Melvin Belli, known as 'The King of Torts' by many, but also referred to as 'Melvin Bellicose' in a less favorable light by some, accepted the invitation to the Jim Dunbar Show, eventually receiving a telephone call from a man claiming to be the Zodiac, but Nancy Slover, Dave Slaight and Bryan Hartnell, the only three people to have heard the killer's voice, all categorically stated that the man who had phoned into the show was not the Zodiac. It turned out to be a mental patient called Eric Weil.
However the Oakland officer who took the original call believed that the voice from the channel 7 talk show did not match his mystery caller, leaving open the possibility that the Zodiac may have still been involved in events.
Whether this was the Zodiac or not, it triggered a response nearly two months later on December 20th 1969, on the first anniversary of Lake Herman Road murders, when a letter was received at the home residence of Melvin Belli, authenticated by the inclusion of a third portion of the shirt removed from murdered taxi driver Paul Stine, callously executed by a single shot to the head in Presidio Heights on October 11th 1969.
Again, four months later the Zodiac Killer appearing not to want to be kept from the limelight, sent his Button Letter on April 28th 1970, and in an apparent sideswipe to the prominent lawyer, appealed for his audience to wear 'some nice Zodiac buttons', citing that everyone else has them, such as ones reading 'Melvin Eats Blubber'. Although spelled differently, the intention appeared of a mocking nature, not unlike 'bellicose' that had been used in the derogatory previously.
The Zodiac Killer for whatever reason had closely affiliated himself with Melvin Belli, although it appeared, that it may just have been as likely this affinity could have turned to attorney Francis Lee Bailey, had he originally put himself forward on the channel 7 show.
However, Francis Lee Bailey was not to be forgotten by the Zodiac Killer or at the very least it appeared that way.
After the questionable Pines Card of March 22nd 1971, the Zodiac Killer seemingly disappeared from prominence, either through incarceration, work commitments or simply by choice, having found a new pathway. But he was to reappear, just shy of three years later, heralding the Exorcist Letter on January 29th 1974, closely followed by the SLA letter on Valentine's Day of that year.
The letters of this period took a turn, and appeared less threatening, with the emphasis now shifting to a media driven fascination, citing the movies The Exorcist, Badlands, The Red Phantom and indeed implied he was showing an avid interest in the current news of the day.
Throughout 1973 and 1974, breaking stories were pushing the Zodiac murders further from the front pages and in an apparent late rally, the killer attempted to thrust himself back into prominence, allying himself to news articles, fearing his notoriety was beginning to dwindle. The Zebra murders in San Francisco spanning seven months from October 19th 1973 to April 16th 1974 and the Patty Hearst kidnapping from her Berkeley, California apartment by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) on February 4th 1974, seemed to reignite the dormant Zodiac into a response, but with one key figure possibly still prominent in his thinking.
Attorney Francis Lee Bailey defended Patty Hearst, but suffered a rare defeat, with Hearst dissatisfied at his closing arguments in the case, suspecting he was under the influence of alcohol. Was the Zodiac Killer in any way connected to the justice system himself, in terms of employment, or possibly engaged in the media or newspapers, spawning this allegiance.
The SLA Letter was received at the San Francisco Chronicle on February 14th 1974, only 10 days after the Patty Hearst kidnapping, stating 'Dear Mr Editor, Did you know the initials SLAY (Symbionese Liberation Army) spell sla, an old Norse word meaning "kill". a friend.'
William Randolph Hearst beginnings started when he took charge of the San Francisco Examiner in 1887 and his life story was the inspiration that drove the lead character in Orson Welles 1941 film Citizen Kane, in certain polls voted the greatest film of all time.
Was the Zodiac Killer to continue with the Francis Lee Bailey and Patty Hearst thread, through to his next letter.when the Citizen or Badlands Letter dropped onto the desk of the San Francisco Chronicle on May 8th 1974, just under three months later. The killer may have been compelled to write, as he stated 'by the running of ads for the movie Badlands' , a film written and directed by Terrence Malick in 1973, based on the real life events of Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate, who went on a killing spree in Nebraska and Wyoming in 1958, signing off his letter with 'A Citizen'.
But it has been suggested on many forums he was using the word citizen to imply a link to Citizen Kane. So we can therefore take it one step further and provide a backlink to his previous SLA Letter, with the Hearst name prevailing through both letters.
The Citizen Card criticized the glorification of Badlands in light of recent events, the Exorcist Letter was a notable anniversary of Charles Starkweather's arrest and the SLA letter can be associated with the Citizen Card/Badlands Letter through the Hearst family name, tying up all three pieces of correspondence. But if the Citizen Kane angle is not one you subscribe to, then the pack of cards we have just built is sitting on fragile ground.
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