Why did it stop suddenly????

Zodiackiller.com Message Board: General Zodiac Discussion: Why did it stop suddenly????

By Anonymous ( - on Thursday, August 24, 2000 - 09:12 pm:

Just off the top of my head...i was thinking that maybe the zodiac killer commited suicide and that is why the letters and killings stopped. After all he did say that he was collecting souls for the after life, maybe he was planning on committing suicide. I'm sure that cult culture mentions talk of the afterlife and things like that. Maybe it was all some cult ritual which was completed by him killing himself for some purpose at the end.I wonder if it would be possible to look at the obituaries from the time of the last letter to sometime shortly after?!

By kthulhu (ch8smc.bellglobal.com - on Friday, August 25, 2000 - 06:59 pm:

good point i agree i mean why did it stop? he him
self said that he cant get cought so why would he
stop after 12? my opinion is that he either
killed himself or id dead ( eihter way he got away
with it

By sandy (c531918-a.ptbrg1.sfba.home.com - on Friday, August 25, 2000 - 11:25 pm:

He said his pace wasn't any slower, that he would continue to do his thing. He also said he would change his way of collecting slaves (M.O.)Then he wrote he would no longer tell who or when he did his killings , that the police could try and figure out which ones he is doing. As far as I can tell, we still have a lot of killings week after week unsolved all over the USA. This kind of killer moves around alot to avoid capture. Its hard for the police to connect these killings, when he uses different ways to kill.Know one can say for sure he isn't keeping his word!

By Anonymous (spider-tn053.proxy.aol.com - on Saturday, August 26, 2000 - 02:09 am:

Just to add to sandy's comment : I believe she's right about all the unsolved murders... I think I can think of 3 in the last year in Solano Co. that appeared to me being questionable . Anyone know if the murdered woman found burned out hwy 37(sears pt. area) near the marsh area parking lot was ever solved , or the woman found in a drainage ditch northern solano co. ever solved ... And then the man under the oak tree just off the hwy 80 exit between fairfield and vacaville( this spot has a fishing lake in eye shot). Would be nice to know if anyone has info on these cases, and just maybe it will turn out that the person(s) responsible have been caught already & serving time for these acts... Thanks, J

By sandy (c531918-a.ptbrg1.sfba.home.com - on Saturday, August 26, 2000 - 04:27 pm:

Isn't Hy. 37 the place a caller said that the police could find Polly's body?(years ago)How old was the man under the oak tree? I haven't heard of these killings. Contra Costa co. has had alot.One woman from Vallejo was found near the road at the Ammo depot in Concord. Another was forced off the road on Hy. 4 in Pittsburg Ca. She was a waitress from the "Renaissance" bar in Concord.She was stabbed many times, her car was pushed into a ditch.This was about 10 yrs ago, still unsolved.If it was Z did he pick that bar because the name meant "rebirth"?

By Chrissy Shaw (dial-121.farmtel.net - on Monday, September 04, 2000 - 12:20 pm:

Some stop for no reason and it would seem some run out of the need to brag. It is hard to tell with no evidence and no bragging. Age, disability, even better circumstances alter, increase or decrease what serial killers do.

By Steven Threlfall ( on Tuesday, September 05, 2000 - 06:17 am:

Hello I'm new to zodiac. But there are similarities to Jack the Ripper which I have studied. Serial killers go on till they are caught. As to why Zodiac may have stopped. The reasons I postulated for the ripper fit here also i.e. He died. He was arrested for something else and incarcerated for a long time possibly still is. Or he was committed to an assylum for mental illness. I am not convinced with any other reason as serial killers are driven they won't stop.

By sandy (c531918-a.ptbrg1.sfba.home.com - on Wednesday, September 06, 2000 - 09:21 pm:

He hasn't stopped!!He is just doing like he said he would,killing and not announcing it,also changing his MO. Chrissy please check your Email!

