Task-Force Developments

Zodiackiller.com Message Board: General Zodiac Discussion: 2002 Zodiackiller.com Task-Force Meeting: Task-Force Developments

By Tom Voigt (Admin) (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Friday, July 19, 2002 - 12:00 am:

A lot of new information was generated at the Task-Force Meeting, including Victor's interesting Melvin Belli encounter.

By VSCANTU (Vscantu) (netcache-1113.public.svc.webtv.net - on Monday, July 15, 2002 - 01:06 am:

OK, here goes:
"ZODIAC VISITS MELVIN BELLI's HOUSE!" This is an incredible, never-before told new story about The Zodiac Killer (writes VICTOR CANTU). Never publicly told, that is, until the famous 2002, 4th Of July "ZODIAC PICNIC". I recounted it to many of the "hardcore" Zodiac enthusiasts at The DAYS INN. Those in attendace included Tom Voigt, Ed Neil, Kendra, "Big Scott", Marcus, Roger, etc.
It's true that the legendary attorney Melvin Belli was paid a visit by none other than the notorious Zodiac Killer himself! That's right, The Zodiac, that crazy lust-murderer, personally came & "hung out" at Melvin Belli's house during his reign of murder.
Oops, it's after midnight on Sunday night & I have some extremely important work-related tasks to perform right now. But I am looking forward to presenting the rest of this story in all its fascinating detail later...
See you soon;


By VSCANTU (Vscantu) (netcache-1113.public.svc.webtv.net - on Tuesday, July 16, 2002 - 09:07 pm:

VICTOR here; Sorry I haven't been able to finish my "ZODIAC visits MELVIN BELLI's HOUSE" account. I was personally told this account by MELVIN BELLI himself around 1990. I have been extremely busy with an important new job lately, and so haven't had time to properly tell it. I want to recount this true tale in all its respectable detail. I will do so within the next few days for all to hear. I'm sure you'll love it. Yours Truly, VICTOR

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-10407-2.linkline.com - on Thursday, July 18, 2002 - 03:04 pm:

July Fourth I spoke with Leo Suennen,Darlene Ferrins brother.Also, I interviewed a former room mate of Cecilia Shepard.
Leo told me that he does not remember any middle age'mysterious stranger' at the so called painting party.He said that some were relatives and others he knew as aquaintances.He did say that Buzz Gordon dropped by later in the evening, but he left after a short time.
He was with a friend sometime after the attack at BRS and his friend told him that he and another buddy were on the hilltop near the park and heard the series of shots 7/5/69!I was able to take some photos of Leo at the site.He was very cooperative.He wanted an icecream so we caught the goodhumor mans truck!
CASs former roommate(I will withhold her name as she did not give me permission to use it-
I failed to ask)told me that she and CAS went to Newport Beach,CA, at least a "dozen times."This surprised me as I have been trying to place CJB(which I did,including Joseph Bates)and CAS there.My guy used to hang out there during the same period they were there.
I kept questioning her about NB as it really did startle me-it took a long time to hear that info.
Ed has already posted(see his post in this regard) on the military/shoe salesman the roommate spoke of in connection with CAS and her dating him once,etc.
After I carefully questioned her she admitted that it was the salesman that sold CAS some boots,that told CAS he was in the military.So we only have his statement to CAS to go on.
He may have just been a salesman and wanted to spice up his background a bit.He may have worked on a base and that is another possibility or he really was a serviceman earning extra money moonlighting.This person did take CAS to the Mikado in L.A.He worked in a mall in San Bernardino,CA at the time.He is a mystery and should be looked at, at least to ID him, if at all possible.
The roommate said she and CAS loved the Mikado and listened to records with songs from that play.The strangers offer of free tickets to the Mikado appealed to CAS and she went to the play with him.This was kept secret from her parents.
The roommate saw the man and his car but cannot remember what he or the car looked like-of course!Zurphys Law is ever present.Davis' Law says,though, ol'Murph'was an optimist!She is willing to be hypnotized.Det.Baker is my choice.

