Stine Letter: Written In Advance?


Zodiackiller.com Message Board: Paul Stine: Stine Letter: Written In Advance?

By Tom Voigt (Admin) (12-231-193-32.client.attbi.com - 12.231.193.32) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 04:33 pm:

For several years I've had the opinion Zodiac intended to kill Paul Stine at the Washington and Maple location he referred to in his Oct. 13, 1969 letter (and found on Stine's trip sheet), even though the actual crime scene was a full block away at Washington and Cherry. Why the discrepency? Certainly Stine, a cab driver, wouldn't have refused to drive the extra block. Possibly there was activity at the Washington and Maple location and Zodiac felt it wasn't safe to commit a murder there, so he instructed Stine to keep going. If that was the case, why did Zodiac write the location as "Washington and Maple" in his letter?

Here's my possible explanation:

Zodiac wanted to kill Stine at the Washington and Maple location because he intended to threaten school children and that intersection was (and still is) a school crosswalk. Perfect symbolism. The reason the letter still referred to the Washington and Maple address even though Stine wasn't killed there was because Zodiac had written the letter prior to killing Stine.

Click here for a high-res scan of the envelope.
Notice how the blood on the envelope appears to be over the ink.

If this scenario is correct, Zodiac first wrote the letter, then killed Stine, inserted a bloody piece of shirt and immediately mailed it. Stine was killed late on Saturday, Oct. 11. The letter was postmarked Oct. 13 (Mon.) in San Francisco. Whether it was mailed Sat. night, Sun. or Mon., the postmark would have been the same.

By Tim Allen (ip-wv-24-159-113-058.charterwv.net - 24.159.113.58) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 05:15 pm:

The letter says," I am the murderer of the cab driver over by washington and maple last night".
This could indicate the letter was written the next day(sunday)or he wrote the letter in advance
not knowing when he would kill a cab driver since the day wasn't mentioned,only "last night".But
the location was symbolic so it had to be washington and maple or nearby. I agree, I think it was written in advance. He states "over by".
It seems he was somewhere near the killing when he wrote the letter. "over" like giving diretions,
"right over there." The envelope was definitly
written before hand..the blood covers the letters.
Maybe he wrote the letter the day before, while at work,Friday.He decided he was going to kill a cab driver,had the location in site,then wrote the letter. Great Tom,I'm glad i'm not the only one who thought the letter was pre written.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-141-151-61-238.phil.east.verizon.net - 141.151.61.238) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 06:17 pm:

The thing that militates against this scenario, however, is Zodiac's mention of the police searching the park.

By Tom_Voigt (12-231-193-32.client.attbi.com - 12.231.193.32) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 06:52 pm:

Doug, that's a good point. However, it would have been a very safe bet the police would search.

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) (cache-mtc-af02.proxy.aol.com - 64.12.96.103) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 06:58 pm:

Not a "safe bet": a certainty.

Nice thread, Tom. Real curious.

By Tom_Voigt (12-231-193-32.client.attbi.com - 12.231.193.32) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 08:01 pm:

Doug, Zodiac wrote:

"The S.F. Police could have caught me last night if they had searched the park properly instead of holding road races with their motorcicles seeing who could make the most noise. The car drivers should have just parked their cars & sat there quietly waiting for me to come out of cover."

Zodiac isn't necessarily acknowledging the police searched the park -- he seems to be saying they should have but didn't.

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) (d150-160-190.home.cgocable.net - 24.150.160.190) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 08:13 pm:

What would he gain by writing it in advance?

By Tom_Voigt (12-231-193-32.client.attbi.com - 12.231.193.32) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 08:20 pm:

Ryan, perhaps he was expecting to leave on a trip or be otherwise detained and would not have another opportunity to send it for a certain amount of time. Or, maybe he lived outside San Francisco and didn't see the point in making two trips. Who knows? All that seems for sure is he got the location of the crime wrong in his letter and blood appears to be over the ink.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-141-151-61-238.phil.east.verizon.net - 141.151.61.238) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 09:15 pm:

How would he have known they would end up in the park performing an intensive search for him? It would have to have been a very good guess on his part.

