The Zodiac Killer

Topics: Zodiac Killer, San Francisco Chronicle, Paul Avery Pages: 4 (1719 words) Published: December 10, 2008
Lucas Kelleher/ Street Law 10/3/08 The Zodiac Killer The Zodiac Killer is a serial killer who operated in Northern California in the late 1960s. His identity to this day still remains unknown. The Zodiac coined his name in a series of taunting letters he sent to the press. His letters included four cryptograms (or ciphers), three of which have yet to be solved. The Zodiac murdered five known victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Lake Berryessa, and San Francisco between December 1968 and October 1969. Four men and three women between the ages of 16 and 29 were targeted. Others have also been suspected to be Zodiac victims, but they have been ruled inconclusive. The lack of consensus about the number of victims, the inability of law enforcement to crack the ciphers, and the fact that several people have inconclusively been portrayed as "persons of interest" or possible suspects, has elicited this case's designation as a perfect crime. On August 1, 1969, three letters prepared by Zodiac were received at the Vallejo Times-Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Francisco Examiner. The nearly identical letters took credit for the shootings at Lake Herman Road and Blue Rock Springs. Each letter also included one-third of a 408-symbol cryptogram which the killer claimed contained his identity. Zodiac demanded they be printed on each paper's front page or he would "cruse [sic] around all weekend killing lone people in the night then move on to kill again, until I end up with a dozen people over the weekend." The Chronicle published its third of the cryptogram on page four of the next day's edition. An article printed alongside the code quoted Vallejo Police Chief Jack E. Stiltz as saying "We're not satisfied that the letter was written by the murderer" and requested the writer send a second letter with more facts to prove his identity. The threatened murders did not happen, and all three parts were eventually published. On October 14, 1969, the Chronicle received...
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