Paul Stine's Crime Scene Message Board: Paul Stine: Paul Stine's Crime Scene

By Mike J. Doe ( - on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 11:26 am:

Since 2 threads deal with Paul Stine about wounds and watches, this got me thinking looking at one of the crime scene pictures on this site. When looking at the photograph where Paul Stine's hand is hanging out, the passanger's door is obviously open since Paul Stine's hand is hanging out. But what i find weird was doors in the back were closed. Why would Zodiac who happens to be in a hurry after shooting someone have the time to close the door and clean up the cab? I heard somewhere that Zodiac was actually sitting in the passangers seat, and not in the back seat like it's been reported everywhere. Can someone please fill me in on this one?

By Eduard Versluijs ( - on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 01:04 pm:

Hi Mr. Doe,

According to the "report of death" of Paul Stine, the witnesses saw Zodiac sitting on the pessenger seat while he was doing his thing on the dead body of Stine. Furthermore a shell from a bullit was found at the feetspace of the passenger's seat.

Please Tom, publish those two pages I sent you...

Eduard Versluijs

P.S. There is something else interesting in the crimescene pictures that probably no one noticed.
I only can't explain it because I am not allowed to publish pictures on

By Estelle Cotton ( - on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 03:02 pm:

Graysmith in his first book writes that there were a series of cab robberies preceding the Stine murder. The MO for these robberies was the perp sat in the passenger seat. He speculated that these robberies could have been Zodiac doing trial runs so to speak of the murder.

The accounts of Stine's murder that I have read from reputable sources indicate that Zodiac was in the back seat. This would have been a better vantage point to blindside Stine. If he was in the front seat Stine would have seen the gun out of the corner of his eye and likely turned toward Zodiac.

I believe the teenagers saw Zodiac exit the back seat and enter the front passenger side. I am not a forensics expert, but I know that shell casings project from the weapon. They don't normally fall straight down from where the gun was fired. If the gun was discharged, the casing could have ejected forward toward the front passenger side.

By Tom_Voigt ( - on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 04:02 pm:

Estelle, the police report is available elsewhere on this website. The witnesses didn't see Zodiac exit the back seat of the cab.

By Estelle Cotton ( - on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 04:35 pm:

Thanks, I wasn't sure whether or not they had.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 04:24 pm:

Estelle is correct. Shell casings do all kinds of crazy things.

By Mike J. Doe ( - on Sunday, June 22, 2003 - 01:09 pm:

So does this mean it's possible Zodiac was sitting in the passangers seat the whole drive and not sitting in the back like it's always been documentized?

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 06:46 am:

No, Mike Doe. It means we can't know where he was sitting based on where the casing was found. IMHO, I think it's unlikely he was sitting in the passenger seat due to the reasons already stated. I believe that, unless PS had really poor peripheral vision, he would have seen the gun coming towards his temple and instinctively turned towards the perp (thus spoiling Zodiac's aim). He would not have seen the gun coming from behind (unless he happened to be looking in the rear-view mirror at the time) and would not have changed his position.

By Mike J. Doe ( - on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 11:25 pm:

perhaps he could of noticed it, he still would of gotten shot and killed even if he tried to escape or defend himself.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Thursday, June 26, 2003 - 08:47 am:

Mike Doe,

I agree, but the wound would likely have been much different if that had been the case.

By Eduard Versluijs ( - on Friday, June 27, 2003 - 12:23 am:

Moskogee and Mike Doe,

Maybe the autopsy report can be of help in this discussion? Here are some segments taken from Paul Stine's autopsy report:

....There is a large, ragged, irregular shaped apparent gunshot entry wound over the right side of the head. This wound is located at the superior and anterior attachment of the right ear.
The vertical dimension measure 4 cm. and transverse dimensions 2 cm. There is a blackening of the skin over the ventral aspect of this wound, extending from a distance over 2 cm.
When probed, the wounds penetrates left laterally towards the midportion of the left zygomatic arch.

...There is extensive fracturing of the base of the skull. The above described entry wound has passed almost directly medially, passing beneath the pituitary gland and sella turcica, the floor of the left orbit and into the midportion of the left temperoalis muscle.

Eduard Versluijs

By Eduard Versluijs ( - on Friday, June 27, 2003 - 12:36 am:

I forgot....

The last segment goes further:
...of the left temporalis muscle near the zygomatic arch. A smashed and fragmented, copper jacketed lead bullet is found embedded in the left temporalis muscle.