By VSCANTU (Vscantu) (netcache-2002.public.lawson.webtv.net - on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 10:27 pm:

PART I. Sept. 10, 2002: VICTOR CANTU here...OK, here goes the "ZODIAC visits MELVIN BELI's house" story again.
For the record, I already posted virtually this same account in it's entirety on this same site last July, 2002. But as far as I can tell, it was accidently deleted when Tom (bless his heart) tried to re-post it under a new thread which he had created especially for this tale. It was the "Task Force Developments" thread you are now reading. I thank Tom for all his hard work on the great ZODIACKILLER.COM web site, and give him kudos for creating this thread in the first place.
This is the true, publicly untold story of how The Zodiac actually visited MELVIN BELI's house during his (Z's) reign of terrror. It has never been published before. It was told to me by Melvin Beli himself, back in approximately 1991. Here are the circumstances:
Back in 1991, I happened to be listening to an AM radio talk show that was having none other than the famous attorney Melvin Beli as the guest. You see, I was living in northern California, and he had recently been hired as the main attorney in a major class-action lawsuit in the area. (It was the DUNSMUIR CHEMICAL SPILL case. It resulted from a train filled with toxic chemicals that derailed & spilled its contents into the river below it.) Anyway, he was in the area, and was going to be a guest on this Northern California radio show. I don't remember the station, as it was 11 years ago. He was going to talk & take questions. That is how I got to talk with him personally. I called the show & was put on the air. Among other things, I asked him about his involvement in the infamous 'Zodiac' case. I had read the book "ZODIAC" and thus knew something about his interactions with The Zodiac.
He suprised me by telling me (and the listening audience) that The Zodiac had actually visited his house! end of Part I.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acc04ad1.ipt.aol.com - on Wednesday, September 11, 2002 - 10:11 am:

Victor: I hope you're not going to leave us hanging for another two months...

By VSCANTU (Vscantu) (netcache-2002.public.lawson.webtv.net - on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 12:01 am:

ED: I won't "leave you hanging for two months". If you read my post above, you know that I already posted the entire "Zodiac Visits Melvin Beli" story here in its complete form 2 months ago.

By VSCANTU (Vscantu) (netcache-2002.public.lawson.webtv.net - on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 12:59 am:

PART 2: Melvin was very enthusiastic when he talked to me. He told me that not only was he familiar with The Zodiac, but that this infamous killer had actually paid a visit to his own house! He stated that one day, during The Zodiac's reign of terror, he received a personal visit from THE ZODIAC himself! Here's how it went:
THE ZODIAC came calling at Melvin Beli's door one day. Melvin himself was away on business. His housekeeper answered the door to find a very disheveled man there, asking for Melvin. This man looked extremely depressed, hungry and 'out of it'. However, he didn't say who he was. When the housekeeper told him that Melvin was gone, she felt sorry for him & asked him if he would like something to eat. He said 'yes', and so she asked him in and gave him a meal from leftoveres that she had in Melvin's refridgerator. Melvin told me (and the radio audience) that he was POSITIVE that this man was THE ZODIAC by the description that his housekeeper gave him and also by the questions that he asked. I cannot tell you exactly what questions THE ZODIAC asked or what he looked like on that day. There was not enough time on the radio show then. But I can tell you it's all completely true. I will also follow up with what Melvin told me that day about his adventure in the legendary STAR TREK episode (from the Original Series) that he was filmed in. The episode was called "AND THE CHILDREN SHALL LEAD".
I hope that this story can be researched & more thoroughly documented by persons who are capable of doing so. I know that it was never mentioned before. Not even in Robert Graysmith's "Zodiac" books. But perhaps contacting Melvin's loved ones, housekeeper or close associates will help to confirm this tale. It will make a valuable addition to the ZODIAC saga.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 01:03 am:

Victor, Belli's son, Melvin Caesar Belli, is practicing law in San Francisco. Maybe you could contact him.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-17-116.bos.east.verizon.net - on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 06:32 am:

Belli knew from his housekeeper's description of his appearance that he was Z.

