Paul Stine's shirt Message Board: Paul Stine: Paul Stine's shirt

By TheBlackJet (Theblackjet) ( - on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 12:20 pm:

Everyone remembers that Zodiac took Paul Stine's shirt. However Primetime mentioned that he also took Stine's wallet. I wonder why? Haven't heard much if any discussion on that topic. I doubt Z would risk capture for a few buck and there was no reason to take the license as Z had never taken "trophies" before. But what about the third thing people carry in their wallets, that is photographs? I can't help but wonder if Stine didn't have a photograph of himself and another man who closely resembled the Zodiac sketch. Just a thought.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) ( - on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 05:00 pm:

I've often wondered about why Z took the wallet and car keys. Perhaps, since he knew a murder in PH would be such a risk, he figured that if he was caught with Stine's wallet, it would look like a typical cab murder, and they'd get him for the one crime only and not the previous four murders as well.

By TheBlackJet (Theblackjet) ( - on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 06:04 pm:

Still murder is murder. If he was caught with the license of a murdered man on him he would no doubt get convicted and thus get the death penalty, so what does it matter if he gets convicted of one murder or four? At least if they charged him with the Zodiac's murders he could make a claim for insanity.

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) ( on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 06:39 pm:

Interesting points you raise, Jet.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Friday, October 25, 2002 - 07:46 am:

I've always thought that Z took the cars keys and wallet to give the responding and investigating officers the impression that the crime scene was a typical cabbie murder, thereby allowing him a longer period in which to escape, and also to send the homicide dicks down the wrong trail for awhile until he decided it was time to take credit for the crime.

By TheBlackJet (Theblackjet) ( - on Friday, October 25, 2002 - 01:21 pm:

I'm not arguing with you Scott, or anyone else, but wouldn't it be detectives who made the deciscion about whether Stine's murder was the typicaal cabbie murder or not? Wouldn't the responding patrolmen, upon seeing Stine's body, simply secure the crime scene and wait for the detectives to arrive?

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Friday, October 25, 2002 - 07:16 pm:

BlackJet, it's cool, I'm not arguing with you either. You raise some very valid questions that I honestly haven't got the answers for. I'm just saying I've always thought Zodiac staged the scene to make it look like homicide for burglary instead of just plain murder.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Friday, October 25, 2002 - 10:33 pm:

The missing piece of shirt would have convinced me that there was something to the crime other than a mere robbery.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, October 26, 2002 - 12:25 am:

Good one mr.Doug.

By TheBlackJet (Theblackjet) ( - on Saturday, October 26, 2002 - 04:19 pm:

Very true Doug. That still leaves the question: why did Z take Stine's wallet?

By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Saturday, October 26, 2002 - 06:14 pm:

Yes, one might be convinced that there was something more to the crime than met the eye, but what would that something be? There wasn't one single solitary thing about PH that would have given detectives (which certainly would have been involved at some point, regardless) any reason to type this as a Zodiac crime. It was wrong for that from every angle. Every one except the fact that he proved he did it two days later, which he would not necessarily have done had he been apprehended. This would have allowed his Zodiac mystique to continue on into history, as was possibly his most favored plan.

Zodiac had to face the hard facts in October, that his outing in SF was highly likely to result in his arrest or death.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Saturday, October 26, 2002 - 06:48 pm:

Zodiac may have taken Stine's wallet as an additional means of validation. Since he was clever enough to stop his murder spree, he may also have been clever enough not to hold on to the wallet.

By J Eric (J_Eric) ( - on Wednesday, October 30, 2002 - 04:08 pm:

Z explained he was gathering slaves for paradise. Maybe he took out Stine so Z could have his own "ghost chauffeur" in the beyond. Might not a wallet & car keys still be needed even for a spook driver?

A bit of irreverant black comedy (perhaps), in keeping with the season.

