Did Zodiac know he would have to stop?

Zodiackiller.com Message Board: General Zodiac Discussion: Did Zodiac know he would have to stop?

By Steve (Steve) (proxy-1526.public.svc.webtv.net - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 10:29 am:

I wonder if Z knew he had to stop his killing spree, and as his last act of terror sent a letter to announce that he would no longer be taking credit for murders that he would make look like routine deaths or accidents. 1. Did he have to leave the area? (military) 2. Was his health failing? (Allen) 3. Was the mastermind in jail? (Manson) 4. Do the two surviving male victoms unknowingly know his identity.( Was Z afraid that either could implicate him) 5. Did Z talk to the police minuets after the Stine killing.(was this too close for him) what does everybody think about these possibilities?

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) (d141-193-74.home.cgocable.net - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 11:20 am:

These are just my opinions.
1. I think that could be a good possibility. If he was leaving the area, then somewhere down this could be used against him as a circumstantial evidence. Z crimes stop as soon as he left.

2. I don't know about this. If his health was failing that bad that he couldn't even sneak up on unsuspecting couples then that seems like a pretty serious health problem. He probably would have died if it was that bad so then why would Z care, once he is dead he cant be arrested. Unless the health problems were severe, but curable.

3. I don't think it takes a mastermind to write letters and shoot people. If Manson was the mastermind I don't see why the Z crimes had to stop.

4. About the 2 surviving victims. Z did Lake Berryessa even though Mageau survived. And then Stine even though Hartnell survived. Knowing Z he probably would have gone after Mag & Hart if he felt that threatened.

5. I think this is also a could possibility.
After the Stine killing the teens and cops produced a description. He was also spent some time in the car wiping things down. Then Z writes a letter saying thats not what he looks like most of the time and he planted fake prints. That seems as if Z was afraid that the cops had his description and prints so he had to try to downplay their evidence.

By Sandy (Sandy) (c531918-a.ptbrg1.sfba.home.com - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 07:37 pm:

I believe he left the area for a time,waited for things to cool down,returned when he felt safe again. I don't think he ever stopped killing,he just changed his way of collecting slaves, like he said he would. I feel he went to the east coast and did his thing for a while.Came back did more killing with out announcing it (like he said).When it didn't get the head lines that he wanted, he then stalked and killed Arlis Perry in a church!That got some attention, he needed more but couldn't take the chance of being caught . I believe he went to the East coast did his thing, got the head lines he wanted, didn't use the name Zodiac,but a aka that he once used to Mel Belli.When things got too hot again, he returned to West coast. That was when he wrote: "I am back with you". I believe he is still killing in different ways, to throw off the police, and is leaving clues that are being over looked, because they are dumb clues. Don't forget, he is a few french fry's short of a happy meal!

By The Fife (Thefife) (hsa235.pool012.at001.earthlink.net - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 08:03 pm:


There is another reason to stop: he was finished. There has been so much talk of him knowing the persons he killed. What if he did? What if he had a laundry list of killing to do and made it appear to be random and senseless and all of the things he did -- that he just made it look like a serial killing spree. A pretty nice cover for selected murder. In any respect, Stine seems to truly be a transitional episode, perhaps just the flourish and bow from the limelight.

Tom F

By Mark Coombs (Mark) (251-127-237-24.anc-dial.gci.net - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 11:19 pm:

I think it's a reasonable assumption to make that he did know-the Stine killing was a perilously close call. Also, with the bloody shirt serving to "authenticate" his future letters he had no need to continue the murders. It seems as though Zodiac got much more perverse pleasure out of the writing than the actual killings. Perhaps the statements about "staging accidents" etc. were just ruses to keep the public paranoia alive. He'd laid the groundwork for legitimizing his correspondence, any further murders would be purely for the thrill. I would imagine that he was able to get alot of mileage out of the Stine murder, playing it over and over in his head. It seems to me that he was planning to continue his taunting writing campaign but got derailed by incarceration, his death, or the knowledge that the authorities were watching him too closely. I used to think there is no way he could contain himself but wouldn't the smug satisfaction of not being caught and his memories be enough? Hard to say...