Didn't have time to tell you what about the appearance and questions Z asked that nailed his identity. Had time to describe the meal down to the leftovers, and went on to talk about his Star Trek gig. And just didn't happen to mention how he knew it was Z.

This was all broadcast live and presumably recorded.


By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-138.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 07:41 am:

Obviously Peter,he was still wearing part of his LB costume and his wig was all to one side.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (133.philadelphia-18-19rs.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 10:14 am:

He said he would abduct a woman by loosening the lug nuts on her car and call himself the Zodiac. Just because.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-20-238.bos.east.verizon.net - on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 10:42 am:

Come on, Victor, before this whole thread gets dumped because we're not taking you seriously: how about some names, dates and places? The radio station, the date of the broadcast, the name of the show. One other living person who heard it, anything. Melvin Caesar Belli has discussed the subject generally of his father's contact with Z, and never mentioned the visit. Certain people think Belli was not credible about his accounts.

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) (24.sanfrancisco-12rh16rt-ca.dial-access.att.net - on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 01:21 pm:

Belli was the very definition of a showboating lawyer. He would say and do anything that would keep him in the limelight.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-19105.linkline.com - on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 09:09 pm:

If Zodiac and this is an old story (one mention of the supposed Z visit with the housekeeper was in Zodiac page 127 hardcover),did visit in Bellis' home then he would have been smart enough -as well as the police,to have the areas where Zodiac sat and ate finger zandwitches fingerprinted,etc.Well,on second thought...!
Also,this would have to mean Belli was basing his ID of the house zuest with the composite.

By VSCANTU (Vscantu) (netcache-2002.public.lawson.webtv.net - on Saturday, September 21, 2002 - 02:53 pm:

VICTOR here...Sorry to dissapoint you guys, but the story I recounted is totally TRUE.
1) PETER: Read my post again, please. Part I states clearly that my brief question & answer session with Melvin Belli took place a full 11 YEARS ago. I will not tell you the name of the exact AM radio station that it was on because "you would be nasty enough to trace it back to the developer, and then to me." No, actually the truth is that I don't remember the exact station. I can tell you that I heard it in Chico, CA. Likewise with the exact date. You ask for the name of another person who heard the broadcast? I can't give that for this reason: I was alone when I made the call to the radio show. I was, in fact riding my bicycle listening to my "Walkman"-type radio with headphones on. I love talk-radio and did this often. When I heard that the famous lawyer Melvin Belli would be going on the air to take any questions from the audience I pulled over to the nearest phone booth & made the call....Also I don't know where you got the idea that this radio show with Mr. Belli was recorded. Did you make that up yourself?? It certainly didn't come from me. And yes, Belli DID "happen to mention how he knew it was Z". Again, read my original post (Part I). He told me that he was SURE that this person who visited his house was The Zodiac based on the physical description that his housekeeper gave him, and also the types of questions that Zodiac asked. Did I ask him what color shoes The Zodiac was wearing? No. Did I ask him what his hairstyle was like? No. Did I ask him exactly which questions The Zodiac asked of his housekeeper? Sorry. Didn't happen, pal. I CAN tell you that I led up to "The Zodiac" subject then by asking him about his STAR TREK appearence in the Original Series episode called "AND THE CHILDREN SHALL LEAD". I have always been fascinated with STAR TREK & wanted to know Mr. Belli's side of it. This took up a good amount of my very short time with him. So no, PETER, after recounting his ZODIAC story Mr. Belli didn't frivolously go "on to tell about his Star Trek gig." as you write. I had Belli start off our conversation with said Star Trek tale. It was in itself very entertaining & amusing. NOTE TO PETER: If my story is ever verified by another source, I would like a HUGE, sincere apology for your belligerance. That is, IF YOU HAVE ANY INTEGRITY. 2) DOUGLAS OSWELL: I didn't expect anything better from you. 3) HOWARD: Good observation on the fingerprint question. However, we do not know how long it was before Melvin Belli returned home. It may have been days. Further, we are not sure if he ever contacted police regarding this encounter. I suppose the records would have been dug up if he had. I certainly didn't ask Mr. Belli at the time. There are lots of questions I wish I had asked him at that time. But I was only one "call-in" person on the show during that time slot. This was not a planned "exclusive", well-thought out interview with "THE LAWYER WHO THE ZODIAC KILLER WROTE TO"! 4) ALAN: You're right, Melvin Belli was an extreme show-off. He was a flashy publicity-hound. But I have a hard time believing that he would so brazenly make up a story like this in front of a public radio audience. Also, you must remember that at this time, in 1991 nobody much cared about the Zodiac case anymore. So the theory that he made this all up "to get publicity" is very remote. We "Zodiac-philes" today in 2002 are STILL considered a "freak" bunch. Tho still getting more popular.
IN CLOSING, I hope that someone will take the time to look into this story in detail. Maybe ask aquaintances of MELVIN BELLI or AM radio stations that broadcast in the Chico, CA area in 1991. I can tell you that there are only 2 or 3 here. The main one here is KPAY 1290. Or it may have been the other big one nearby from SACRAMENTO, CA: KRCR 1530.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-19105.linkline.com - on Saturday, September 21, 2002 - 06:32 pm:

I can't imagine why you were attacked-on this Board?Never!We should never do this as it could discourage others from posting some possbily good material and it's just plain disrespectful. Welcome to the 'USA where hamburgers and good manners sizzle on an open grill night and day!'
The story is very interesting to be sure.Belli has mentioned it more than once in public and in print.
We don't know if there was proper follow up.It would be a good project.The housekeepr could still be alive.

By VSCANTU (Vscantu) (netcache-2002.public.lawson.webtv.net - on Sunday, September 22, 2002 - 07:48 am:

RIGHT ON, HOWARD! I totally agree. (Surprise, surprise.) I didn't realize that Graysmith mentioned this ZODIAC encounter in his "ZODIAC" hardback edition on page 127. I'll have to check my copy, as I have one of the few hardback copies left (it's in my storage). Let us not belittle those who wish to come forward with what could be vital information in The Zodiac saga. Sure, if it is proven to be false info, then that's a different story. But to jump all over someone for sharing some fascinating, real-life 'Z' encounters with ZODIACKILLER.COM's readers is not a good response at all. I know it must seem unbelievable to many of you out there, but why jump down someone's throat for recounting a real-life incident that happened to them which is valuable to the "Zodiac" story?? Unless you have nothing better to do....
And thanks to TOM VOIGT for (among other things) his suggestion: I will try to make inquiries to Belli's son MELVIN CAESAR BELLI. That was very constructive advice. This should be interesting.....

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-15.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Sunday, September 22, 2002 - 08:05 am:

I don't see any "attack" on Victor here!.When Victor begun this story over a month ago he wrote "I look forward to presenting the rest of this story in all its fascinating detail".
What was perhaps expressed was a frustration in the lenght of time he took to tell his story and lack of "fascinating detail".
The skeptism goes more to Belli's claims rather than Victor's account of things.
Unfortunately,we are none the wiser on that score.Your'e right though, the housekeeper,if still alive could clear up a lot of things ,including that "alleged" phone call.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-15.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Sunday, September 22, 2002 - 08:11 am:

Oops!,that's "skepticism".

By VSCANTU (Vscantu) (netcache-2002.public.lawson.webtv.net - on Sunday, September 22, 2002 - 10:31 pm:

VICTOR here: LAPUMO: Once again, READ MY POST! For the 3rd time on this 'thread': I posted the entire story in mid-July, soon after I said I would. So it didn't take Victor a huge "length of time to post his story", as you write. I'm not sure exactly why it was originally deleted or lost in the first place. But believe me, I did more than my part 2 months ago back in July, and once again here in September, toward being inspired to write it, composing it & taking the time out to post this 'Zodiac' chapter in good faith. Now I am wondering if sharing my memories & ideas with this audience is such a good idea.
As for giving the audience more detail, such as the name of the radio station, EXACT month, time, date and day of the week of the radio broadcast 11 years ago, as well as a description of The Zodiac when he visited Melvin Belli's house, etc: To write such information would be a lie on my part. I would love to be even more specific with what happened in reality that day back in '91. Unfortunately for you Zodiac hounds (and me included), I don't have it. MY ADVICE to all the Complainers: Please stop whining & bitching about this true account and research it. You may be surprised & do a total about-face when you find that The Zodiac did in fact visit Melvin Belli's house. See you later.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-225.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Monday, September 23, 2002 - 04:28 am:

READ MY POST!,I'm not attacking you.I did not see your original post,probably because it was deleted before I and others got a chance to read it.
When you originally wrote about presenting "all the fascinating detail" we could have been forgiven for thinking that the reasons Belli thought what he did,would be included.Its not your fault that you do not have that detail.I,for one,appreciate you sharing this story with us.I do
not doubt your side of things.I do however,have reservations about Belli's claims.That has nothing to do with you.

By Gregusjay (Gregusjay) (12-234-233-242.client.attbi.com - on Monday, September 23, 2002 - 08:26 pm:

Nice Story Victor...I guess what everyone is really looking for in this thread was a better
confirmation of the visitor as Zodiac. As I e-mailed Tom awhile back, I used to work for an Attorney's office on the 900 block of Montgomery..sometime around 1995 one of our attorneys went to work for the Belli Law firm. At that time, (and currently, I believe) the Belli firm was/is on Hotaling Place. Hotaling Place is an alley behind the original Belli building on Montgomery street. I used to walk Ms. Becerrel's (she later became a SF Supervisor) mail to Belli's office. Unfortunately around this time, Melvin had just died or was severely ailing. There was a bitter dispute over his estate involving his son and then ex-wife. Because of the turmoil in Belli's life from the late 80s to his death, I'm afraid it'd be tough to research or follow-up on this story. His estate ended up in Bankruptcy court. However, there is a blurb in a link I found re: Melvin' contact/non contact with Z. The disconcerting news in this blurb was that Belli once introduced a visiting African "dignitary" from an obscure african nation to the audience at the opening of the SF Opera. This "dignitary " later turned out to be Belli's janitor. Belli later had to admit to the farce after he and the dignitary were "busted" listening to the Giant's game at intermission...

here's the link...


By Ed N (Ed_N) (ac9b3dfa.ipt.aol.com - on Monday, September 23, 2002 - 08:44 pm:

Looks like Gregusjay beat me to posting it: Kendra recently found the same story in Heart of the City Archives, dated 11-8-01. Among other things, Melvin Caesar Belli speaks of his and his father's appearance on Star Trek, but pay special attention to the preantepenultimate (ie, fourth from last, and yes, there is such a word!) paragraph where he speaks about Z and our very own Ray!

By Ed N (Ed_N) (ac9b3dfa.ipt.aol.com - on Monday, September 23, 2002 - 08:52 pm:

Victor: the thing that gets me is that Belli was

... POSITIVE that this man was THE ZODIAC by the description that his housekeeper gave him and also by the questions that he asked.

I'm not sure I could be absolutely positive about an identification based on someone else's inexpert observations. I don't doubt that Belli believed the guy was Z, but... was he really?

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) ( on Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 12:10 pm:

Jesus, Ed, that "preantepenultimate" usage made me spit beer out my nose.

Luckily, it was only Bud.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-24.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 03:00 pm:

Bet your drug dealer is happy!

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) (234.sanfrancisco-12rh16rt-ca.dial-access.att.net - on Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 04:52 pm:

Luckily, Budweiser is still legal.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acbee12d.ipt.aol.com - on Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 11:23 pm:

Alan: Sorry about that. It's a good thing it wasn't Gulden Draak though, or it might be considered alcohol abuse by some.

I never thought I'd have a chance to use "preantepenultimate" on this board (twice!)... guess I lucked out.