I'm inclined to think he got the location wrong because he wasn't certain of the name of the street where he ended up.

Tom, when he says "should have," he means they should have "searched the park properly," not that they should have "searched the park." That's saying that he knew they had searched it, but hadn't done a very good job.

By Tom_Voigt (12-231-193-32.client.attbi.com - 12.231.193.32) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 09:39 pm:

Doug, "should have" could still mean they didn't search the park.

Regardless, the point is how vague Zodiac was being in his letter. Why did it take him almost a month to actually provide detail of what supposedly went on that night re: the behavior and movements of the police? Probably because he left the scene immediately and got his info from the newspapers and TV stations.

By Tom_Voigt (12-231-193-32.client.attbi.com - 12.231.193.32) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 10:05 pm:

Also, I find it hard to believe Zodiac simply missed the street sign. Not only was it right above his head and probably would have reminded him of Cheri Jo Bates, therefore making it quite easy to remember, the location of the murder was published in the next day's San Francisco Chronicle. Here's the article.

If Zodiac actually wrote the letter after killing Stine, he most certainly would have seen that article.

By john prisk (dsc04-lbv-ca-199-183-253-174.rasserver.net - 199.183.253.174) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 11:55 pm:

hmmmm - -
I'd never really thought of it all this way before. The multitude of counter-points aside though, as far as the street name discrepancy goes couldn't that have been simply because that is where he originally intended to do it and because of the stress of the night (supposedly being seen by the cops)he screwed it up in his letter? That is where the trip sheet said the original drop off point was, so maybe he just jacked it up after the fact.
I like the symbolic nature of the school crosswalk and his threat toward kids. Perhaps he really did move it on down the road a bit because of some unforeseen activity at the original location.
Though I gotta admit the idea of a letter written before the fact seem plausible.

By Chalandra (Chalandra) (dialup-98.177.accessatc.net - 216.81.98.177) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 04:25 am:

Zodiac could have not only written the letter before the murder, but also mailed it just in case he got caught. Then it would look like 3 days after being arrested, a letter comes in from Zodiac admitting to the crime, so therefore the cops might have to release the person they arrested on friday. CYA?

By Tim Allen (ip-wv-24-159-113-058.charterwv.net - 24.159.113.58) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 09:00 am:

Good point Chalandra, he couldn't describe the crime scene in detail,because he wrote the letter in advance,thus the blood stained shirt to prove it was him. He planned on taking the shirt before hand to prove it was the work of the zodiac and not some poor slob arrested that night.WTG

By Tim Allen (ip-wv-24-159-113-058.charterwv.net - 24.159.113.58) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 09:25 am:

Chalandra,it had to be mailed that night.The blood on the envelope and the piece of shirt.
I'm not sure but I don't think he took time to
write the letter after the murder,thats why i assume he wrote it before.But you are right in thinking he could somehow get out of it if they recieved the letter after him being arrested.
He knew it would be risky,and planned ahead.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-44.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - 159.134.51.44) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 09:51 am:

The only thing we can say for sure here is that he inserted the shirt while the blood was still wet.Although I would like to know how much of what we are seeing is actually "wet" blood as oposed to the presence of blood highlighted by forensic testing.The highest concentrations can be seen around the finger impressions. Might indicate that he actually pressed against the shirt when it was inside the envelope.
One more indicator here....we can see blood around the bottom stamp, but none on the stamp itself. That should indicate that the stamp was put on sometime later.
Anyone know how long it would take blood to dry?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-141-151-61-238.phil.east.verizon.net - 141.151.61.238) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 10:49 am:

Why did it take him almost a month to actually provide detail of what supposedly went on that night re: the behavior and movements of the police? Probably because he left the scene immediately and got his info from the newspapers and TV stations.

I agree with this assessment. In fact, there seems always to be a delay between developments in the Bay Area and Zodiac's response.