By todangst (spider-wg072.proxy.aol.com - on Sunday, September 10, 2000 - 11:09 am:

I don't buy for a second that zodiac was really planning on chaning his "m.o.". I think he simply was stopping the actual killing part of his "career" and just moving on to writing taunting letters. The most likely reason is that he lost the nerve for some reason.

What is my evidence for this theory? I point to the fact that Zodiac was so adamant about proving himself to the newspapers. For example, he continued to send bits of Paul Stine's ripped shirt to prove the veracity of his letters. Now, if he had taken other victims, he clearly would have used evidence taken from them. BUT HE DIDN'T. I believe this is because there were no other victims. It just seems too disengenius to go on the word of Zodiac that he was now going to be quiet about killing people, just AS HE CONTINUED TO WRITE NEWSPAPERS ABOUT IT. Stop and use some critical thought for a second... how can we legitimately accept Zodiac at his word that he will be quiet about future killings, yet, accept that he went on writing letters about it?

We know that Zodiac made claims that turned out to be lies - the school bus threats for example.

I believe that Zodiac's claim that he was changing his M.O. was just a ruse that allowed him to continue getting the pleasure that his letters gave him, without actually having to kill anymore.

By Timmy Turtle (216-224-160-194.thegrid.net - on Sunday, September 10, 2000 - 05:50 pm:

actually the murders that can be connected to z(lhr,berryessa,brs, and stine), all seem to have slightly(?) different m.o.'s. so you see, in effect his modus operandi was changing every time. that is why i believe there is some validity in believing that donna lass was a z victim.

By Ed N. (spider-wd064.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, September 11, 2000 - 12:20 am:

Mode of operation (ie, modus operandi) and signature are two different things. Robet D. Keppel, Ph.D., defines the the modus operandi thus:

An MO, the definitions for which go back to the seventeenth century, is simply the way in which a particular criminal operates. (italics mine) If he commits breaking and entry burglaries using a glass cutter to get through a door and suctions the glass away so it doesn't fall to the ground and make noise, that's his MO. If he uses flypaper instead of a suction cup to hold the glass fragments together so they don't make noise, that's a different MO. (Signature Killers, p. 2).

A signature, however, is something different:

The killer's signature is his psychological "calling card" that he leaves at each crime scene across a spectrum of several murders... So my life and work as a homicide detective have taught me to look for the unusual--what is rare--that makes one murder so very different from another. By that method, when one sees something rare in one murder and recognizes the same thing a week later, those unusual acts in two murders are often the signature of a lone killer. (Signature Killers, p. 2).

Now, Z's initial MO would appear to have been to bushwhack his victims, ie, ambush them/catch them off guard, attack quickly, and immediately leave the scene of the crime. This differed significantly at Lake B. and PH.

His signature, however it might be defined, is obviously different between the known Z victims and Donna Lass. Z's signature victims were couples he attacked in either isolated (LHR, BRS and Lake B) or quiet places (PH around 10 PM), and he left the bodies and survivors in plain view where he attacked them to be found by passersby. Donna Lass was abducted either from work or her apartment, and has never been found.

Z attacked couples, and apparently the reason he killed Stine alone was to show that he could kill men just as well as women, considering that two out of three of his male victims survived. Of the known Z murders, in no instance did he attack a lone female.

Another aspect of his signature would be the phone calls he made to the police. Obviously, he could not call anyone after murdering Stine, because PH was swarming with cops within a short time, and it would have been a waste of time anyway, since the body was found right away by authorities.

Why was there no call after LHR? Or letters claiming responsibility, for that matter? According to Keppel:

The core of a killer's imprint will never change. Unlike the characteristics of an offender's MO, the core remains constant. However, a signature may evolve over time... (italics mine) The FBI's behavioral scientists say that the signature elements of the original personal expression don't change, they just become more fully developed. (Signature Killers, p. 4).

Thus, the letter writing and phone calls were part of the signature still in the development stage, something he had perhaps practiced beforehand in Riverside by claiming responsibility for a murder he may not have committed.

