New Zodiac Suspect William Mentzer Message Board: Other Suspects: New Zodiac Suspect William Mentzer

By Robert SF ( - on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 07:59 am:

Here's an article describing a suspect unearthed via a NY Post investigation:

(I came across this after hearing a blurb about a new Zodiac suspect on a local SF news show this morning).

I sense that this is a weak case (e.g. two dozen links between Mentzer and Zodiac), but it would be instructional for the experts on this board to publicly dissect the information presented in the article.

By Tom_Voigt ( - on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 03:59 pm:

Here's the text version of the New York Post story:



September 29, 2003 -- The notorious San Francisco Zodiac Killer, who mysteriously dropped out of sight almost 30 years ago after a bloody reign of terror that left five dead, may have been "hiding" in plain sight - locked away in prison for two unrelated murders.
A Post investigation unearthed "compelling" links between 54-year-old killer William Mentzer - who's serving life without the possibility of parole - and the police profile of the Zodiac Killer, the San Francisco District Attorney's Office says.

The dramatic new information has been turned over to the San Francisco Police Department, which for 35 years has searched for the fiendish killer.

"There appear to be some compelling parallels here," said Mark MacNamara, the public-information officer for the San Francisco DA. "We have given the information to the police inspectors for their review."

The Post developed the information after more than 20 hours of interviews with Mentzer at the California state prison in Lancaster.

The Post discovered two dozen links between Mentzer, who is from Los Angeles, and the Zodiac Killer.

For example:

* Investigators say the Zodiac had military training. Mentzer served in the Marines during the Vietnam War and claims 10 kills.

* The Zodiac's murders began in December 1968, shortly after Mentzer returned to California from Vietnam.

* In September 1969, the Zodiac stabbed two of his victims with a bayonet-like knife carried in a handmade sheath fastened with rivets. Mentzer said he had a job making rivets at an aerospace company around CB>the same time of the attack. He also said he carried a bayonet in Vietnam.

* The Zodiac wrote letters to the media taunting the police. Mentzer said, "It was fun to f- - - with them."

* In the letters, the Zodiac drew a diagram of a bomb and threatened to blow up a school bus. Mentzer, who once had a job driving a bus, told The Post he had military training in demolition and kept plastic explosives.

* A survivor of a Zodiac attack said the killer spoke in a slow, monotone with a slight drawl. Mentzer has the same speech pattern.

The Zodiac randomly killed five people and severely wounded two others during his spree, which began in the Bay Area in the late '60s, police said.

But in letters and cryptograms sent to the San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times, the Zodiac boasted that he had committed more than 30 other murders.

He congratulated police for uncovering a 1966 murder in Riverside, Calif., about 45 miles east of L.A. But the Zodiac ominously said, "There are a hell of a lot more down there."

He also threatened to "pick off" children as they came bounding out of their school bus.

The psychotic killer mysteriously dropped out of sight in 1974, after a final letter to the press.

Mentzer is serving a life sentence for the savage L.A. murders of New York theatrical producer Roy Radin in 1983 and of prostitute June Mincher in 1984.

Radin was shot more than 20 times in the head. Mentzer then put a small stick of dynamite in Radin's mouth, lit it and blew off his face.

When Mentzer was asked if he shot Mincher seven times in the head, he told The Post, "No, I think it was eight."

One week after the initial interviews, The Post confronted Mentzer with the information linking him to the Zodiac Killer.

"I am not the Zodiac," he fumed. "I am not some crazed killer, but I think I know who he is."

Mentzer said he met the Zodiac while they were incarcerated at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi in the early '90s. He described the Zodiac as a 240-pound black man. Police say the Zodiac is white.

After Mentzer was handed the Zodiac links, he began to read the document as his forearms pulsated. He spent about 15 minutes reviewing the information accusing him of being the Zodiac Killer, and made five minor corrections and one significant change.

Mentzer noted that in 1966, he was based at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif., which is near Riverside.

The Riverside killing mentioned in the Zodiac letter took place a few months before Mentzer left for Vietnam. There were no reported Zodiac murders until Mentzer returned to California about two years later.

By Allen Partisans Project ( on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 08:23 am:

Just found this on the web. I wonder if somebody from the Post read Maury Terry? This is very much along the lines of the Son of Sam/Manson/Zodiac conspiracy theories.