By Zander Kite (Zk) ( - on Thursday, October 31, 2002 - 02:33 pm:

Zodiac says it all when he says it, concerning the wallet and keys, when he writes>>"..They shall look like routine robberies.." It was all planned out, so why did he plan on taking the wallet? Probably for several reasons, like some that are listed on this thread, but I'd guess a major motivation was setting himself up to be in a position of having the potential of being considered a suspect in any *unsolved robbery-murders. In fact, I would guess that the choice of weapons at Lake B. was also an attempt to cash in on any *unsolved knifing-murders. *(past or present unsolved murders)

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, November 02, 2002 - 01:26 am:

Another theory(other than J Erics-guess he wanted BH then to be his lawyer in Paradise to defend him when he tortured his slaves!) for why Z took Stines wallet and keys ,would be that he planned to continue his stream of letters and when those little square patches of Stines shirt were exhausted, then he could send keys,the wallet and its contents one at a time.
Just more wild speculation!

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Saturday, November 02, 2002 - 06:48 am:

Howard, I'm not disputing that Z took the section of shirt as a means of confirming his identity and his complicity in the killing, and that it could be the case with the wallet and keys. But I wonder why then, what with numerous communications over the next several years, were there only two sections of the shirt sent. He might have changed his mind for one reason or another, or perhaps once his writing became identifiable by Morrill, it was unnecessary. It seems to me that we may be missing something, or drawing conclusions that are erroneous, as to why he took the wallet and keys, in particular.

I've always wondered why Z didn't take souvenirs, which are de rigueur with serial killers, from each of his crimes. My answer to my own question has been that he wasn't your run-of-the-mill serial killer, that needed memorabilia to get off on during his reminiscences. If that's the case, a clear answer eludes me as to why the wallet and keys were taken. I don't necessarily buy the theory that Z wanted the crime to appear initially as a routine robbery-gone-bad -- as Doug points out, the missing piece of shirt would have quickly dispelled that notion -- and if he had been caught as he made his escape, it wouldn't have taken very long for the police to find the bloody swatch and reasonably conclude that it was not a routine robbery/homicide. No, all of these theories fall short of providing an all-inclusive explanation. I realize that applying reason to the behavior and motivations of a disturbed mind is often misleading, which to my way of thinking is a frequent cause of why cases like this go unsolved.

Much of the data base used by the FBI profilers is the product of studies of garden-variety serial killers, and for this reason I wouldn't have as much faith in whatever insight they might offer in this case. The one exception that immediately comes to mind is Son of Sam, more so than the Unabomber, although both were uncommon serial killers. To my limited knowledge of Berkowitz's crimes, souvenirs, per se, were not taken. Using the profilers' assessment of his pathology as having potential commonality with Z's, there might be some value in whatever extrapolations that could be drawn in Z's behavior in the Stine case.

Fox News recently aired an exclusive interview with Berkowitz in which he offered his take on the Beltway Sniper, just prior to Muhammad and Malvo's identification and arrest. I didn't find his insight particularly insightful, despite Fox's hype, but there was some value in his unique interpretations. It makes me curious as to what he would offer with respect to Z's behavior the night of the Stine murder. I know Berkowitz has made other remarks regarding the west-coast Z, but nothing as specific as to why Z took the wallet and keys, along with the section of shirt.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Saturday, November 02, 2002 - 08:19 am:

Bill, I believe Zodiac was a "serial killer" only in the sense that he committed a series of killings; and the same can probably be said of Berkowitz and the recent Beltway sniper (although some evidence has come out to suggest that the whole affair might have been staged). Modern profilers are really killing themselves (and fooling themselves as well) by employing a terminology that pertains only to the relationship between time and number of victims, rather than the underlying psychology of the perpetrator. There are essentially two types of multiple killers: those who are in it for the fun and excitement (recreational) and those who are in it for their egos (disaffected). Zodiac, I'm convinced, was of the latter class.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Saturday, November 02, 2002 - 08:59 am:

So, this means you agree with me, insofar as Z not being a garden-variety serial killer, and most profilers have limited scope. Right? The way you worded your post, one would think otherwise. I agree with your assessment on Z being the disaffected variety, although I can't say with certainty that he wasn't without sexual motivation altogether.