By jjmb (cacheflow.phonewave.net - 64.113.160.188) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 02:48 pm:

Then why not leave the letter in the taxi? It would prove that he was there, save him the time it would take to get the shirt and he would have no need to write on the door.

By Tom_Voigt (12-231-193-32.client.attbi.com - 12.231.193.32) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 02:57 pm:

He didn't write on the door of the cab.

The shirt was an important tool for Zodiac, as he used portions of it in three letters to prove his identity.

By Mike_Cole (Mike_Cole) (12-224-40-230.client.attbi.com - 12.224.40.230) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 03:16 pm:

After considering the subject, I have to conclude that the letter was probably written after the murder, IMHO.

Personally, I can't make out too much from the image of the envelope. But even if we stipulate that the blood is over the ink, it doesn't seem too meaningful to me. The only alternative, of course, is the ink being on top of the blood. However, if the letter were written after the murder, it seems unlikely that the author would do it in such a way that the blood would end up on the envelope prior to the writing.

Next, if there were motorcycles holding "road races" in the area, this fact would suggest the letter was legitimately written after the murder. At least I wouldn't have thought to fabricate such content.

IMO, the lack of details in the first description may be attributed to the brevity of the letter and not necessarily a lack of knowledge. It seems to me there were two things that were important about the Stine letter: (1) the bloody piece of Stine's shirt (which undeniably and instantly established credibility) and (2) the threat against school children. These two components were delivered concisely in a one page letter.

The fact that Z provided more details about a month later does not surprise me at all. The Stine murder represented the pinnacle of Z's so-called accomplishments. Specifically, he was able to strike in a relatively open, secure section of San Francisco proper and slip away, much to the dismay of the police. Writing about the events in the Nov. 9 letter was Z's way of re-living (and basking in) his experience. Also, the Nov. 9 letter was clearly intended to be more communicative in nature, unlike the concise Stine letter.

Furthermore, the details of the Nov. 9 letter sound authentic in nature. Perhaps some of them could have been gleaned from the news media, but others don't sound like the type of information that would have been reported. For the sake of clarity, let me quote the relevant section (spelling corrected):

"...you were using fire trucks to mask the sound of your cruising prowl cars. The dogs never came within two blocks of me + they were to the west + there was only 2 groups of parking about 10 min apart then the motorcycles went by about 150 ft away going from south to north west."

Finally, the reference to Washington and Maple... My theory is that the murder was planned around the intersection of Washington and Maple with the expectation things would be tweaked based on the environment when Z actually arrived there. This would explain why the destination was given as Maple and why Z was thinking of Maple when he wrote the Stine letter. It also fits well with the fact that Cherry is past Maple. Of course, I can't say what actually motivated Z to end up at Cherry; although one thought that has crossed my mind is that he actually wanted to be seen...

By jjmb (cacheflow.phonewave.net - 64.113.160.188) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 03:31 pm:

Tom,
I ment he would have no need to write on the door like he did at LB. By leaving a pre-written letter at the crime scene that would prove it was Z. And it would have saved him the time it took to take the shirt. Having the shirt for future letters would have been nice to have but, there are much easier ways to prove it was him, once he established it was him by leaving the letter at the scene.

By Tim Allen (ip-wv-24-159-113-058.charterwv.net - 24.159.113.58) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 06:19 pm:

The z had a thing about seeing his written word in the paper. If he left the letter in the cab
he would be denied that aspect of the kill.
Whether published or not,it went to the editor.
A killer for thrills ,journalist by proxy?

By john prisk (dsc04-lbv-ca-199-183-253-244.rasserver.net - 199.183.253.244) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 01:33 am:

Chalandra wrote - - "Zodiac could have not only written the letter before the murder, but also mailed it just in case he got caught. Then it would look like 3 days after being arrested, a letter comes in from Zodiac admitting to the crime, so therefore the cops might have to release the person they arrested on friday."