Killer jailed for murder of impresario Roy Radin, who was suspected of being the head of the Son of Sam cult. Mentzer was an associate of Charles Manson and also implicated in the killing of Arliss Perry, a devout Christian slain in North Dakota. Mentzer is suspected as being the person identified by David Berkovita, the man convicted of the Son of Sam slayings, as Manson II. Los Angeles Police openly acknowledged Mentzer's membership in "some kind of hit squad". The Process Church of the Final Judgement has been associated with both the Manson and Sam slayings, and has been said by some commentators to be the operation running such a hit squad.
Source: The Giant Book of Conspiracies by Jonathan Vankin and John Whelan

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) ( - on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 09:02 am:

This story looks pretty shaky. I read it this morning. The reporter had been calling me back in June digging for info on the Process. He's obviously deeply into Maury Terry's Grand Unified Satanic Conspiracy hogwash. Mentzer as Zodiac would be a neat trick for that crowd.

I believe Arliss Perry was killed in Palo Alto, BTW. She was from North Dakota, and it does look like the Son Of Sam crowd (yes, it was a crowd) did her in.

By Warren (Warren) ( - on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 12:49 pm:

Weak. No Pulitzer there.

By Allen Partisans Project ( on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 01:36 pm:

Yeah, I also like how he pulls the Susan Smith race card out with the "some black guy did it" defense. Seems like a swell fellow, even if he isn't Zodiac. He does have a weird "half-paralyzed" face look, though. I wonder if that was how he became a "suspect"?

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 02:46 pm:

Just like I posted in the past.The Zodiac case is like the Ripper case and that there will be no lacking of suspects as time goes on.
The MORE people that are examined the more similarities they will find that 'parallel'the Zodiac.
I researched WM some years ago.He was considered "Manson II" and he supposedly knew Manson.He's a real bad guy,but I just couldn't see him as Zodiac.I hope the detectives folow up.
ALL suspects MUST be investigated.This is the only professional way to go.

By Joe Blackwell ( on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 05:17 pm:

Man he was only 16 when he killed Cheri Jo Bates!

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) ( on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 05:22 pm:

Joe, he was 16 when CJB was killed. :)
My 2 cents is that its an interesting story, but I'll get exciting when they make some solid connections.

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) ( - on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 09:14 pm:

Here's an edited image of Mentzer compared to the 1969 poster.

Mentzer in 69?

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) ( - on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 11:09 pm:

This story was just featured on Oakland's KTVU Channel 2.
S.F.P.D says they are taking this information seriously.
I find Mentzer's comment that he met Z in jail and is a 240 pound BLACK man interesting.
It sounds taunting to me and in reference to the S.F.P.D Paul Stine murder dispatching mistake.

I am not an expert on the Son of Sam murders but didn't they stop after Berkowitz was arrested?
That doesn't make a good case for group involvement, but ya never know!

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) ( - on Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - 07:07 am:

KTVU ran the story again this morning.
At first glance, Mentzer seems too young, too skinny and too stupid to be Z; although SFPD Is taking this seriously.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - 10:58 am:

WM was 16 in '66 and when we closely examine the'66 Confession and all of the details surrounding the crime,we could come to the conclusion the perp was an older man.Still,I hope they follow through with this guy.It may be he knows something about certain people that may be of interest.These kinds of people know the underworld types and can sometimes have information that aids the police in their investigation.
We all should have one goal only and that is to uncover the real Zodiac.

By Ann (Ann) ( - on Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - 09:23 pm:

My question having to do with his having been 16 years of age in 1966 is this: He was sent off to Vietnam at the age of 16?

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) ( - on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 06:28 am:

Update on KTVU this morning.
Mentzer has now been placed in isolation(PC)
in his Lancaster prison.

By Wendi (Wendi) ( - on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 12:44 pm:

I keep missing the T.V reports!

By Mike J. Doe ( - on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 08:23 pm:

Man i havn't posted in here in ages.
Sounds like an interesting situation, but I'd like to hear from Tom Voigt.

By Ann (Ann) ( - on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 10:01 pm:

Stated in the article:
"homicide investigators said Monday that they had discarded physical evidence presented to them."

Why would they do that? Does that mean they're not even going to look at the evidence? That doesn't make sense to me. If someone walks in with a list of similarities and literally hands you physical evidence, you wouldn't check it?