Maybe it's an idea to make a picture of this to explain the non-biologists how the bullet went in.


P.S. I believe this is the first time this info has been made public.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Friday, June 27, 2003 - 09:15 am:

Eduard, thanks- that's very helpful.

In my opinion, this strongly supports the theory that PS was shot at close range, and likely at contact. "Ragged and irregular" entry wounds can be caused by bullet tumbling which we rarely see with contact wounds. It can also be caused by a very acute angle of entry. However, the size of this entrance wound leads me to believe this is a stellate wound (where the tissue around the entry is torn), which is consistant and supportive of a contact wound.

Soot stippling supports a close or intermediate range shot (a picture wound help us know exactly what the stippling pattern was and if there was soot on the bone, tissue expansion around the entry wound, etc.)

The "extensive fracturing of the base of the skull" is consistent with a high-velocity weapon. This likely occured when the bullet entered the skull.

The trajectory of the bullet indicates that the gun was almost, but not quite, perpendicular to the side of PS's head and angled slightly anteriorly (towards the front). This supports the idea that the perpetrator sat in the back seat, as it would be difficult to achieve this position from the front seat (although not impossible if the perp. is using his left hand).

The bullet, IMO, probably ricocheted off the left zygomatic arch and ended up in the temporalis muscle.

This paints a very clear picture. The wound is very straight-forward, which makes it much easier to interpret! Anyone who would like a more detailed analysis or explanation of the anatomy involved, please email me.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Friday, June 27, 2003 - 11:21 am:

Muskogee, your medical description certainly conforms with my own experience with gunshot wound characteristics. The only point that I will expand on for clarification is the ragged and irregular appearance of entry wounds.

The stellate appearance of the scalp wound, together with charring of the lacerated borders without significant stippling or tattooing on the adjacent periphery of the external tissue surfaces, and with soot on the underlying surface of bone, does indicate a contact wound, but not from any affect of tumbling. Drawing a distinction between contact and press-contact, wherein the latter describes the muzzle being pressed tightly against the surface, and not just placed up to it, the press-contact discharge expels the gases and unburned powder residue directly into the entry point, with the trapped gases expanding violently between the bone and overlying tissue, resulting in a blow-back effect which lacerates the tissue in an outward manner, often having the initial appearance of an exit. In fact, in such cases, the damage at the point of entry is often far more extensive than any exit wound, which to the untrained eye might be mislseading.

Along these lines, often a press-contact wound, even those occurring elsewhere on the body where there is underlying bone, will leave an imprint on the skin of the muzzle of the weapon, which can be helpful in identifying the manufacturer and model of the weapon.

As an aside, with non-contact wounds, when a fired projectile hits the skin it abrades the tissue as it penetrates, leaving an abraded collar, along with a greasy, sooty deposit, around the entry wound. If the slug enters at other than a perpendicular angle, the collar will not be symmetrical around the circumference, but rather elliptical, with the greater area of abrasion pointing at the angle or attitude from which the weapon was fired.

From what Eduard has described, I agree with you completely that it appears that the shooter was in the back seat, and that he probably held the weapon in his right hand. The only deviation from this theory would be if Stine happend to have his head turned to his left at the moment the shot was fired, in which case it could have been fired from the front passenger seat. But in any event, it does appear that the shooter held the weapon in his right hand.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Friday, June 27, 2003 - 01:02 pm:

Bill, it's good to see you back!

Thanks for your excellent description. You are much better at explaining things than I am.

I would say, though, that I think it's unlikely that Stine turned his head to the left with the perp. in the front seat because it would be difficult to achieve a perpendicular angle of entry in this case. I would expect to see an anteriorly- or posteriorly-directed trajectory from this position. Please let me know if I am missing something here or if you agree.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Friday, June 27, 2003 - 02:07 pm:

Muskogee, I guess what I was trying to say when I mentioned the turning of the head, is that if his head was turned, however slightly, to the left, that would tend to proportionately shift to the right any presumed positioning of the shooter. In other words, we know that the path of the slug once it entered his head was fairly horizontal, but with an anterior angle; not exactly perpendicular on the coronal plane. While this suggests that the weapon was pointed from a position slightly posterior to the point of entry, it doesn't require that the shooter himself was similarly positioned. A turn of Stine's head would serve to alter the angle of muzzle-to-head, while the shooter's location within the car, vis-a-vis Stine, would more likely be in the front seat.