If zodiac had mailed the letter in advance how did the piece of shirt get in? If he mailed it in advance why would he even bother taking the piece of shirt at all(Aside from using it as proof in later letters)?

Also planning to use the letter as an alibi if caught would have been kind of pointless - - when you arrest a guy with 140 square inches (give or take)of a dead mans bloody shirt and the TON of other forensic transferance that would have taken place, no letter seemingly mailed after the fact would help his case.

By Chris (hlfx53-1-61.ns.sympatico.ca - 142.177.103.61) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 05:36 am:

If the Zodiac intended to use the letter as an alibi incase he was caught it would have been pointless because according to some interviews I remember seeing the killer would have been covered with Stine's blood after shooting him at such a close range.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-141-151-61-238.phil.east.verizon.net - 141.151.61.238) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 07:31 am:

Ted Kaczynski evidently did up his December, 1985 letter in advance of the bombing that killed Hugh Scrutton in Sacramento. I've not seen a copy of the letter, but since there are no known handwritten Unabomber missives it must be assumed that the letter was typewritten, which tends to militate for the letter being written before the fact; not after. Scrutton was killed on December 11, 1985; the letter was dated December, 1985 (no specific date given). Since the trip to California was very costly (for Kaczynski) and time consuming, it hardly seems likely that he would have made an extra trip simply for the purpose of mailing the letter, which was addressed to the San Francisco Examiner.

By Mike J. Doe (wc13.mtnk.rnc.net.cable.rogers.com - 66.185.84.208) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 04:17 pm:

I've been wondering why Zodiac wrote Maple St. instead of Cherry, but when i think about it, what if it was proof that he was the killer since they knew he was originally supposed to be dropped off on Maple Street but instead went to Cherry.

By Tom_Voigt (12-231-193-32.client.attbi.com - 12.231.193.32) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 04:35 pm:

I'd say a bloody piece of the victim's shirt would have been enough proof he was the killer.

By J Eric Freedner (J_Eric) (dsc01-lai-ca-207-93-141-35.rasserver.net - 207.93.141.35) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 09:54 pm:

So the newspaper article incorrectly said Stine was killed with a .38? And Z actualy used a 9 mm, per the SFPD? Most interesting; the foundation for his later comment about shooting "a man in a parked car with a 38."

I'm not convinced the letter was pre-written. That would point toward validating RG's theory about using an overhead projector to copy handwriting; Z had to get that chore done by Saturday afternoon, after which time, perhaps, he would not have access to the machinery for some days.

Had he written it in advance, why not just leave it with Stine's body in the cab where it was sure to be found? Could have saved himself 12c that way, too.

More likely writing the letter was the final thrill of the night for Mr. Z.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-141-151-61-238.phil.east.verizon.net - 141.151.61.238) on Sunday, November 09, 2003 - 11:18 pm:

Keeping one hand free for onanism, of course.

By Tim Allen (ip-wv-24-159-113-058.charterwv.net - 24.159.113.58) on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 09:34 am:

He (zodiac) knew that if the letter was left in the cab it would become evidence and not be released to the press,else why bother writting a letter, he could have written on the door.He mailed the letters to the editors of the various papers.Rush to Editor.The editor was going to see his letters if he had to kill to get them read.
Which is what he did.

By Ann (Ann) (cache-rh01.proxy.aol.com - 152.163.252.161) on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 10:22 am:

Seems very likely, and I would think that he could have had the letter with him the night of the murder, and mailed it immediately after leaving the scene of the crime. It makes sense, considering the reference to "Washington and Maple" He could have gone home and drafted another letter, with the correct information, but for some reason, couldn't wait to get the word out that he had done this crime, and as has been pointed out, the piece of shirt was proof enough.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-151-199-33-21.bos.east.verizon.net - 151.199.33.21) on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 12:17 pm:

Blood on the envelope could sure seem to indicate that it was written before the the crime. On the other hand, it may only indicate that it was written before Z handled the shirt to cut it and insert a piece in the envelope. And that's just the envelope; there doesn't seem to be any such circumstance with the letter itself. In fact, quite the opposite. The motorcycle and car information seems way too specific to have been predicted in advance (wouldn't a methodical search of the park have been more logical?) and the Cherry vs. Maple I think is a complete red herring. Tom's report indicates that the intended destination was Washington and Maple. indicating that Z certainly had that in his mind when he was picked up. The northeast corner of Washington and Cherry is in the same block on Washington as (and about 300 feet past the northwest corner of) Washington and Maple. So with Z traveling west on Washington, looking for the place to stop and do the deed, the sign for Maple would have been the last one Z saw before ordering Stine to pull over. Close enough.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-141-151-61-238.phil.east.verizon.net - 141.151.61.238) on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 03:59 pm:

That might suggest that his knowledge of the area wasn't as intimate as some may think.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (12-231-193-32.client.attbi.com - 12.231.193.32) on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 04:15 pm:

Zodiac ended up a full block from his intended distination. With so much at stake, I just don't buy that it happened by accident or chance. I also can't believe he wasn't familiar with the immediate area, at least enough to know the surrounding streets and various escape routes.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-141-151-61-238.phil.east.verizon.net - 141.151.61.238) on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 07:34 pm:

No doubt he had canvassed the area in advance.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-151-199-33-21.bos.east.verizon.net - 151.199.33.21) on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 07:56 pm:

Maybe it was Stine who wasn't so familiar. And it wasn't quite a full block. I my experiece with cabs, it usual for a cab given directions to a particular intersection to pull through the intersection and then to the first available spot on the right. Avoids blocking cars behind making right hand turns. So that would have been on the northwest corner of Wash and Maple. So Stine overshoots a little, or Z doesn't like what he sees at that corner. What difference does it make? We know he was intending on going to Maple when Stince picked him up. I don't see what that has to do with whether he wrote the letter earlier. Sure there may have been some significance of Wahington and Maple, such as a school cross walk, which he preserved by writing that in the letter even though he missed it by a little. He could also have changed his mind at the last second because Cherry is closer to his escape into the park. That suggests an error in casing the area. I kind of like the school cross walk idea, but it sure doesn't require that Z had written the letter in advance. Makes just as much sense that he wrote Maple to make sure no one missed his point, even though he did. Now that I think of it, if there was so much at stake in the Maple location, why write that in the letter beforehand? He would make sure to do it there and the location would speak for itself. It makes more sense that he would only need to state that location if it turned out that the crime didn't speak for itself.

I agree with what I guess is Tom's more important point here, that he went to some lengths to draw attention to Maple as the significant location.

By John P (206.15.40.222) on Tuesday, November 11, 2003 - 11:09 am:

As far as leaving the letter in the cab goes, I believe to send pieces of stines shirt in several of his letters not just to the paper but to others would leave no doubt to who did the murder.
To show its not a fake and the real deal in all accounts.

By TheBlackJet (Theblackjet) (149.152.126.245) on Tuesday, November 11, 2003 - 12:28 pm:

I have an idea. Maybe Stine overshot the location by a few feet to make Zodiac's fair an even amount, becuase he didn't want to accept change? Most people wouldn't have the nerve to complain being only a few feet ahead of their location, and many might prefer not having to break a dollar. It was probabaly an old cabbie trick that Stine used often.

By john prisk (dsc04-lbv-ca-199-182-116-181.rasserver.net - 199.182.116.181) on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 01:47 am:

TheBlackJet wrote - - "Maybe Stine overshot the location by a few feet to make Zodiac's fair an even amount"
He didn't over-shoot the spot by a few feet. It was more like a couple hundred feet. He went an entire city block past the destination written on the trip sheet. If a cabbie dropped me of that far from where I asked him to I'd be really pissed off at him.

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) (102.new-york-07rh16rt-08rh15rt.ca.dial-access.att.net - 12.75.138.102) on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 07:39 am:

Would you blow out his left zygomatic arch with a pistol?