By Oddball (Oddball) ( - on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 02:57 am:

Ah, William Mentzer pops up again...
Extremely dangerous man in his day, but I just don't see him as a serious Zodiac suspect.

By Oddball (Oddball) ( - on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 03:07 am:

Ryan: Congrats on digging up that photo of Mentzer. To be wearing a prison uniform, he looks rather jovial.

By Oddball (Oddball) ( - on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 03:22 am: excitement got the better of me before I clicked on the Post link. THERE'S the source for that pic!
Anyhow, I'd imagine that an interview with Mentzer would be interesting if the man could actually tell the truth. Not interesting in relation to Zodiac, but to other weird and wacky stuff going on in California in the late sixties.

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) ( - on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 04:36 am:

The likelihood of Mentzer telling the truth about anything is approximately equal to the likelihood of Donald Rumsfeld putting on a uniform and entering a combat zone.

By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) ( - on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 06:16 am:

The must have put him in PC because of all the attention he's getting.

At first it was reported in San Francisco that authorities were taking this seriously. I'm sure after closer look it's all flimsy circumstantial evidence.
It never hurts TV news ratings to mention ZODIAC around here.

By Oddball (Oddball) ( - on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 09:59 am:

It was my understanding that Mentzer was on death row. When was his sentence commuted?

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 10:24 am:

Well I was glad to read that Kelly Caroll didn't jump on this one. Mentzer couldn't spell consternation let alone know what it ment. That could be the test for all the so called suspects,it would save a lot of time!

By Tom_Voigt ( - on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 01:28 pm:

I can't bring myself to waste time on this at the moment, so here's my abbreviated opinion: I think O.J. makes a better Zodiac suspect than this chump.

By the way Ann, I seriously doubt SFPD blew off this suspect. Whatever evidence they were sent was probably "discarded" because it was of no use.

By Mike J. Doe ( - on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 05:35 pm:

Well if they discarded it because there was no use to it, then that's fine. But if they automatically say he's not Zodiac and lets move on then something weird is going on. While I doubt he's the Zodiac much like other suspects i've read about, I hate saying "it's a waste of time to think about this guy as a suspect" because it leads to nowhere even after 30 years.

Just a thought.

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) ( - on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 06:29 pm:

I'm really comfortable saying that this is Jamie Schram's invention, his bid for the Big Time. You have no idea how nuts people get in this town to get published. Me, it was an accident, and I don't care. Some of these people came here to be Published Writers. They hate Stephen King and they "network."

I love Stephen King. And when I've got nothing to say, I say nothing.

By Tom_Voigt ( - on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 12:00 am:

Here's the text-only version of the recent San Francisco Examiner story on Mentzer:

SFPD dismisses claims on Zodiac killer's ID

Alison Soltau
Examiner Staff
Wednesday, October 1, 2003

The identity of the notorious Zodiac killer remains as elusive as ever after the San Francisco Police Department dismissed evidence provided by a New York tabloid implicating a California prisoner.

The New York Post two months ago presented the San Francisco District Attorney's office with a dossier on William Mentzer, 54, a convicted murderer serving a stretch at a state prison in Lancaster.

The Zodiac has been a morbid fascination in the public's imagination since he killed five people and wounded two others around the Bay Area in the late 1960s.

The killer, who shot strangers in their cars and threatened to blow up children on a school bus, led police on a fruitless chase with a series of cryptic letters sent to San Francisco newspapers and phone calls to the department detailing his crimes.

Despite initial startling parallels between events in Mentzer's life and the serial killer's cold-blooded spree, homicide investigators said Monday that they had discarded physical evidence presented to them.

"It's a non starter," San Francisco Police Homicide Inspector Kelly Carroll said.

"There does not seem to be, on the face of it, any compelling evidence; the physical evidence has been discounted to this point in terms of making a connection," he added. "It appears not to support any reasonable suspicion of probable cause that the suspect is our Zodiac."

Carroll declined to elaborate on the nature of the physical evidence but said that the circumstantial evidence provided by The Post was no more compelling than the hundreds of dud leads offered to police throughout the past 35 years.

The Post claimed to have unearthed around 24 similarities between Mentzer and the presumed background of the Zodiac.

These included both sharing a military background and Mentzer living in California at the time of the killings.