What do we find when Donna Lass was abducted? An unidentified male called her employer the next day to inform him that she would not be returning to work because of an illness in her family. This is in stark contrast to Z, who actually called the police a short time after the crimes, and from a short distance away, to inform them of the murders he had just committed and where the bodies could be found.

Not only that, there was no clear claim by Z for responsibility for her abduction and presumed murder, just a cut-and-paste card that could have been from anyone, perhaps by the person who killed her and thought to place the blame on Z by sending a fake card.

So, what I think is, while Z's MO changed, especially in the case of Lake B, his signature as such didn't change. Considering the differences in what appears to be Z's and Lass' killer's signatures, I don't think they can be the same perp.

What does everyone else think?

By Ed N. (spider-wd064.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, September 11, 2000 - 12:38 am:

P.S. That would be Robert D. Keppel, Ph. D.

By Douglas Oswell ( on Monday, September 11, 2000 - 05:30 am:

John Douglas defines signature as that element of a criminal's activities that offers him emotional gratification. In other words, what does he achieve emotionally by the crime? Signature is much less amenable to change than modus operandi, which the criminal may alter from time to time if for no other reason than to elude capture.

This is the main reason I won't be put off the Kaczynski/Zodiac connection by the argument that the modus operandi of the two killers was different. In both cases the signature comprised murder for the sake of vengeance and publicity. I also don't find significant the fact that different weapons were used, inasmuch as Zodiac's killing methods varied and Kaczynski used firearms as well as bombs to assuage his anger.

Not only that, but you've got to consider the prospect of a "mad bomber" personality who has yet to develop bombs. In the absence of an effective distance-killing mechanism, what does he do to satisfy his emotional needs? I don't think it unreasonable to assume that if his anger and sense of inferiority are great enough he'll find alternate means to make whatever statement he wants to make. The difference between him and the classical serial killer is that for the "bomber" the act of killing is sufficient in and of itself, while the "serial killer" likes to do things with his victims--something definitely not typical of our Zodiac.

By Ed N. (spider-tq083.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, September 11, 2000 - 05:46 pm:

Douglas: my post attempted to show why Donna Lass could not have been a Z victim, not why Kaczinsky could not have been Z. In any case, Lass vanished on 9-6-1970, only eleven months after Z murdered Stine, and while MO might significantly change in such a short time, the signature won't, although it may develop further with each crime.

Of course, I'm no expert, but, IMHO, there are significant differences between what I perceive to be signature elements of the Z-crimes and Lass' abduction. Since the signature won't change, these crimes therefore don't appear to have been committed by the same person. Thus my suggestion that the real perp "framed" Z for her abduction by sending a card that seemed to implicate him.

I think you have pointed out plenty of similar signature elements between Z and Kaczinsky over the last several months, similar enough to take pause, and, if Kaczinsky was Z, then his different MO starting in 1978 is irrelevant.

On the other hand, there are similar signature elements between William Heirens' murder of Suzanne Degnan on 1-7-1946 and the murder of JonBenet Ramsey 12 days less than 51 years later.

P.S. Tina, the first time I recall Keppel being mentioned is in my post from this morning (correct me if I'm wrong). Douglas has been mentioned numerous times, however.

By Douglas Oswell (35.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Monday, September 11, 2000 - 06:51 pm:

Ed, I agree with you on the Lass abduction, but don't think that it follows that Zodiac didn't mail the Pines card. After all, the Pines card doesn't mention Lass by name; it simply says "sought victim 12." The association with Lass, to my mind, was purely arbitrary, and there are bound to be numerous missing persons in any place the size of the Lake Tahoe resort area over the course of six months. Consider, for example, the many such reports associated with the Seattle area in the Green River case. If Harvey Hines hadn't found Lass, no doubt he would have found someone else.