You would have to enlist the aid of another person, sitting in a car, to demonstrate what I'm trying to describe.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Friday, June 27, 2003 - 02:18 pm:

Bill, I think I see what you're getting at. I wonder if the effect could have been produced by Zodiac reaching over Stine's left shoulder as if to hand him the fare money. Stine automatically turns to the left, which positions him for the assault behind his right ear. I don't buy Graysmith's speculation (or assertion, as the case may be) that Zodiac seized Stine in a headlock. That, to my mind, would have been incredibly risky.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Friday, June 27, 2003 - 02:35 pm:

Douglas, from what Eduard describes: This wound is located at the superior and anterior attachment of the right ear, it isn't describing the entry as being behind his right ear, but rather at the top of the ear and forward to where is attaches to the right temple. That may sound like a small difference, but when trying to approximate where the shooter was, and how the weapon was held, it can make a big difference.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Friday, June 27, 2003 - 05:20 pm:

Ah-ha, Bill! I understand what you're saying and agree.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) ( - on Friday, June 27, 2003 - 10:39 pm:

The one thing is, if Z sat in the back seat and then suddenly pressed a gun to Stine's head, why did he attempt to use his left hand rather than his right? Granted, he may not have been able to grab the gun with his right hand, but he certainly could have tried to knock it out of the way. I've often thought that if Z sat in the front seat, he pulled the gun with his right hand, grabbed Stine's right hand with his left to restrict movement and prevent him from defending himself, and then shot him. Stine, with his right hand immobilized, therefore had to use his left hand to attempt to move the gun before Z fired it. And, if Z pressed the barrel hard against Stine's head, surely it would have pushed his head to the left, accounting for the bullet's trajectory.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Friday, June 27, 2003 - 11:29 pm:

"And, if Z pressed the barrel hard against Stine's head, surely it would have pushed his head to the left, accounting for the bullet's trajectory."

Excellent point, Ed. That, and the tendency for Stine to have reflexively moved away from the sudden contact of the muzzle by moving his head.

The thing that bothers me about your scenario is an assumption that the dark mark(s) on Stine's left hand was from "powder burns." I believe that on the other thread where this is mentioned, it specifies the dorsal surface of the left hand, which means the back of the hand (posterior). Of course it's possible to receive burns there, but the natural defensive action to push the weapon away would be by using the palmar portion, not the back. Plus, if, as the autopsy report seems to indicate, it was a contact or press-contact wound, with a semi-auto pistol's gas discharge coming primarily from the muzzle, and much of the deposits being concentrated in and around the wound, it's difficult to envision how he could have gotten burns on the back of his hand. Again, anything's possible, but if the mark on his hand is from the discharge of a weapon, the scenario you describe doesn't seem to explain it. And no, I don't have a scenario to account for it either.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) ( - on Saturday, June 28, 2003 - 12:12 am:

Good point, Bill, he should have received powder burns on the palm of his hand, not the back. Since that was not the case, maybe there was a moment of conversation that took place ("I am the Zodiac, and you are my next victim." "Look, take my wallet and let me go, dude."), and Stine, after trying to grab or move the gun with his left hand, tries something desperate during those few seconds and slips his left hand under the gun to pull it forward with the back of his hand as Z pulls the trigger.

One possibility that I don't think has ever been mentioned is that perhaps Stine did pull up at Maple Street, and Z pulled the gun then and forced Stine to drive one extra block to Cherry for whatever reason. It doesn't really add anything to the case, it just occurred to me now.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Saturday, June 28, 2003 - 12:51 am:

Ed, just as at Berryessa, Zodiac could have done what you've envisioned and given Stine the impression that he was only going to be robbed, not killed.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Saturday, June 28, 2003 - 10:14 am:

Ed, one more thing on this hand vs firearm and then I'll shut up, before I run the risk of getting this thread bogged down in minutia.

In my opinion, in order for the entry wound to achieve the appearance that is described in the autopsy report, the muzzle must have been snug against his head, with no intervention by his hand. If the back of his hand had been near enough to the muzzle at the time the weapon discharged, the amount of residue deposited on the hand, or even a burn from the super-heated gases that escaped laterally, would have been minimal, probably not sufficient to have been clearly visible as a "dark mark."