In September 1969, the Zodiac stabbed two victims with a bayonet-like knife contained in a sheaf fastened with rivets, and the Post pointed out that Mentzer was making rivets at an aerospace company around the time of the attacks.

The Zodiac claimed responsibility for a 1966 Riverside killing and The Post points out that the killing took place before Mentzer left for Vietnam.

The Zodiac did not commit any further murders until Mentzer returned to California two years later.

In taunting letters to police at the time of the killings, the Zodiac threatened to blow up a school bus.

Mentzer had a job driving the bus and experience working with demolition and plastic explosives, The Post said.

According to the newspaper, a survivor of a Zodiac attack described his speech pattern as a "slow monotone with a slight drawl."

The newspaper claims Mentzer has a similar speech pattern.

Mentzer himself has remained an enigma, initially strenuously denying the charge, and pointing the newspaper to another potential suspect, then making corrections to a document drawing links between himself and California's famed killer.

But Carroll said that over the years police had received thousands of tip-offs of potential suspects with backgrounds in the military and training with explosives.

"Many of them were very unsavory characters capable of committing heinous crimes, but there's a big difference between a very bad guy and the actual bad guy that did those terrible crimes," he said.

Carroll added that many tips about possible suspects have included "interesting circumstances in their background, like a background in the military, familiarity with code breaking ... but they don't come close to reaching the level of probable cause."

By Nick (Nick) ( on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 02:32 am:

Hahahaha.....5 minutes of fame, no more. NY is the great wannabee wasteland. Mask of the great deciever.

By Spencer (Spencer) ( - on Saturday, October 04, 2003 - 11:41 am:

Tom Voigt wrote:
"I think O.J. makes a better Zodiac suspect than this chump."

Isn't O.J. a 240 lbs. black man?


By Tom_Voigt ( - on Saturday, October 04, 2003 - 12:48 pm:

Spencer, haven't you seen O.J. lately? He's up to at least 300 pounds. (It must be from all the stress of searching for Nicole's killer...)

Anyway, Mentzer has essentially guaranteed himself a lifetime of prison rapes by becoming the focus of so much attention and by claiming Zodiac was a black man. What a fool.

By Oddball (Oddball) ( - on Saturday, October 04, 2003 - 01:34 pm:

Just desserts for this evil SOB.

By valentine smith ( - on Saturday, October 04, 2003 - 05:22 pm:

And here I show up to the party a couple days late. I forget that some of you ALSO live in NY, and may even read The Post.

Isn't it just a BIT sad that the instant I read the story, my first thoughts were, "hmmm...wonder what Mr. Voight thinks about all this?"

Alan, you ARE in NY? Not in a submarine somewhere?

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) ( - on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 05:13 pm:

I'm in NYC today, and most of the time. Submarines are out, too claustrophobic for this boy, but I have spent some quality time on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

The NY Post is a classic tabloid. Their very best headline ever was "Headless Body Found In Topless Bar." I enjoy the lack of pretense, but the best American newspapers are the San Jose Mercury News and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Schram is fishing, and piping Maury Terry.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) ( - on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 05:39 pm:

In your photo comparison with the wanted photo, it does look like he has the same droopy left eyelid, and the hairline along the forehead looks similar.

I wonder if there was any way to know if the riveted knife sheath was home-made or not. The costume was home-made. Maybe Mentzer made it for the Zodiac if he really wasn't him.

They should do a DNA/fingerprint comparison just to be sure.

By Tom_Voigt ( - on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 05:58 pm:

Bookworm, exactly who got close enough to Zodiac to see if he had a "droopy left eyelid", the teens from 60 feet away, or the SFPD officer who only saw Zodiac's profile in the dark?

If Mentzer has a hairline similar to Zodiac's from 1969, that's a very good reason he was not the Zodiac.

By Bill Grolz ( - on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 07:39 pm:

What is the physical evidence the SFPD used to eliminate Metzger?

By Tom_Voigt ( - on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 09:12 pm:

His name is Mentzer and that information hasn't been released.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 10:37 pm:

Don't forget his gold inlay!His dentists'name hasn't been released either.

