On the 4th August 1969 the San Francisco Examiner received a letter with smudged writing, probably mailed on either the 2nd or 3rd of August, as the envelope has either been lost or misplaced. The Zodiac Killer detailed the first two attacks at Lake Herman Road and Blue Rock Springs Park and goaded the police by writing "By the way, are the police having a good time with the code?". However the code was to be deciphered only four days later by a local couple Donald Gene and Bettye June Harden of Salinas, California. The code unfortunately though, if unsurprisingly, never revealed his identity as he had claimed it would.
However the first line of the correspondence was key and undoubtedly a direct reply to Vallejo Police Chief Jack E Stiltz who still expressed doubts regarding the Zodiac Killer. Jack E Stiltz was a native Vallejoan who first joined the police force in 1939, and oversaw many changes, including the new station located at 111 Amador Street, before retiring with health issues in 1970. Jack E Stiltz died in 1974.
The Zodiac sent three coded segments in three letters on July 31st 1969 to the San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle and Vallejo-Times Herald, giving details of the first two crimes to police. The Zodiac Killer seemingly though still had a lot to prove to Police Chief Jack E Stiltz, who was less than satisfied that the letter writer and killer were one and the same, as can be seen below in this extract from from the Saturday August 2nd 1969 San Francisco Chronicle. He requested the writer to send a second letter "with more facts to prove it."
Another Zodiac article featured the following day on Sunday August 3rd 1969 in the San Francisco Examiner. Jack E Stiltz was 'still not convinced the letters and codes were written by the actual killer.' The police chief 'urged the writer to send more letters, with more facts to prove his connections to the crimes.' See article to the right.
The Zodiac Killer's response was swift when he mailed the 'Debut of Zodiac' Letter just one day later on August 4th 1969 to the San Francisco Examiner, to leave you in no doubt he was replying directly to Jack E Stiltz.
The letter also details his 'encounter' with an as yet unidentified black male by the payphone at the intersection of Springs Road and Tuolumne Street in Vallejo. This was the Zodiac Killer's first contact with police, just 40 minutes after the brutal shooting of Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau at Blue Rock Springs Park on July 4th 1969. The police dispatcher that morning was Nancy Slover, the first person to hear the killer's voice. The Zodiac uttered these ominous words, "I wish to report a double murder. If you will go one mile east on Columbus Parkway to a public park, you will find the kids in a brown car. They have been shot by a 9 mm Luger. I also killed those kids last year.... Good-bye".
The letter below was to arrive at the San Francisco Examiner just one month later.
The note said;
This is the Zodiac speaking.
In answer to your asking for more details about the good times I have had in Vallejo, I shall be very happy to supply even more material. By the way, are the police having a good time with the code? If not, tell them to cheer up; when they do crack it, they will have me. On the 4th of July I did not open the car door. The window was rolled down all ready. The boy was origionaly sitting in the front seat when I began fireing. When I fired the first shot at his head, he leaped backwards at the same time, thus spoiling my aim. He ended up on the back seat then the floor in back thashing out very violently with his legs; that's how I shot him in the knee. I did not leave the cene of the killing with squealling tires + raceing engine as described in the Vallejo paper. I drove away quite slowly so as not to draw attention to my car. The man who told police that my car was brown was a negro about 40-45 rather shabbly dressed. I was in this phone booth having some fun with the Vallejo cop when he was walking by. When I hung the phone up the damn thing began to ring & that drew his attention to me + my car.
Last Christmass In that epasode the police were wondering how I could shoot + hit my victims in the dark. They did not openly state this, but implied this by saying it was a well lit night + I could see silowets on the horizon. Bullshit that area is srounded by high hills + trees. What I did was tape a small pencel flash light to the barrel of my gun. If you notice, in the center of the beam of light if you aim it at a wall or ceiling you will see a black or darck spot in the center of the circle of light about 3 to 6 inches across. When taped to a gun barrel, the bullet will strike in the center of the black dot in the light. All I had to do was spray them as if it was a water hose; there was no need to use the gun sights. I was not happy to see that I did not get front page coverage.
Zodiac symbol inserted here
On the right are the three pages of correspondence mailed by the Zodiac Killer. The writing is not very clear, but click on the page you want to view to enlarge the image. Once the image has appeared you can click on the letter a further time to expand it for even greater clarity.
The Zodiac Killer would highlight this correspondence a further time when he mailed the 'Bus Bomb' letter on November 9th 1969, in reference to the Vallejo Cop.
At the foot of the 'Bus Bomb' letter Zodiac stated "To prove that I am the Zodiac, Ask the Vallejo cop about my electric gun sight which I used to start my collecting of slaves."
Shortly after the Presidio Heights murder of taxicab driver Paul Stine on October 11th 1969 the police claimed that Zodiac could not have been hiding in the park, and had left fingerprints on the interior and exterior of the taxicab, particularly the blooded fingerprints on the driver side panel. Zodiac again felt compelled to reply in the November 9th 1969 Bus Bomb Letter, just like he had in the 'Debut of Zodiac' letter above; "I have grown rather angry with the police for their telling lies about me...... p.s. 2 cops pulled a goof abot 3 min after I left the cab. I was walking down the hill to the park when this cop car pulled up + one of them called me over + asked if I saw anyone acting suspicious or strange in the last 5 to 10 min + I said yes there was this man who was runnig by waveing a gun & the cops peeled rubber + went around the corner as I directed them + I disappeared into the park a block + a half away never to be seen again." and again asked for press coverage. "By the way it could be rather messy if you try to bluff me. PS. Be shure to print the part I marked out on page 3 or I shall do my thing. To prove that I am the Zodiac, Ask the Vallejo cop about my electric gun sight which I used to start my collecting of slaves."
The last time the Zodiac was doubted he supplied extra details of the Blue Rock Springs and Lake Herman Road attacks to Vallejo Police Chief Jack E Stiltz and he again did the same in the Bus Bomb Letter, reminding everybody that he indeed was the Zodiac Killer. In other words do not doubt him and "Ask the Vallejo cop about my electric gun sight which I used to start my collecting of slaves." The Vallejo cop he is referring to is Jack E Stiltz. The Vallejo cop to whom he sent details about his improvised gun sight in the 'Debut of Zodiac' Letter only three months earlier. He proved to Jack E Stiltz that he was both the letter writer and the killer, and again here in the Bus Bomb Letter, he is referring back to this Vallejo cop.., and to not doubt him again.