To my mind, the authenticity of the Pines card hinges on the October 5, 1970 "Fk" card and whether that correspondence was reproduced, or described, in the press. The writer of that missive used a paper punch to decorate the card with a series of holes, and used the term "crackproof." "Crackproof" appears on the March 13 "LA Times" letter, while the "Pines" card bore a series of semi-circular holes made by a paper punch. If the October 5 card was not made public, this is powerful confirmatory evidence (in my opinion) that both the "LA Times" letter and "Pines" card were indeed authentic.

By sandy (c531918-a.ptbrg1.sfba.home.com - on Tuesday, September 12, 2000 - 09:56 pm:

One large hole was also on the Pine's card,upper right hand side. Anyone out there remember a add in the TV guide about "Lake Tahoe",and having the same markings like the hole punched Pines card? I called to find out who printed that Add for TV giude, it was a man named Copp! I found that interesting.

By Ed N. (spider-tq063.proxy.aol.com - on Wednesday, September 13, 2000 - 12:40 am:

Douglas wrote:

To my mind, the authenticity of the Pines card hinges on the October 5, 1970 "Fk" card and whether that correspondence was reproduced, or described, in the press. The writer of that missive used a paper punch to decorate the card with a series of holes, and used the term "crackproof." "Crackproof" appears on the March 13 "LA Times" letter, while the "Pines" card bore a series of semi-circular holes made by a paper punch. If the October 5 card was not made public, this is powerful confirmatory evidence (in my opinion) that both the "LA Times" letter and "Pines" card were indeed authentic.

I checked my files, and found that the card had indeed been reproduced (both front and back) in the Paul Avery story, "Gilbert and Sullivan Clue to Zodiac" (San Francisco Chronicle, 10-12-1970, p. 5). While the holes the author punched in the card appear as a series of large black dots, Avery wrote:

Thirteen holes were punched in the card (italics mine) and a small cross, in which blood was used as ink, was pasted on next to the signature.

There was therefore no room for other interpretations as to what those thirteen black dots were. Since the card was reproduced, it is certainly possible for either or both the LA Times letter and the Pines card to have been faked.

By Chrissy Shaw (dial-93.farmtel.net - on Wednesday, September 13, 2000 - 09:45 am:

Dear Board:

Dr. Keppel has been mentioned by me a number of times, but I do not know if I am the first. My opinion is: The style of attack z used is blitz, with MO variation being in Berryessa. (There is an interesting double homicide from Santa Barbara for those interested in the Berryessa crime scene.) I would not rule out blitz as manner even in Berryessa due to the fact that face to face contact is never made between victim and prey. The Stine homicide may or may not be blitz in that the interaction between z and taxi driver Stine is unknown and speculation as to what occurred can not prove the point either way. In none of the cases that I am aware of, is there anything but rage displayed towards the female victims.

I call the Stine crime scene a "staged crime" in that I contend the homicide was provoked by former failures at killing the male victims and that the viciousness he seemed desirous to show simply is lacking in this quick shot to the head. A staged crime is a crime that is intended to look as though it were some other crime, or a crime provoked by a different motive. I contend that z did not know what a rage filled crime against a male looked like and was unable to deliver on that account. In short, the passion leading up to and during the homicide seems lacking. There(as far as I know)are no defensive wounds on the victim which might indicate some forewarning of what was about to happen.

There seems to be no posing elements in any of the linked z crimes. Posing is positioning of either the body, or elements of the body, or elements of the crime scene highly significant to the perpetrator. These are the often used signature aspects and often bare sexual suggestions and or acts. These are generally done post mortem, while acts done to living victims often are of a sadistic nature(though some rapists will cross a line during a rape while not being sexual sadists)such an individual would be a sexual sadist in most cases.

Not all serial killers were rapists prior to initiating a series of homicides, though the greater majority do have crimes of sexual connotation in their backgrounds. Other type offenders can arrive at serial homicide from serial arson(sexual crime) as well as assassin killers.

Overall, there are few scene generated signs(outside of bragging and writing) that show a definite signature pattern in the crimes linked to z.

PS: My opinions are based on reading and class study and should not be considered the final word on any of these subjects. Like most, I am learning as I go.