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (55.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 11:28 pm:

Maybe he laid low for a few years until something else pulled his chain.

By Bruce (Bruce_D) (pm3-01-27.sle.du.teleport.com - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 12:08 am:

Or maybe he continued killing around Santa Rosa. One of my father's World War Two army buddy's daughter,Kim Allen, was killed,the father believes,by Z.
Bruce D.

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) (d141-193-74.home.cgocable.net - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 12:09 am:

Mark I agree with you. The letters was a big part of the Zodiac's thrill. I feel the taunting and attention was the primary goal, the killing was secondary. Not that he didn't enjoy the killing. But the Stine killing was probably a wakeup call. The teens and the cops saw him as well as the possibility of finger print or other evidence left behind.

If the fear of getting caught was what caused the Zodiac to fade away, then perhaps he was one of the 2,500 that was interviewed which would have added to the fear that he would be caught. What if he was interviewed shortly after the Stine murder, like the next day?

By Bucko (Bucko) (spider-mtc-td033.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 07:06 am:

"What if he was interviewed shortly after the Stine murder, like the next day?"

I have wondered this also. The letter to Belli almost looks like an attempt by Z to lay the groundwork for an insanity defense if he were caught. I've thought the police may have been getting close or even interviewed him between the Stine killing on Oct. 11 and the letter to Belli on Dec. 20. I hate to admit it, because I do not believe Allen was Z, but I think the first interview the police had with him falls in this period.

Perhaps Z was an acquaintance of Stine and was interviewed shortly after the murder.

By Bucko (Bucko) (spider-mtc-td033.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 07:38 am:

"I hate to admit it, because I do not believe Allen was Z, but I think the first interview the police had with him falls in this period."

I should not work from memory....Allen was interviewed on Oct. 6 as Tom indicates. Perhaps Z wasn't interviewed, but felt he made major mistakes the night he killed Stine that would lead to his apprehension...thus the letter. Perhaps Z was another suspect interviwed in the Oct. 11 to Dec. 20 time frame.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-mtc-tc022.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 08:11 am:

IMHO (granted, it's just an opinion), I feel that Zodiac was locked in an institution for a while on unrelated charges, was eventually released on parole, was also a prime suspect in the Z case, and was literally FORCED to lay low because the "blue meanies" in SF and Vallejo were keeping pretty close tabs on him.

We all know who I'm talking about, right? What I'm asking is, does the above scenario work? Does it make sense? Is there "reasonable doubt" to surmise that such a scenario couldn't have occurred? Just curious.


By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) (d141-193-74.home.cgocable.net - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 09:41 am:

I think it could work. If Z was forced to lay low, I think it may have been difficult to restart again. So lets say in the early 80's was the Z supposed to start up again? Like any habit or addiction, once you've gone without it for awhile you think why bother starting again. Especially since the Z legacy had already been established, and you are still on the suspect list. However if this is the case, I'm sure Z still had fantasies about doing it again but the threat of getting caught was too large.

So in his 1974 letters that he didn't take credit for, perhaps there were more of these anonymous letters that just didn't get noticed as Z letters. Perhaps continuing the Z killings/letters was too much of risk but he couldn't help but send a few letters under different names.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-mtc-tc044.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 09:53 am:

Or maybe he was unable to continue his letter writing campaign because he was institutionalized for four years.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (216.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 10:21 am:

Ryan, you might want to take a look at Ted Kaczynski as an example of a killer who could turn it on and off at will. He started his campaign of bombing in 1978 and continued in a more or less steady stream until 1982. His bombs weren't working too well, so he took three years off to perfect his technique. In 1987 he was spotted by an eyewitness and took off until 1993, when he started up with even better bomb designs and a renewed vigor.