When Robert Ressler, former FBI BSU profiler, coined the term "serial killer" in the 70s, I'm not sure if it was intended to pertain only to multiple victims over an extended period of time, irrespective of underlying psychology, or if it specified the more purist notion of sado-sexual murderers who killed in a serial rather than in a one-fell-swoop fashion. Ressler was my instructor in 1978, as were several of his proteges at other times, John Douglas included, but I don't recall this distinction ever being discussed.

Be that as it may, modern-day usage of the profilers' "art" seems to use a broad brush with which their opinions are applied to so-called serial killers. When patent sexual elements are lacking, as with Z and others, these cases tend to provide the cracks through which the truth may fall.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Saturday, November 02, 2002 - 11:25 am:

Yes, Bill, I believe we're in agreement. So far as sexual motivation is concerned, I don't think of it as sexual in the sense that a sexual or pseudo-sexual thrill was being achieved by the killings. To all appearances Zodiac had some major sexual hangups, which is why he focused on heterosexual couples in lovers' lanes. Perhaps, being sexually frustrated, he rationalized that such people were up to no good and deserved to be punished for what they were doing--in the manner of the Lord High Executioner.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Saturday, November 02, 2002 - 12:40 pm:

Or he felt a murderous level of envy.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Saturday, November 02, 2002 - 03:36 pm:

Precisely. Rationalized as something else, of course. Otherwise his ego couldn't have borne the admission.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Monday, December 02, 2002 - 11:29 am:

A question we have not asked ourselves here is
Why the bloody shirt"?.That is, why choose this particular piece of evidence to include, when something else,that would have served the exact same purpose and would not have been half as troublesome to obtain,would have sufficed..He does appear to have went to extraordinary lenghts to obtain this and at great risk to himself.
He could have just as easily taken some other cutting without getting out of the back seat.
Decided to do a check on the origins of words and phrases and came upon an interesting piece. It may give us an insight to Zodiacs motivation, knowledge and perhaps his use of symbolism.
The use of "Bloody Shirt" as a metaphor for dramatic overkill has a long history.According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "Bloody Shirt" means specifically, "A blood-stained shirt exhibited as a symbol of murder or outrage" dates back to 1586 or the use of the term to mean a highly emotional argument or flagrant evidence of guilt is first cited in 1886 in the New York Weekly Times..."for the bourbons of the south to continue to play the color line....the southern bloody shirt".

By Nick (Nick) ( - on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 12:12 am:

I too am perplexed. Why was this peice so important? Shooting a man in the head and then dragging his bloody corpse into your lap is ghastly by any standard. There had to be a strong motivation in securing this particular article.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 09:05 pm:

In witchcraft bloody cloths were sent to ones enemy.
Dave Peterson believed Z was into witchcraft.
As Lampumo said 'why send a bloody shirt(and all the trouble he took to tear out a portion-including wasted time as cops were coming!)when something else would have done just as well.'
Z had Stines wallet and keys.The cards/papers in the wallet could have been sent and small parts of the wallet also.
This bloody shirt must have meant something more than just a 'trophy'.
Of course,the terror effect would be heightened by sending such a macabe item in the mail to the Editor of a major paper.You've just increased the sensationalism a hundred fold!
It does show Z thought nothing of murder and even wallowing in it.This was a very evil hardened person to say the least.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 12:44 am:

Howard, that would also explain why Z didn't panic when he encountered the SFPD officers within minutes after the Stine murder: he was truly a "hardened" criminal.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 07:45 am:

I think it was all about Symbolism.He was not only proving he killed Stine in a practical sense,but linking it to this specific item,the "Bloody Shirt" a symbolic representation
of "flagarant evidence of guilt,murder and dramatic overkill".It suggests to me that retrieving this particular item was part of his plan.Now if the taking of the shirt was symbolic,
what about the identification and missing key?
Were Taxi drivers identification cards clearly displayed in Cabs at that time?
Allen must of thought "all his birthday's came together".