What would be invaluable here is a complete post-mortem report, assuming that the marks on the hand were explored further during the autopsy, or any other lab test findings and investigative reports that specifically address this subject. From personal experience, I know that Boyd Stevens, who I seem to recall was the ME in SF at the time, would have made sure everything was done that could be done. Otherwise, we're forming theories based on conjecture, without scientific substantiation to support it. Gee, we'd never do that here would we?

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Saturday, June 28, 2003 - 04:20 pm:

Bill, your point also demonstrates why, IMO, Stine did not fight (and perhaps did not know what was happening). It would have been difficult to achieve the trajectory he did. Do you agree with that? That has been my experience, but mine is not nearly as expansive as yours.

I think Ed's scenario is very possible based on the personality of Zodiac. I think it's unlikely, though, based on the evidence of the wound.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) ( - on Saturday, June 28, 2003 - 10:30 pm:

Bill, Muskogee, I'm just suggesting possibilities to explain the powder burn on the back of Stine's left hand.

By Nick (Nick) ( on Sunday, June 29, 2003 - 01:56 am:

If Stine had powder burns on his left hand, then it was near the barrell when the gun discharged. That's a given. Is it possible that more than one shot was fired, the first attempt being deflected by Stine through the driver side window, the second finding it's mark once Z wrested the cabbie to the floor board and squarley put the barrell to his head? I know only a single slug was recovered, and Eduard alluded to a single shell casing being recovered. Is there any other evidence to indicate a single shot was fired? Z was less than perfect with his assaults. He was not exactly your model assassin.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Sunday, June 29, 2003 - 06:03 am:

Ed, I think it was an excellent suggestion (again, very consistent with Z's personality). HOwever, I don't think we've established that Stine had powder burns on the back of his hand.

According to Eduard's post:

"There were dark marks on the deceased dorsal surface of the left hand"

I think it's unlikely the ME would have left out the opinion that they were powder burns, although that's a possibility. Unitl we have more info, though, I don't think we can assume they are.

Nick, assuming the dark marks described are powder burns, the hand could have been a foot or more away from the gun and still sustained some evidence of powder burns. I don't think there's any reason to believe more than one shot was fired. Likely, another bullet would have caused damage in another part of the cab and another casing would have been found. While it's possible another bullet could have gone through an open window, it still would have likely embedded somewhere and someone would have eventually noticed. Your scenario isn't impossible, but I think it's highly unlikely. Bill would be able to comment on this better than I, and I look forward to his take on it.

By Scott_Bullock ( - on Sunday, June 29, 2003 - 07:15 am:

"Is it possible that more than one shot was fired, the first attempt being deflected by Stine through the driver side window..."

Nick, what do you mean by "deflected"? A bullet will beat human flesh every single time. There is absolutely no evidence to support the idea of more than one shot being fired. Believe me, I'm not trying to beat you up over this, but I don't see anything in the police report or autopsy report that would lead me to believe that more than one shot was fired. Now, if the Zodiac had been using a revolver...

By Nick (Nick) ( on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 01:27 am:

Scott, I know your not trying to beat me up over this. You call it like you see it, and that's the way it should be. My post was poorly stated. By deflected, I meant Z's hand and thus aim. I know Graysmith indicated a single shell casing was recovered, but there's no mention in the police report. I would think this to be significant. Was or wasn't there a shell casing recovered? If there were no shell casings recovered, and no shots were heard by the witnesses, how do we really know how many were fired?

Muskogee, I just assumed the dark marks were powder burns. Your right, without more information it's a bit presumptive. Perhaps the ME was just making a note as he or she is trained to do. They might well have been abrasions or bruises completely unrelated to the assault. And if a slug did pass through the opened driver's side window, it could have lodged/landed far from the actual crime scene. I doubt it would ever be noticed. BTW, thanks for your medical advice in a post long ago and far away. It was quite helpful.

By Scott_Bullock ( - on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 10:04 am:

Nick: I see what you are saying now. Thanks for the clarification. You're right, a second shot could have been fired that flew through the driver's side window and potentially traveled a mile or more before landing or hitting something. However, it's my opinion that there would have been some residual evidence of this that would have been found on the interior of the cab.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 02:57 pm:

Nick- good point about the shell casing. If NO shell casings were found, Z could have fired more than one shot and collected the casings. I still think it would have to go out an open window and be a very lucky shot not to hit something nearby.