When we think of serial killers not being able to stop killing, we're usually thinking of the kind of serial killer who is sexually stimulated by murder and the actions surrounding it. There's no evidence that Zodiac was of this type. His primary motivation appears to have been anger caused by a deep-seated inferiority complex and the need to rationalize his superiority to people whose actions (particularly sexual) tended to diminish his ego.

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) (d141-193-74.home.cgocable.net - on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 11:49 am:

Doug, I have the Unabomber book by John Douglas that I bought years ago. I was just looking at that last night to see how long Kacsynski was able to go without his killing.

Since it is unlikely for killers to just stop, or go for long periods of time without killing, it does provide an interesting connection between Z's break between letters 71-74 and TK's break between bombs 87-93.

By Eduard (Eduard) (i0724.pvu.euronet.nl - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 01:31 am:

Maybe Z. got married ? Maybe his wife didn't want him to go out at nights?

"The Zodiac-Batman Connection"

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (174.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 02:18 am:

Speaking of the break between letters, Ryan, you might be interested to know (if you haven't already seen it somewhere) that during the winter of '74 Kaczynski wrote a letter to his family saying that he would be "out camping," and that they shouldn't worry if they didn't hear from him. Of course he wasn't "out camping," in the middle of a Montana winter. So where was he? Nobody knows, but we do know that he spent the entire winter of '75 in Oakland, California.

I don't perceive Kaczynski (or Zodiac, for that matter) as a classical serial killer for whom the act of killing was sexually stimulating. I see Kaczynski as a mass-murderer who didn't want to commit suicide, and Zodiac's victimology and other actions suggest that that might have been the case with him as well. So while they were both driven by circumstances that made them desire to commit murder, they were by no means addicted to it, as is usually the case with serial killing.

By Mark Coombs (Mark) (25-128-237-24.anc-dial.gci.net - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 02:34 am:

Doug-good point about Zodiac not being the type of serial killer who was sexually stimulated by murder. This would explain why it would be easier to discontinue the killing. Add the sexual excitement element and the killer is most likely going to continue on like Bundy until he's apprehended. The writing would be another story, interesting idea Ryan about him writing anonymous letters in order to at least perform part of the "ritual". I'm sure he got off on sitting down and writing these little "gems" but wouldn't he just HAVE to put in some ever-so-slight clue? I don't know if it would be enough for him.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acb6695f.ipt.aol.com - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 10:32 am:

I've suggested before that Z's crimes might have been motivated by the desire to prove to himself (and the world) that he could commit those crimes and get away with it, and that they were not motivated by anything else. Thus, he could stop suddenly after Stine's murder (almost being apprehended by SFPD certainly would have helped) because he was not compelled to continue to "get his rocks off" or whatever. He'd already proven he could do it, and anything else would have been unnecessary.

By Joe (Joe) (adsl-63-204-74-11.dsl.scrm01.pacbell.net - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 10:47 am:

He may have also stopped because he had been interviewed by police as a suspect and saw the writing on the wall.

By The Fife (Thefife) (host020.bro.capgroup.com - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 11:15 am:


I have been thinking about this ever since this thread was started.

Anyone who has an addiction or gets a kick out of doing something has a hard time stopping. If I get a kick out of whistling I will whistle, and it will be a habit in no time.

I really want to say that Z had to have been satisfied, which is not too far from your point. He didn’t have a thing with the murders that made it hard for him to stop. He killed Stine and the very nature of Stine – the change of his MO from couples to cabbie – is like a swan song. He even announces that his MO is changing.

Do you know to what extent the police really think that Z is linked to more clandestine murders after Stine? I am inclined to think not, and that he shifted to letter writing and keeping his ego afloat.

I still have a nagging feeling that there is some connection between him and his victims and that when he killed Stine, he was finished. He was plain and simply finished, and the killing was over to be replaced by the letter writing.

