Richard Gaikowski, born in Watertown, Codington County, South Dakota (March 14th 1936-April 30th 2004), was a newspaper journalist and filmmaker who also became linked to the Zodiac Killer case in respect to several key points.
Brought to the attention of Zodiac investigators by an informant, who to protect his identity went by the pseudonym Goldcatcher, spoke of having worked with Richard Gaikowski at a Bay Area newspaper, surreptitiously making about 10 hours of recordings of his former work colleague in the 1980s and ultimately became convinced he was the Zodiac Killer. According to Goldcatcher, it appeared that Richard Gaikowski seemed to know too much about the Bay Area murders.
Richard Gaikowski was involved in the running of the underground, counterculture Good Times newspaper at the same time as the infamous Zodiac killings, which ran its operation close to the residence of Paul Stine who lived at 1842 Fell Street, San Francisco. Apparently, the staff at the newspaper collective were at their busiest on a Wednesday - the only day that the Zodiac Killer would never mail a communication to newspapers during the height of his activity. The Good Times Newspaper Collective was located at 2377 Bush Street, approximately 1.34 miles from the intersection of Mason and Geary Streets and the widely presumed area where Paul Sine was thought to have picked up the Zodiac Killer on his fateful last journey on October 11th 1969. The Good Times was also close to the intersection of Washington and Cherry Streets where Paul Stine's body was ultimately found (1.15 miles by crow).
Richard Gaikowski trained as a medic in the army - interesting on two fronts - because of  the military style 'wing walker' boot impressions found leading to and from the crime scene in the Zodiac Killer's third attack at Lake Berryessa on September 27th 1969, and  after the brutal murder of taxicab driver Paul Stine in Presidio Heights on October 11th 1969, where the killer supposedly tore off a neat, rectangular piece of the victim's shirt by hand. This was a common practice taught to medical personnel in the field, especially during times of war, where bandages and tourniquets were at a premium - and not a practice that would have been familiar to the general public. However, the three Robbins teenagers who witnessed the unfolding events that night, described that "the driver looked sick, or something". Lindsey and Rebecca went to the window and saw the driver laying across the front seat with his head toward the passenger door and positioned in the lap of another man (passenger). Rebecca saw blood and said out loud, "he's stabbing that man". She stated that she noticed blood on the victim and saw the glint of a knife, so assumed a stabbing was taking place (no shots were heard by anyone). When we consider a knife was not used in the murder of Paul Stine - and assuming the teenagers were accurate in spotting a knife - then it's arguable that the killer used a knife to remove the section of Paul Stine's shirt, rather than the claim it was torn from the victim. Of course, if your suspect was a medic and possibly trained in the removal of sections of clothing in such a fashion (being a small fraction of the population), then it's obviously in your interest to argue for the tearing of the shirt, as opposed to its cutting. This would be a case of the suspect shaping your conclusion - a practice adopted by many people with prime suspects in the Zodiac murders.
It has also been suggested that Richard Gaikowski was present at the funeral of Paul Stine, the final confirmed victim of the Zodiac Killer. The claim that Richard Gaikowski was known to Paul Stine is often used to push the narrative of a front seat passenger in the taxicab of Paul Stine. Supporters of Richard Gaikowski (having heard through a second person) that Inspector Bill Armstrong reached the conclusion of a front seat killer on October 11th 1969, gladly adopted this narrative as reliable because of their belief Gaikowski and Stine were known to one another. This is another case of the suspect leading the conclusions, despite the fact there is not one piece of evidence from the crime scene that supports such a notion. The limited blood on the front passenger seat is often touted as reason for a killer sitting alongside Paul Stine. Any knowledge of blood pattern analysis caused from high velocity impact such as a projectile (bullet), would tell you that it is not factual to conclude that blood in the form of back spatter would be present on the front passenger seat as a given, had the murderer been seated in the rear of the taxicab. The lack of blood on the front passenger seat is therefore not requiring of a person sitting alongside Paul Stine. Contacting a reputable and accredited bloodstain pattern analyst would confirm this to be the case
He also abbreviated his surname to Gaik and Gike, providing a source of the four letters found in the cipher mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle on July 31st 1969, albeit with the insertion of the letter Y to spell Gyke.
In later years, Nancy Slover stated that Richard Gaikowski's voice was the closest she had ever heard to the voice she remembered from the payphone call on July 5th 1969. She was the police dispatcher who took the call from the murderer at 12:40 am, approximately 40 minutes after the murder of Darlene Ferrin and attempted murder of Michael Mageau at Blue Rock Springs Park on July 4th 1969. Although many years had passed until she eventually heard the recording of Richard Gaikowski's voice, she argued that she had good reasons not to forget it because the Zodiac's voice was indelibly etched into her brain from that traumatic payphone call. In a History Channel documentary she stated that “It’s the same guy". When prompted on her confidence, she replied, “I ... well ... I am. Nobody I have listened to before even came close to him. In my opinion, that is the man that called Vallejo Police Department in the early morning hours of July 5th 1969. I just know what my gut feeling is, and my reaction is". But having heard Richard Gaikowski's voice for the first time several decades after the Zodiac Killer payphone call, this sort of evidence is tenuous at best.