By Colette (spider-wn014.proxy.aol.com - on Wednesday, September 13, 2000 - 06:11 pm:

A small cross drawn in blood? I wonder if this was tested for DNA.

By Kevin M (cx206582-c.mesa1.az.home.com - on Wednesday, September 13, 2000 - 09:29 pm:


Two questions...

1) How is a serial arson to be equated with a sexual crime? I see no connection. Perhaps in some instances, but generally?

2) You wrote, "Overall, there are few scene generated signs(outside of bragging and writing) that show a definite signature pattern in the crimes linked to z." It seems to me that in Z's case, bragging and writing ARE the signature. Even at Barryessa, he just "had" to leave his calling card so to speak.

There have been several famous cases of serial arsonists who turned out to be firefighters. It seems the main motive in those cases was glory. In regards to Z, I see similarities.

By Ed N. (spider-wd071.proxy.aol.com - on Wednesday, September 13, 2000 - 11:07 pm:

Colette: I don't know if it was, but even then, I don't think Z was moronic enough to use his own blood. While DNA testing didn't exist in 1970, blood typing did, and if it turned out to be a blood type, for instance, like AB-, and one of the Z suspects had AB- blood, that would certainly get the cops checking more seriously into said suspect. I think that whoever authored that card probably used blood from his pet dog or something. That's what I would have done, just in case.

There was no writing on it to compare to Z's, and, according to Paul Avery in "Gilbert and Sullivan Clue to Zodiac":

The detectives (Armstrong and Toschi) studied the card for two days and for reasons they decline to make public say they feel it "highly probable" it came from Zodiac.

Even the cops weren't positive it was from Z. I therefore have my doubts as to that particular card's authenticity (unless someone knows positively for certain that it is definitely Z's work and tells us!).

By Jake (Jake) (spider-wg042.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, September 14, 2000 - 12:49 pm:

Tom mentioned once that the reason SFPD was confident of this card was that it gave "13" as Zodiac's score, which had appeared at the foot of his last confirmed letter, the "nice [crossed-circle] buttons" letter, and had not been made public. Ed, it sounds like you've got a Microfilm room in your basement -- want to double-check this one?

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Ed N. (spider-to054.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, September 14, 2000 - 03:22 pm:

LOL... wish I did, Jake. But the library's not too far away. I've always had doubts as to that card's authenticity, even back in my old Graysmith-believing days. However, that's just my opinion. Thing is, if that's what made them confident about it's authenticity, then why assume that the Pines card was authentic also, since the apparent "score," if Donna Lass was indeed a Z victim, is incorrect? That's just my gut feeling, for whatever it's worth.

By Douglas Oswell (234.philadelphia01rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Thursday, September 14, 2000 - 06:57 pm:

Thing is, if that's what made them confident about it's authenticity, then why assume that the Pines card was authentic also, since the apparent "score," if Donna Lass was indeed a Z victim, is incorrect? That's just my gut feeling, for whatever it's worth.

But the supposed "inaccuracy" is moot if Donna Lass wasn't a victim. Zodiac might have been in the area at any time, searching for "victim 12."

By Chrissy Shaw (dial-106.farmtel.net - on Thursday, September 14, 2000 - 07:15 pm:

Dear Kevin:

Often times with serial arsonist there is the same type of release that serial killers seem to obtain and it is considered sexually rooted. Arsonists often hang around the crime scene after the fire is set and in my training I was told that is the first place to begin to take photos for the perp is liable to be there.

Arson is often a leg of what is called the serial-killer triad: bedwetting at late age, cruelty to animals or peers and arson. Most serial killers have two of these in their history. No one has ever explained why and I hope some day such items will lead to early identity of high risk children.

With that said, before I address your next question, let me speak of the board subject here. The term burn-out is used with some serial killers seemingly ending their killing. There is one famous case from California where the serial killer killed his mother(his point of rage) and a a short while later her friend. He then drove to Colorado and turned himself in for a string of co-ed murders.

