The Zodiac Killer
by Jacqueline Gonzalez
Who was he?
“I like killing people because it is so much fun." - line from a decoded message of the Zodiac Killer
- First Victim - It is suspected that Chari Jo Bates, a college student in Riverside, California, was the Zodiac's first victim. Bates was found murdered outside her school's library on October 30th, 1966. There were reports of a white male driving around the scene at the time of the crime and the police also found a watch there too. A letter allegedly written by the killer was sent to a local newspaper a month later. Then months after that, more letters were sent to the police, media, as well as the father of the victim that claimed to be written by the killer.
- "Bates had to die. There will be more." was written in all the letters.
- Next victims - David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen were shot and killed on December 20th, 1968 in Vallejo, California. Faraday was shot in the head once and Jensen was shot five times in the back while they were parked at a local lover's lane.
- More victims - Mike Mageau and Darlene Ferrin were attacked by the killer on July 4th, 1969, also in Vallejo California. Mageau and Ferrin were both shot at in the parking lot of Blue Rock Springs Park. Mageau survived the attack but Ferrin was not as lucky, she died at the scene of the attack.
- Even more victims - Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Sheppard were attacked by the killer on September 27th, 1969. This time the killer decided to stab the couple repeatedly instead of shooting them. Hartnell survived but Sheppard died two days after the attack in the hospital. The killer left a message on the car door of Hartnell's car that had the dates of the killer's earlier victims.
- 2 weeks later, Paul Stine, a taxi driver, was shot and killed by the killer in point blank range on October 11th, 1969.
His cipher was cracked by a teacher from Salinas. The message didn't include his name but gave the police an insight on his personality such as when he stated that he "liked killing because it was fun." and that his victims would become his slaves in the after life.
On August of 1969, the killer sent a letter to the San Francisco Examiner in which he called himself "Zodaic."
In 2004, the case was announced as inactive by a member of the San Francisco Police Department.
Through out the years there has been a lot of speculation as well as more discoveries about the Zodiac Killer. In 2007, the producer of the Zodiac movie managed to find letters from the killer in police files during his research for the movie. He found them to be untested for DNA and many hoped that this would bring the case back to light. Then in 2014, The Most Dangerous Animal of All was released and in that book the author, Gary L. Stewart, claimed to have been the son of the real killer. While many doubt it to be true there have been some information about the author's father that could possibly link him to the crimes such as his criminal record and resemblance to the police sketch.