Tom F

By Zoe Glass (Zoe_Glass) (max2-21.evansinet.com - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 11:34 am:

I would agree that Z needed to prove himself. If he could prove to himself and the world that he was a God, then he need not consider himself insane. God should be feared and Zodiac grew fear that permeates to this day.
I don't think anyone had ever bothered to stop
him, seemingly proving his point.
As we know a society not familiar with it's history is destine to repeat it's mistakes.

By Boojum (Boojum) (42.new-york-08rh15rt-ny.dial-access.att.net - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 03:18 pm:

Santayana was being glib: even those who remember the past are frequently doomed to repeat it.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (spider-ntc-ta032.proxy.aol.com - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 06:13 pm:

Fife, you bring up a very interesting point on whether Z knew his victims. I have often thought there are some connections there that just seem very, well coincidental at the least. You have a heavy Riverside area--Bay area connection. More to the point -- Loma Linda -- this small enclave is literally right next to Riverside to the north,
from L.L. to RCC (North Riverside)is only about a 10 minute drive, in fact most of the L.L. youth that wish to attend a Jr. college go to RCC. CJB is killed at RCC, Shephard is from L.L., they must have been born app. a year apart. Then we have KJ who is driving to Petaluma from her hometown San Bernadino which is directly north of Loma Linda. (How do we know that she was not followed most of the way?) Furthurmore we have Z victim Mageau with family in L.L., there is much talk about Ferrin as the posssible intended victim, but maybe it was really Mageau, (and if he had an inkling that may have explained him wrearing 3 sets of clothes on a hot summer night).
I don't know, I admit I am speculating here but there sure seems to be a connection somehow.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-wf034.proxy.aol.com - on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 07:10 pm:

Tom F. wrote: "when he killed Stine, he was finished. He was plain and simply finished, and the killing was over to be replaced by the letter writing."

You may very well be right, Tom. After all, Z had finally obtained something -- Stine's bloodied shirt -- that he'd "neglected" to get from any other crime scene: hardcore trace evidence. It was also something that he never did again. He probably figured the bloody swatches would give him a green light to taunt the police for quite some time. Z could continue to authenticate his letters, but would no longer have to kill in order to do so. Makes sense to me, especially if his ultimate lust was for attention rather than blood.


By Mark Coombs (Mark) (68-116-237-24.anc-dial.gci.net - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 02:52 am:

Ed N., Tom F., and Scott-I agree, it does look like the Stine murder was his last one-although it had turned out to be riskier than he intended he got what he needed. I think the police were on the scene earlier than he expected, but being armed he was not that vulnerable with the element of surprise. I used to think that he probably was so shaken up by his narrow escape that he decided it was too risky to continue. Now I'm of the opinion that he was quite confident because of his past successes and more than a bit amused by how the police had missed him. And as you have been saying he was already done. Ed, I think you're right, it's really beginning to look to me like he had no intention of getting caught. Since his murders weren't lust-based he could easily move from work "in the field" to the "desk job" and the writing. I think we would've seen more letters with the pieces of Stine's shirt but he was picked up on some other charge, institutionalized or died. Another scenario could've been that he had to lose the rest of the shirt due to the heat being turned up on him.

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) (d141-193-74.home.cgocable.net - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 03:25 am:

If Z really wanted to get caught he could have made the "my name is" cipher very easy so his real name could be revealed. Wiping down the cab, wearing fingertip guards are done by someone who doesn't want to get caught.

By Bruce (Bruce_D) (pm3-02-15.sle.du.teleport.com - on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 02:59 pm:

The 13 character cipher,"Kane my name." The circled 8's with the top of the 8's open is the sign of Taurus. Larry Kane is a Taurus.
Bruce D.