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 08:18 am:

In my opinion, Stine's birthdate and any other zynchronicities noted since, were no more than coincidence, like a variation on the six degrees of separation kind of thing. Stine was a dead man before Z had even settled into the back seat. Taking the swatch of shirt, and even the keys and wallet, were unprecedented in earlier Z crimes, which is an obvious indication of specific intent coupled with a broader game plan. If the bloody shirt was, as Lapumo suggests, a symbolic gesture (sounds logical to me), it was likely but one phase of the scenario Z had orchestrated in the planning stage. He doesn't strike me as the impulsive, spontaneous type, rather, purposeful in all he did, right down to the smallest detail, yet adaptive enough to respond effectively to the inevitable unforeseen snags (to wit: taking out BLJ as she suddenly made a break).

The role of the wallet and keys was never played out, as far as we know, but it stands to reason that how they fit into the plan, in conjunction with the section of shirt, would be "key" to understanding his motivation behind the killing. We can speculate on this 'til the cows come home, but his moves were calculated, not unlike a chess player. The "bloody shirt" symbolism seems well within character for him.

By Zander Kite (Zk) ( - on Monday, December 09, 2002 - 02:47 pm:

I would guess that the bloody shirt idea was taken from Jack. Keep in mind, that the Ripper sent in a kidney and wrote that if they would wait a bit longer, he would send in the bloody knife that took it from her. Remember, that this letter was addressed "From Hell, Mr. Lusk, while Zodiac, began his 11-9-69 code: Herb Caen, I give them hell too. There's no doubt that Zodiac viewed Jack as a social-hero. Like they say, The Industrial Revolution was a welcoming-party for the serial killer, ushering in Jack to kick off the festivities. The Stine murder represented a shift from couples to targeting someone that Zodiac might look upon as a disfunctional and mindless servant for the rich. It's at this time that Zodiacs writings are laced with anti-Industrial and anti-working stiff theme.

By J Eric Freedner (J_Eric) ( - on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 08:02 pm:

Just read a story in an aircraft magazine that brought to mind something not yet presented on Stine's shirt: by custom, flight instructors cut the shirt of a pilot after his first successful solo flight. (Pilots are so silly sometimes!) Did Zodiac have knowledge of flying? Was he hinting that Stine had been his first "solo" victim? (If so, that knocks out Bates.)

A bit far-fetched perhaps, but a possible explanation as to why Z chose the shirt when he also had the car keys and wallet, good enough for proof of his foul deed.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) ( - on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 12:05 pm:

Good job, J. Eric!

By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 05:44 pm:

A few points.

The license, well ok maybe, but who is going to mail keys?

The shirt would provide nearly as many samples as he needed, depending on how small he cut the pieces. He used three. This would not have been so easy with a drivers license.

The bloody shirt is more symbolic of guilt than would be the other items.

The other items could have been taken to shore up a taxi robbery scenario, masking his identity as Zodiac in the event he got caught, which very nearly happened.

He went to some effort to retreive the shirt, using precious time and probably getting a fair amount of blood on his clothing. This would not seem to be an economic way of making the point that Stine was a "solo" effort. That point would have been immediately obvious to investigators anyway.

He could have been hinting at something else, for instance the missing ID and/or the missing key (to a cipher?)

By Nick (Nick) ( on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 01:08 am:

If he had time, I'll bet he would have carved out an organ to send. But he didn't, so the swath of bloody clothing had to do. And yes, it sends a much stronger message than the keys or license.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) ( - on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 09:05 am:

Maybe the piece of Stines shirt, a piece of fabric, is also related to the flowered piece of material that Darlene was given, which she used to make the outfit she was killed in, and what she was wearing before (July 4th)she changed clothes, a red and blue starred outfit on a white background. Stars and stripes, and red, white, and blue, all represent the American flag.

A blanket used by Cecelia and Bryan could also be considered a large piece of fabric. Elizabeth Stride (a JTR victim) gave Catherine Lane a large piece of green velvet to hold until she returned. Green velvet could represent grass, where you lay on a blanket. Flowers are what you'd find in a park also.