] everything turned out to be negative.'" Or, as Fred Shirasago of the California DOJ more succinctly put it, "Arthur Allen is not the Zodiac." Wait -- does it still count if he doesn't say "Conclusively?"

--Jake

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (12-224-186-54.client.attbi.com - 12.224.186.54) on Friday, April 19, 2002 - 08:21 pm:

Nobody can be ruled in or ruled out as the Zodiac based on whatever became of that Exorcist-fingerprint thingy.

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldev1.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.187.225) on Saturday, April 20, 2002 - 11:03 am:

Tom,

Let me get this straight, Tom. Is the Exorcist letter that bad? I mean, are you saying that if Lee Allen's palm prints had been confirmed on the paper in the writing position, you would still discount the letter as evidence against him?

Maybe there's some things I don't know about the SFPD findings that you could fill us all in on. How much of a fiasco was it in your opinion, and why?

Ray

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldev1.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.187.225) on Saturday, April 20, 2002 - 11:10 am:

Jake:

As I alluded to earlier, I think the Exorcist letter is maybe the best evidence which has been developed to date. I have no intention to assert the scenario you describe with regard to the history of the paper upon which the letter is written. That would not be a rational hypothesis. My reservations about it relate to the patterns of behavior Zodiac had established prior to writing that letter, and the lack of supporting evidence which has been provided to bolster the conclusion that it was conclusively left by the writer, rather than was consistent with having been left by the writer.

I really appreciate your offer, Jake, and I'll certainly take you up on it. I will incorporate my response to the points you've made here as I rewrite the post.

Ray

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (12-224-186-54.client.attbi.com - 12.224.186.54) on Saturday, April 20, 2002 - 11:59 am:

The Exorcist letter/envelope didn't produce the kind of evidence originally thought. Whatever was recovered from the letter/envelope can't be used to eliminate a suspect as the Zodiac.

By Judy (Judy) (waf-dc32-186.rasserver.net - 199.183.163.186) on Saturday, April 20, 2002 - 04:45 pm:

Tom, I am not sure exactly what you are saying about that letter/envelope. Does that mean it also can't be use to confirm a suspect is the Zodiac?

Judy

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) (d221-216-99.systems.cogeco.net - 216.221.81.99) on Saturday, April 20, 2002 - 06:56 pm:

Judy:

If they knew the prints matched Z, then you could eliminate or confirm a suspect based on the results. However no one knows for sure if any of the prints match Z. So eliminating someone based on non-matching prints is not a good idea. However if the prints do match, this means either the person is Z or that person came into contact with the paper and at some point Z got that paper.

By Judy (Judy) (waf-dc32-179.rasserver.net - 199.183.163.179) on Sunday, April 21, 2002 - 03:42 pm:

Thanks for breaking it down, Ryan.

Judy