It can be seen that nothing remotely described as evidence ties Richard Gaikowski to any of the Bay Area murders. Michael Butterfield is one of the foremost Zodiac experts having been an adviser for the 2007 movie Zodiac, yet qualifies any Zodiac link to Richard Gaikowski as weak, with the obvious lack of credibility of Goldcatcher as a reliable source, despite this individual having gained high profile advocates on some Zodiac Killer forums. Michael Butterfield points to his interviews with leading detectives as most compelling, such as Ken Narlow's involvement with the Lake Berryessa case, Ed Rust's connection with Blue Rock Springs, and Pierre Bidou on the Lake Herman Road murders - and firmly these advocates have railroaded Gaikowski in as the prime suspect off the back of a host of dubious claims from the ever changing stories of the so-called Goldcatcher.
Despite this suspect continuing to be put forward off the back of ever vague links, the San Francisco Police Department have ruled Richard Gaikowski out of the Zodiac murders, despite claims their failure to pursue evidence lines is tantamount to some sort of conspiracy. Michael Butterfield stresses even when a suspect is ruled out, either by DNA or fingerprints, the Zodiac theorist fails to be convinced, creating ever more incredulous theories to circumvent the evidence, as did Robert Graysmith in his conviction that Arthur Leigh Allen was the Zodiac Killer despite increasing evidence to the contrary.
Several years ago, Bode Technologies in Lorton, Virginia, performed touch DNA on letters mailed by Richard Gaikowski - but when results were submitted they produced two mixed DNA profiles from a male and female, assumed to be Robert Loomis and his wife (friends of Richard Gaikowski), who had also handled the letters in the interim. Further tests were undertaken on the sealed part of the envelope (an area protected from extraneous handling) and it produced a partial male DNA profile. In 2002, the San Francisco Police Department extracted a partial DNA profile from a letter mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle, believed at the time to be that of the Zodiac Killer's, yet despite early optimism of a potential breakthrough, recently the validity of those DNA tests have been heavily criticized and deemed erroneous.
Mystery Quest productions requested the DNA profile from police for a comparison, but they refused, resulting in Mystery Quest sending their findings to police in the hope they would check for any match and either incriminate or eliminate Richard Gaikowski from this long running investigation. Mystery Quest also sent their findings to the Napa County Sheriff's Office so they could rule in or out any connection to the Lake Berryessa attack, when compared to DNA possibly lifted from the bindings used to restrain victims Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard on September 27th 1969.
In 1966 Richard Gaikowski worked for the Albany, New York, Knickerbocker News publication, immersing himself in the political issues of the day. At the same time the civil rights group The Brothers, an African/American collective of around twenty members were actively involved with some measure of success in improving social housing, public schools, police brutality issues and other projects in Albany's North and South End and Arbor Hill, drawing close scrutiny when they highlighted the alleged Albany Democratic vote buying scandal in November 1968. Members included Leon Van Dyke, Gordon Van Ness and Clarence Williams - whose paths crossed with Richard Gaikowski because he was a frequent visitor to their Albany headquarters. The group followed the Martin Luther King policy of non-violent protest, something that courted admiration from Richard Gaikowski, who himself detailed the struggles of black minorities against the backdrop of racial injustice that permeated the American society of the day. The Brothers ran the Albany Liberator newspaper from 1967 to 1971. But things were about to change during the turbulent year of 1968. The assassination of Martin Luther King on April 4th 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, followed by Robert Kennedy's assassination on June 6th 1968 in Los Angeles, California, would in two brief months change the American political landscape dramatically. Richard Gaikowski, disillusioned by the year's events, meant his stay in Albany and the Knickerbocker News was on borrowed time, as was the lifespan of The Brothers, which dissolved at the beginning of the 1970s.
On August 1st 1973, the Albany Times Union newspaper received a letter claiming to be from the Zodiac Killer and threatening to murder his next victim on August 10th at 5:00 pm during a hospital shift change. It contained a cryptic code deciphered to read "Albany Medical Center. This only the beginning". SEE HERE for accompanying story.
Richard Gaikowski worked for the Albany-Knickerbocker News until the second half of 1968, before leaving for Europe, eventually writing an article on the struggles of Northern Ireland sectarianism, which he witnessed first hand as violence erupted during a march from Belfast to Derry on Wednesday 1st January 1969. However, this timeline will be countered by many, including Tom Voigt, who has previously stated there is no record of Richard Gaikowski out of the country until the February of 1969. Here is a newspaper article from the Knickerbocker News in Albany, New York, dated Friday, January 31st 1969 (see above right) suggesting otherwise. It states "Special Report from Belfast : The bricks are flying in Northern Ireland. The Catholics are singing "We shall overcome" and a vociferous Protestant group rallies against "popery". The situation is explosive. Richard Gaikowski, former reporter for The Knickerbocker News, has been on the scene of the protests and rioting. He tells about them in an article that will appear tomorrow on the editorial page of The Knickerbocker News". An extract that seemed to suggest Richard Gaikowski was indeed out of the country prior to the February of 1969. SEE HERE and scroll to the bottom. The following timeline is a chronology of the main events detailing the People's Democracy March from Saturday 5th October 1968, through to Wednesday 15th January 1969. SEE TIMELINE.