By Sandy (Sandy) (adsl-67-123-77-151.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 67.123.77.151) on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 01:00 pm:

I think he must have taken a cab many times before to the corner of Maple & Washington, because he lived or visted someone near by.When he wrote the letter, he forgot about going a block futher. The reason he went a block further that night,was to make the police think he lived closer to Cherry than Maple.If he knew before hand,that he would take part of a bloody shirt to prove he was the killer,then he may have brought a plastic bag to put it in. A bloody cloth in a plastic bag would stay wet for some time.If he pulled it out wet,to put it in the envelope , then he would get the blood on his hands again. I think he liked reliveing his crimes ,and prolonging the attention by writing and sending his letters after his crimes.

By J Eric Freedner (J_Eric) (dsc03-lai-ca-199-182-34-216.rasserver.net - 199.182.34.216) on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 07:35 pm:

TheBlackJet is, if I may surmise, writing rheotrically in saying "overshot the location by a few feet." Taxi meters are set for either tenths or eighths of a mile. Either way, that comes out about one extra city block.

Yes, it makes sense Z had some sort of sack into which he could put Stine's bloody shirt. Now, "it just wouldn't doo" if he was seen walking to a mailbox holding an envelope marked Please Rush To Editor; any passerby might catch a glimpse of it and recognize it. So Z might also have carried his finished letter (whenever crafted) in the same bag to get it to the mailbox, thereby smearing blood on it.

Anyway, if you re-read Zodiac's message, he NEVER SAYS he killed the cabdriver AT Washington and Maple; it was "over by" those streets. One block off could easily be considered "over by."

By ScottN (134.69.102.191) on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 08:08 pm:

He was obviously in a hurry; that much is certain from his writing "last night" in the letter. At no other point in his career was he so quick on the draw to write about a killing. What is also strange is that "last night" necessarily refers to a Sunday as the day of the writing, a somewhat odd and confusing day on which to write (and mail) a letter.

I think this 'eagerness' strengthens Tom's conclusion that the letter was pre-written. If so, there MUST have been a reason for choosing that location-- school crosswalk or otherwise. Note that if simple proximity to the Presidio as a hiding place was the reason, he could have arranged the drop even closer. Makes one think Washington and Maple had to have a special significance...

By john prisk (199.182.130.145) on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 11:02 pm:

Not that pissed Alan...

By J Eric Freedner (J_Eric) (dsc03-lai-ca-205-184-203-228.rasserver.net - 205.184.203.228) on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 11:58 pm:

Could there have actually been a person named "OVERBY" living in the vicinity of Washington and Maple? There are today people with that somewhat unusual surname (such as Darren O.) residing in San Francisco, but their addresses are not published for me to verify.

I still say, if Z wrote & mailed the letter in advance, how could he know for sure his murder plan would succeed? It was in effect an even bigger gamble that the mere act of killing.

By Tim Allen (ip-wv-24-159-113-058.charterwv.net - 24.159.113.58) on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 12:56 pm:

For one thing if the murder didnt take place he wouldn't have to mail the letter,second he wrote, over by,just in case the murder couldn't happen at the exact location, for some unseen reason.
leading me to think the letter was written in advance.And to state (last night), would mean the murder could take place when convenient to him
since no particular night was mentioned.As far
as the search and motorcycle races,he (zodiac) seemed quite familiar with the way the police
conducted themselves,so it would be safe to say
in the letter.They would deny having races or
not thoroughly searching the park,whether true or
not.These things the zodiac knew he could mention in advance.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) (209-223-48-3-dyndsl.oplnk.net - 209.223.48.3) on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 01:22 pm:

Many believe that Z was obsessive compulsive. Perhaps he NEEDED to kill at Washington and Maple (for any number of reasons) and, when that went awry (for any number of reasons), he just refused to admit his kill site was "incorrect." His letter may be a statement of denial.