By Sandy (Sandy) (c531918-a.ptbrg1.sfba.home.com - on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 11:17 pm:

The 8's could be just that 8's. The eight letter of the alphabet is DH, the initials on the Riverside desk were R.(H). 3x8=24 part of Kanes B.D., 24th letter in the alphabet is X, something Z use a lot of in his clues. One person I know of as being questioned just after the Stine shooting was Darlene's ex for sure! I read the report,I think they should have looked at him closer. I still think he killed Darlene, R.H. did stine, Kane LB and the Santa Rosa killings. Rh is an Aquarius a water sign. I still believe more than one is involved, the main hit man being Kane. He looks to be the cruelest of the one's I have seen,who I know ,know each other. Pam has also seen more than one.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-10407-2.linkline.com - on Monday, July 16, 2001 - 07:37 pm:

Sandy:It is a temptation to see all the symbols as numeric 8's, but they are the symbol for Taurus and there can be no doubt.

Someone who does not know astrology would be led to accept the more conservative analysis that they are 8's-they are not!

See old posts on this subject.Also, by enclosing the Taurus symbols in a circle it depicts a full moon-enclosing a sign in a circle is a full moon in Taurus here -all three of them.Bates was killed on a full moon in Taurus.FYI

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-55.linkline.com - on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - 02:36 am:

Steve: You ask in your post if Manson the Mastermind was in jail and did this affect Zodiac, etc.Manson left his Group around 10/8/69 to go to L.A.and get food ;something he always had others do.One researcher thought this was highly unusual as Manson would not normally leave his clan when they were under such great pressure at this time.

Manson came back in the evening to meet with his people and he had NO food-only his guitar and a small back pack which the police later found out contained a "death list" of people he wanted killed,etc.What is amazing is that Bruce Davis pulled up in a vehicle the same time Manson got to the cabin! Davis had left the same time as Manson to go to Las Vegas(I always wonder about the underlined lAv on the envelope of the 10/27/70(Davis was released from jail 10/27/69 FYI) Z Halloween card. It's almost like a combo/clue of LV or Las Vegas and L.A.-'s lav es' FYI)and both men just happen to arrive at the same time!

One could fly from Vegas to S.F.and back again. Is this what Davis did? Did Manson fly to S.F.during this same period? It would not be the first time both men met at an airport.Manson was very alibi conscious.

There was a Scientology Center at 414 Geary right near where Zodiac hailed the yellow.Davis used to crash at Scientology Centers. If both men spent the night there after the Stine hit then they could have flown back to their respective airports -LAX and McClaren -at LV, NV.and then made that incredibly timed arrival at the cabin on the evening of the 12th!

Anyway ,the Group along with Manson and Davis, were arrested at 6:30 PM on Oct.12 th.The Zodiac letter to the Chronicle was probably was written 10/12 as Zodiac writes "last night" or the 11th. Manson girls would mail letters for him or Davis so this does not present a problem.Once, Sandra Good tried to get a young man to post some letters that were death threats from S.F. "so they would have S.F. postmarks on them!"You will note that after Mansons' and Davis' arrest on the 12th we get a letter from Z on the 9th of November '69 stating he won't 'announce any more killings', etc. How interesting relative to the Zodiac/Manson connection thesis!Great timing as far as my scenario goes.There was not a single confirmed Zodiac murder after Stine and after Davis and Manson were jailed. Of course, Davis was released on the 27th of October as given,and we get two communications in November 8/9 and one on the 20th of December finding Zodiac -the hardened killer -greatly depressed ,just during the same time the Manson case blew open, etc.Manson never got out of jail as we know, yet murders and letters continued relative to Family activities ;so from all we know, we don't need him to be on the "outside" as it were to mastermind crimes!We also know both gang leaders and Mafia chiefs can and do run their operations (including murders)from jail!

I personally believe that this CHANGE of MO (11/9/69 missive)by Zodiac was based on the fact Manson was jailed so all they got from Z were letters and cards. It was an ingenious way to get out of the old Zodiac kill streaks!

When Davis was arrested on December 2 1970 and placed in L.A. County jail there were no new letters/cards until March 13 1971(Scientology Founder Ron Hubbards b-day-a Manson/ Davis idol)and for the very FIRST time the post mark CHANGES and a Zodiac letter is addressed to Los Angeles, CA right where Davis is now j