That is a rare outcome. I have heard of suicide being a chosen end, yet unless such a death uncovers evidence, I think it is more hope than a likely outcome. Few serial killers are active beyond 50 years of age(few not none.) One thing about serial offenders of most types--the ability to keep control during their crimes and effect a safe escape post offense is a high priority. Age and wear and tear tend to increase the risks that the next crime could be one too many.

These crimes are not genuine uncontrolled compulsions(no serial killer kills in front of the police station)but rather are chosen actions, or reactive actions with some level of control in the killers will. That is why we can prosecute instead of sending them all to homes for the criminally insane. The plea of, "I could not help myself," simply is a standard way this type of individual attempts to avoid being responsible.

On signature, there may be more, but the writings and bragging are the obvious.

By Ed N. (spider-to047.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, September 14, 2000 - 07:26 pm:

Douglas: what it comes down to is, some communications are obviously Z's, some are possibly his, some are obviously not, and some we don't really have a clue about. That's the problem with this case: it's confusing because of the mis- and disinformation, mythology, etc, etc, and the "kook" letters as well. Too bad Z didn't do something like Kaczinsky, such as including a string of numbers (ie, someone else's SSN) on his communications so that we'd know which was which. But then, maybe that was his game: keep everyone guessing.

By Howard (dialup- - on Sunday, September 24, 2000 - 12:58 am:

My suspect Bruce Davis was arrested after turning himself in (Manson ordered him to )12/2/70 so thats why I believe "it" stopped. One notes that for the FIRST time the Z post mark CHANGES and for the FIRST time a letter(3/13/71) is directed to the Los Angeles Times and he writes about only finding the 'easy ones down there'(so. Ca.). Davis was in LA County jail!Don't ask me how a Z letter could be sent with Davis in jail-that is an "easy "one!Of interest is the statement of a reporter "Davis is short but husky".He was wearing a crew cut.They asked why he was surrendering and he said "Its time". Some have seen Zs obsession with time. When asked did he know that they were going to arrest him for two Manson connected(keep this in mind when Z is giving totals in his letters- I think it accounts for the 'unknown' victim #s Z would introduce in his letters)murders Davis replies,"OH! Is that all?...theres a lot more than that"...they[PD] don't know the half of it"!Sounds like Zs"...theres a hell of a lot more[victims] down there[so. Ca.]."There are no real confirmed Z victims AFTER 1970!

By Will (Will) (cache-dr05.proxy.aol.com - on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 01:56 am:

I think that Zodiac Quit because he got so far and extremely lucky with his escapes.I think that it became an obsession with him not to get caught,and luck like his would not last forever,especially with the Stine murder,Which he was extremely lucky to have gotten away.If that was him that took kathleen Johns for a ride,that was a few years later,on a dark highway,far from the other murders.If it was him,he must have been crazy to go back and burn her car.If it was him,because she saw him closely,he must have been worried for a long time about that one.

By Will (Will) (cache-dr05.proxy.aol.com - on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 01:59 am:

I think that Zodiac quit because he counted himself ahead and was content to tease the police and claim murders that he didnt commit.It was safer that way.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 06:07 pm:

Just looking at Zodiac from a popular perspective,I think there is a good chance that the man we know as "Zodiac" was placed in a prison or a mental institution or died from some disease or accident,etc..
There are many killers that have been arrested and convicted of OTHER crimes and even murders-other than their UNKNOWN series or single murders -and those crimes were not detected by authorities.
When we carefully view Zs personality in his letters and crimes, we see a man that not only boasted and took great pride in relating how he escaped capture ,but that he had developed some 'framework' that made him impervious to capture-'I have been too cleaver for the police;''I am crack proof,'etc.
This of course,this doesn't mean that he wouldn't wind up in a penal instituion for other unlawful misdeeds.This could then become a 'cover' for his greater series or the Zodiac murders.This in itself would be a source of prideful delight-'I know who I really am ,but the dumb pigs and public have no idea as to my true identity
I have read of killers that got arrested and convicted for a murder and then years later it was found that he had killed several other people.How many are not ID'd?Some of them even bragged to other inmates that they did other crimes that the police were unaware of and on it goes.
I don't think that "Zodiac," as a man, would be the kind of person to boast he was Zodiac.That was part of his persona -the mysterious ,elusive Zodiac that the police agencies were all seeking.
His whole "game", as he called it, was to elude the police by using a disguise,changing and discarding weapons,including finger print and writing anti detection methods,etc.
I think the whole Zodiac scenario was so integrated in his disfigured mind, it couldn't come out -there would be too much to lose from a personal standpoint.
Probably Jack the Ripper,if he didn't die a natural or accidental death( of course,some murderers die taking their crime secrets with them)was probably very much like Zodiac.The sheer joy of knowing what the authorities and public didn't know or who he really was,was a true source of power and pride.
I think Zodiac,whoever he was,was very secretive about the Z series and he knew he would lose instead of gain, by telling others.Someone that hardened(witness just the Stine murder and his wallowing in that young mans blood!)self centered and egotistical, just wouldn't tell others.It would be a total contradiction from all that we know -not just about him,but about these kinds of murderers.
Hints about his true indentity in letters,yes,but never enough to draw a firm conclusion.Witness the immense speculation concerning just his name!
If Zodiac is dead,then he probably took his secret with him.If alive, he's just doing time and keeping his 'secret' or even more frightening,he is out there killing.I think this remote,but anything is possible with the criminal mind.Or he is Toms(or Eds) or someones next door neighbor!And for certain,I don't think he'd especially want to live next to det.Bill Baker either!

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 06:08 pm:

Sorry,I mean Will...

By Warren (Warren) (w205.z064002105.hou-tx.dsl.cnc.net - on Tuesday, December 31, 2002 - 07:23 am:

But they are points well taken and I'm always glad to hear Howard's take on a subject.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p50-51.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Tuesday, December 31, 2002 - 08:17 am:

Just as a matter of interest Howard...when you say
"Hints about his true identity in letters,yes but never enough to draw a firm conclusion. Witness the emmense speculation concerning just his name".
How do you define that?.Do you think Zodiac would give his name,but in a way that could never be proved or would not give the name but hint in some other way?If so how?
Isn't your statement a contradiction in terms,in that any "clues" given vis-a-vie hints at his true identity is actually telling somebody something?

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, December 31, 2002 - 03:41 pm:

I respect your work,but I have not seen any solid conclusive evidence as to Zodiac placing his name in a code.
Speak of contradictions.Zodiac successfully evades police and even boasts he is crack proof and that he will never get caught and goes through a lot of effort to conceal his prints and wears a disguise -and probably uses a tracing technique(Peters pantograph is the best till now)to deceive investigators and experts on Document Examination and then places his real name in a code.Now,that IS a true contradiction!
If Zodiac did put his name in a cipher you can best believe it will be there in such a manner so as to be impossible to fully discern it.It would be there for his 'pleasure' not a code experts.
I would,for example, put it out as my guy or any suspect for that matter (some have 'found' his name in a code-but I won't place my trust in their work,even though one of them was Dave Peterson!) as an FYI only, as there are many names that can be 'found' in Zs codes.
My name is:Kane.Was this Larry Kane or Bob Kane the creator of Batman?It goes on and on. Remember Z doesn't want to be caught period!
Good luck on your efforts though.I applaud everyones good work on this complicated case.I hope you have made a breakthrough.
Happy New Year!