According to Tom's site, a 9mm casing was part of the evidence collected, though it does not indicate the location of collection:

By Nick (Nick) ( on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 05:09 pm:

Okay, I hadn't seen the DOJ doc. That's good enough for me. A single shot it was. Thanks for the link Muskogee.

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 12:57 pm:

How about this one? We know Z was a liar,he could have told Stine :this is a stick up,asked him to put his hands behind his head. The left one could have been above of the right, closer to his ear. He could have said : Don't move or I will shoot.I don't think anyone in his right mind is going to move at that point! Maybe he had something to say to Stine before he pulled the trigger,like: You just gave the famous Zodiac a free ride thanks,bye bye now.(bang) Could that explain the marks on the back of the hand ? Even without all the drama?

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Friday, July 04, 2003 - 11:01 am:

How does that explain the marks on the hand?

By Mike J. Doe ( - on Friday, July 04, 2003 - 11:47 am:

One of the reasons why I was thinking of Zodiac was actually sitting in the front then the back was from the crime scene photos. the front door (passanger side) is open. Yet the back doors are closed. I just don't think that after you shoot somebody at night time, you'd have time to close the doors if your in a hurry to wipe down the cab. That's just my opinion on it and i'm sure others would disagree. What i'm also wondering is if he was sitting in the back, why did he feel that he needed to wipe down the cab?

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Friday, July 04, 2003 - 06:41 pm:

Mike Doe,
Closing a car door could be reflex (I don't know how many times I've done that to myself when I mean to leave it open). It wouldn't take long, even if you're in a hurry. And I always feel he left the passenger door open with Stine's arm hanging out for its shock value (I don't have any reason to think this, other than I feel it would be consistent with Z's personality). Your assessment, though, is very logical. Were it not for the fact that most people ride in the back of a cab, I'd agree with you.

By Mike J. Doe ( - on Friday, July 04, 2003 - 11:37 pm:

I guess your right about the reflex as I do it sometimes. It's just that why would he need to wipe down the dashboard of the cab if he wasn't even sitting in the front you know. But he did say he was "leaving fake clues." Also maybe he accidently left prints while stealing the wallet, keys and wripping Paul's shirt off.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Saturday, July 05, 2003 - 04:33 pm:

Mike Doe, I did not find any documentation of Z wiping down the dashboard, per se. The police report states that the suspect was seen wiping down the "interior" (vague- that could describe any part of the inside of the cab!), the area around the driver, the front passenger door as he exited, and the exterior of the driver's door. I think, as you do, though that "interior" probably refers to the interior directly surrounding the front passenger seat. I agree with you that wiping down the front passenger side makes no sense if he wasn't sitting there, but, then again, it makes no sense that he wiped the area surrounding PS, as he almost certainly wasn't sitting there! This may be one of those questions for which we never find an answer.

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Sunday, July 06, 2003 - 08:44 pm:

If they knew each other he would sit in the front seat wouldn't he? Stine also worked at a insurance co. Maybe the killer was a co.worker? Anyone know the name of that insurance co.?

By Eduard ( - on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 05:43 am:

Did anyone noticed that Stine's cab seems to have been moved during the shooting of the crimescenes?
Look at the picture on this website with only Stine's arm visable. You see a certain patern of blood and a piece of the boardwalk sticking out.
If you check the abc show and look at the closeup of Stine's hand you see that the boardwalk sticking out is much closer to his hand than on the first picture. Why moving the car with the body in it? Clearing the road makes no sense cause the car was parked near the curve of the walkway.

Eduard Versluijs

By Mike J. Doe ( - on Thursday, July 17, 2003 - 07:20 pm:

Since nobody replied to you in a while, i thought maybe i should write something. I think it does look like the cab was moved at the crime scene. But it i guess the way the photos were taken by different angles and close ups, it makes us think that way. If it was moved, i must say that whoever moved it only had half a brain.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) ( - on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 07:40 am:

Regarding the picture of Stine's arm hanging out:
It looks like Paul Stine had a jacket on. Was it cool at night that time of the year in San Francisco?

Z would have had to pull the jacket up to get to Stine's shirt to cut it. He really must have wanted a piece of his shirt.

Stine's watch looks a little high up on his arm, especially if he needed to see his watch with his jacket on. Unless the sleeves on the jacket were especially short.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 03:25 pm:

Bookworm, it's cool at night any time of year in San Francisco.