If Z had left his letter in Stine's cab, the police would know right away that they were dealing with Zodiac, and not a random robber. I'm speculating, but I feel this would have intensified the manhunt, and, with Zodiac's ego, I'm sure he would think the same. By letting the police believe the crime was a "routine" shooting/robbery, it gave him a slight advantage. He could then impress/brag/scare everyone later with proof of who he really was.

By Warren (Warren) (64.221.18.62.ptr.us.xo.net - 64.221.18.62) on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 02:11 pm:

Exactly, Dr. M.; making them look exactly like random murders, then the bombshell.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-129-44-182-202.bos.east.verizon.net - 129.44.182.202) on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 05:24 pm:

We may be missing Tom's larger point, here, folks. Whether he wrote it in advance or not, his purpose was to establish the location as Maple and Wash rather than Cherry. There is abundant evidence to that effect even if he wrote it later. the theory is that he wanted to associate the killing with the school crosswalk. Or the school. If there was a school crosswalk, there has to be a school, right? What school does anyone know?

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p50-25.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - 159.134.50.25) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 05:59 am:

Apparently Presidio Hill School is right there at 3938 Washington.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p50-25.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - 159.134.50.25) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 06:01 am:

Oops! that's 3839..sorry!

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p50-25.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - 159.134.50.25) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 06:16 am:

So if his purpose was to associate this killing with a school/kids why is he looking at a school crosswalk when there's a school less than 200ft away?

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-151-199-26-159.bos.east.verizon.net - 151.199.26.159) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 07:03 am:

According to Mapquest, the school is near the middle of the block between Maple and Cherry, on the north side of the street. that puts it halfway between the northeast corner at Maple and the actual site of the Stine killing. My guess, however is that Mapquest is only an approximation, and 3839 is much closer to Maple. Anyone from the Task Force remember from your visit? Someone took a beautiful picture of the school at the time, but it doesn't show location.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p50-25.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - 159.134.50.25) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 07:30 am:

http://presidiohill.org/

Doesn't look too much like a school!

By phiddlephart (netcache-3002.bay.webtv.net - 209.240.205.61) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 08:40 pm:

In the 1993 Thomas guide, the nearest public grade school is on Sacremento, between Cherry and Arguello two blocks south of Washington. No school symbol on the 3800 block of Washington for Presidio hill school.

By Tom_Voigt (12-231-193-32.client.attbi.com - 12.231.193.32) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 08:54 pm:

"In the 1993 Thomas guide, the nearest public grade school is on Sacremento, between Cherry and Arguello two blocks south of Washington. No school symbol on the 3800 block of Washington for Presidio hill school."

Well, the 2003 Thomas Voigt guide says there is an elementary school located just a few houses from the intersection of Washington and Maple. If you don't believe me, click on the link Lapumo provided. Or better yet, visit the scene about 50 times like I have.

More importantly, in 1969 the intersection of Washington and Maple was a school crosswalk. Period.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-151-199-26-159.bos.east.verizon.net - 151.199.26.159) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 09:56 pm:

Point well taken, Tom.Z clearly wanted that intersction emphasized. Maybe the point would be better understood if you described how a school crossing was distinguished from any other intersection in California, such as Washington and Cherry. Today, the school crosswalk would be painted yellow and be marked by a pentagonal sign with "SCHOOL" underneath, showing silhouettes of two kiddies, one male and one female. Hmmmm. But in 1969?

By J Eric Freedner (J_Eric) (dsc03-lai-ca-204-30-131-252.rasserver.net - 204.30.131.252) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 11:32 pm:

Mapquest...maps (Zodiac's favorite reading material?)...Maple! ("Map, I'll") Remember Z's odd way of dealing with words, as in his Chicken recipes. Any other close connotations with Maple, no matter how you pronounce it?

By Chris (hlfx50-1-49.mtt.net - 142.177.41.58) on Sunday, November 16, 2003 - 11:10 am:

"Remember Z's odd way of dealing with words,as in his Chicken recipes".

Even though ALA has never been proven to have been the Zodiac I think one should be more careful with the words they choose.