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-195.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Wednesday, January 01, 2003 - 08:42 am:

Howard my friend,my post was not designed to delve into anything deeper than your assertions on Zodiac giving "hints to his true identity".
My question with regard to you comments being contradictory was more rhetorical,than anything else.
Perhaps I am being pedantic,or just plain wrong,however my point was this.Your appear to draw a disctinction between Zodiac encoding his name in some obscure manner only for his own satisfaction as opposed to him encoding a name in such a manner as to allow cryptologists to uncover it,thus providing some level of proof.
While there is some difference between these,I just wonder what the difference is when we relate it to your overall statement.That being that he would not give himself away.While it is not difficult to encode a name in some obscure fashion,it does intend to leave some "scar".This could be anything from Syntax error,punctuation,misspelling etc.This is because you are forcing something in there that does not blend with the natural flow.
As the saying goes "Anything encoded by man can be decoded by man".When he decides to hint at his true identity he does run the risk of it being uncovered.While this in iteslf,is not proof of guilt,it may draw attention to him,with the same potential results.In either scenario the outcome is the same,he would have given himself away.

On your overall point,I see something slightly different.When the first code is cracked,we apparently have a guy who was influenced by "The most dangerous game". He obviously identified with Count Zarkoff a killer who made no secret of what he was,who was willing to put himself at great risk to play his "game".If there's one thing Zodiac did,especially with the Stine murder,it's take enormous risk.Not only in the killing itself,but in remaining at the scene to recover items from Stine.It's something he did not have to do.When you combine these facts with
the ego we all know this guy had and the fact the he not only wanted to kill,but rub the noses of Law Enforcement in their failures.I don't see it as a great stretch that Zodiac would encode his name right there under those same noses.
Just some thoughts!
Thank you for the good luck wishes and a Happy New year to you also.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Thursday, January 02, 2003 - 11:36 am:

I will be very clear.If Zodiac encoded his 'name'-in my opinion- within a cipher it would be Zodiac,Robert Emmett,etc.It would a symbolic name,but not his LITERAL name.He did what he could to evade detection by the means I listed in my last post to you.Coming close to capture is not the same thing as using a disguise,etc.
As to his physical person being apprehended is concerned,Zodiac seemed to have a sense of being impervious to being caught.This would be different in placing his literal name in a code.He knew all too well that,as he wrote, "you will have me"if he did that.It is static and could be descerned.Doing this would severely contradict all that he was bragging about to the police and the public.It just doesn't fit.
So you won't think I am simply disagreeing with the name you found,I include my suspects name in there.It would only be a FYI period,not case solution.Anotherwords if it were Davis my stance would be the SAME.
Again,I wish you all the luck I can muster.You are part of the family (guess that makes Tom the Don!)here so we back you 100%!

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Thursday, January 02, 2003 - 03:15 pm:

Also,I forgot to mention the "no address" at the end of Zs July missive.I do not believe Zodiac would give his address,which to law enforcement and the legal community, would be more of a fix than a name.
If Zodiac concealed his address then why not his name too?
There are hundreds of millions of names and many are identical.An address with city and state,etc.,is unique in most cases.
Then there is locale.What if the perp lived in Canada?This would change the playing field too.

I can hear the lawyers say that their client is being framed;or give 'evidence' that that particular letter was a fake and bring their own experts in to invalidate the so called Zodiac code.At the worst,they would argue that their client(in this case ALA)was an eccentric and thought 'he would have some fun' with the newspapers and police so he did his own code and implanted his name in the code.
Another tact might be that someone didn't like the suspect and did the implant or whoever Zodiac was knew of his suspect status placed the name in the cipher to throw suspicion in the suspects direction.Afterall, the authorities believed that Z was a local guy.
Then the lawyers will bring in people and code experts that have found other 'names' in the code.And believe me, they would have charts,graphs and examples from history,etc.Maybe even Zander would show up with his TK solution!
This is imaginary as ALA is dead,but this is the kind of contraversy that would have ensued-with no solution that would be satisfactory from a legal standpoint.
We still a have a Ripper deal.

What I am getting at here, is that it will not solve the case by finding a name in a code.It must be,short of a confession, backed by details,a combination of solid evidence that will put this case in the solved file.
The DNA quest is not over yet.
Your work will be in the proverbial hopper and should be compared to all other evidence-the kind that solves cases.
If you are correct- nothing or no one else will matter-you will have made a potitive contribution to a complex case.
I would like to hear Peters comments on the legalities,etc.