By jonathan ( - on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 09:54 am:

hey Tom, will we gonna have a true document about this new suspect or not?? you know a document like the ones you did for others Zodiac suspect Rick Marshall, Lawrence Kane or Ted Kaczinsky. i hope you will because this new suspect look a strange and very dangerous man, like all the others Z suspects!!! Mentzer is just another possible suspect, and even if many facts put him in the list of suspect, i don't think this man is The Zodiac. im maybe right, maybe wrong but i dont know, something is not very clear. i hope we gonna have a report on him Tom, because who know??? that's maybe the one and only mr. Z.

By Tom_Voigt ( - on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 02:00 pm:

Jonathan, I have no reports on Mentzer. Besides, something tells me his best qualifications to be the Zodiac were already listed by the N.Y. Post...and they aren't too impressive.

By jonathan ( - on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 01:47 pm:

A survivor of a Zodiac attack said the killer spoke in a slow, monotone with a slight drawl. Mentzer has the same speech pattern.

that's the most stupid thing of the article. who said that??? miss kathleen johns??? sorry but this "critical" information is nothing but a bunch of crap. that's not enough to said that mentzer did the killings good god!! and you are right Tom, the proofs agains him are not very impressive...i think these facts proove anything but that some peoples have time to loose.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) ( - on Friday, October 10, 2003 - 10:54 pm:

Bill Beeman had a more impressive claim for his brother Jack being Z, with some 100+ points of similarity... Jamie Schram better start digging for more...

By ( - on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 05:15 pm:


I don't think the guy did it either. Seems like he is a sicker killer than the zodiac. Putting a stick of dynamite in someone's mouth to blow their head off after shooting them. I don't think there is any logic in that. Not that the zodiac was a great killer, don't get me wrong. I just think that he would have been smarter than that.

Plus, I don't think the Zodiac would be as young as 54 or whatever that guys age is. He would probably be late 60's or more.

By ( - on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 05:17 pm:

Bill Beeman had a more impressive claim for his brother Jack being Z, with some 100+ points of similarity... Jamie Schram better start digging for more...


By Tom_Voigt ( - on Monday, October 20, 2003 - 01:52 am:

Here's a link to video of a story on Mentzer from San Francisco's KRON.

By Glauce ( - on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 05:47 am:

>He described the Zodiac as a 240-pound black man.

Hahahaha, priceless! :D I wonder if that Zodiac of his spoke gangsta, too? "Yo, waddup, dawgs, diz be da Zodiac chillin', here wid my new phaaat & stupid rap!"

The "article" (calling it a real article would be INSULTING articles) is a piece of trash written by a talentless halfwit of a hack - in other words, typical "investigative report" for a gutter rag like the NY Post. As for this Mentzer guy is as viable a suspect as Queen Elizabeth, Arthur Leigh Allen (couldn't resist :D), Ted Kaczynski or George Bush. :)

By Oddball (Oddball) ( - on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 10:11 pm:

So, Mentzer has apparently recanted. Any indication of why he fabricated that ridiculous story? Bad case of prison boredom?

By J Eric Freedner (J_Eric) ( - on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 12:07 am:

More likely he wanted to be moved away from some obnoxious cell-mate or cell block gang. Was hoping for solitary (read: safety).

By Juno (Juno) ( - on Friday, January 09, 2004 - 06:32 pm:

I just finished reading "Bad Company, " an account of the Roy Radin Murder. Having read this, there is no way i would consider Mentzer as Z.

On another note, and the reason I read this, is the "Ultimate Evil" by maury Terry. It was my understanding (from terry) that mentzer was "Manson II."

Yeah, right.

Radin was an extreme coke head, and perhaps he had a large "pornography" collection, but I seriously doubt the guy was a big-time satanist who commissioned snuff films (one supposedly a Son of Sam Murder). The guy never made a movie and was attempting to break in to being a hollywood producer when he was murdered over the Cotton Club deal.

As far as Mentzer, he actually killed June Mincher, but apparently only fired a single shot into the head of an already dead Radin....and then tried t blow his face up with explosives. Sick, yes...but NOT murder (granted he was involved...)

My take is that the guy was a rank amateur wannabe hit man at best, and certainly not the "satanic executioner" characterized by Terry. I doubt Mentzer had anything to do with Arliss Perry or Son of Sam.

By Oddball (Oddball) ( - on Monday, January 12, 2004 - 08:58 pm:

I dunno, Juno. I'll have to read "Bad Company", though.