Videos from the People's Democracy march
adult themed productions. Alongside Robert Evans, in 1976, he transformed the theater back into a repertory calendar house for the showing of independent films, documentaries, art-based productions and the unconventional. The Roxie would become home for the San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (SFILGFF) who began screenings there in 1979. Post Roxie Theater, Richard Gaikowski was integral in the punk scene, along with independent film making, amassing reels of punk rock material which he rented out through his One Way Films catalog. These shorts featured groups and artists such as The Residents, Dead Kennedys, Cramps, Chrome, Tuxedo Moon, William Burroughs, Snakefinger, Sal Giamonna and The Offs. He made a seven minute short film entitled Deaf Punk in the late 1970s, and in 1985 he founded an electronic bulletin board called Newsbase.
Richard Gaikowski died of lung cancer at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Center in 2004, aged 68. Despite being linked to the Zodiac murders through the anonymous "Goldcatcher" and the claims of certain Zodiac researchers, the case against Richard Gaikowski fails to convince to even the most basic of standards.
Go to the 20th line on the 408 cipher, symbols 4 to 7 and transplant these four letters GYKE onto the 20th line, symbols 4 to 7 of the 340 cipher like so, to form GYKES ZODIAC or GYKEAUSEKEYS ZODIAC.
It is now possible to see the correct abbreviation of his name, GAIK, in order across the line.
1963 June 4th-The Domingos/Edwards Murders
1966 October 30th-The Cheri Jo Bates Murder
1966 November 29th-The Confession Letter
1966 December- The Riverside Desktop Poem
1967 April 30th- The Three Bates Letters
1968 December 20th-The Lake Herman Murders
1969 July 4th-The Blue Rock Springs Attack
1969 July 31st- Vallejo Times-Herald Letter and
408 Cipher Page1 (solved)
1969 July 31st- Examiner Letter and
408 Cipher Page 2 (solved)
1969 July 31st- Chronicle Letter and
408 Cipher Page 3 (87% solved)
1969 July 31st- The Complete 408 Cipher
1969 August 3rd- The Snoozy & Furlong Murders
1969 August 4th- Debut of Zodiac Letter
1969 August 10th- Concerned Citizen Card
1969 September 27th- The Lake Berryessa Attack
1969 October 7th- The Good Citizen Letter
1969 October 11th- The Presidio Heights Murder
1969 October 13th-The Paul Stine Letters
1969 October 14/15th- Zodiac Call to Santa Rosa
1969 October 21st- The Phone Call to Palo Alto
1969 October 22nd- Call to Chat Show
1969 November 2nd- Daniel Williams Poisoning
1969 November 8th-The Dripping Pen Card and
340 Cipher (solved in 2020)
1969 November 9th-The Bus Bomb Letter
1969 November 19th-The Riddler Notes
1969 November 21st-The San Jose Code Letter
1969 November 28th-The Betsy Aardsma Murder
1969 December 7th- Oklahoma Radio Call
1969 December 7th-The 1st Fairfield Letter
1969 December 10th- Forecast for Cancer
1969 December 11th- Forecast for Leo
1969 December 16th-The 2nd Fairfield Letter
1969 December 19th- Zodiac Call to San Jose
1969 December 20th-The Melvin Belli Letter
1970 January 4th- Phone Call to Peggy Trainer
1970 Feb 21st- The Hood and Garcia Murders
1970 March 22nd-The Modesto Attack
1970 April 15th-The Robert Salem Murder
1970 April 20th-"My Name is" Letter,
Cipher 3 and Bus Bomb Diagram
1970 April 28th-The Dragon Card
1970 June 18th- Oakland A's Letter
1970 June 26th-The Button Letter
Cipher 4 and Map
1970 July 4th-The Sleeping Bag Murders
1970 July 24th-The Kathleen Johns Letter
1970 July 26th-The Little List Letter
1970 Sept 6th-The Donna Lass Disappearance
1970 October 5th-13 Hole Postcard
1970 October 17th- "You Are Next" Postcard
1970 October 27th-The Halloween Card
1971 March 13th-The Los Angeles Letter
1971 March 22nd-The Pines Card
1971 Possibly May- The 148 Character Cipher
1971 July 13th-The Monticello Card
1972 June 29th- The Novato Letter
1973 August 1st- The Albany Letter
1974 January 29th-The Exorcist Letter
1974 February 3rd-The SLA Letter
1974 May 8th-The Citizen Card
1974 July 8th-The Red Phantom Letter
1974 December 27th- Christmas Card
1975 November 3rd- The Belmont Letter
1976 August 26th-The Deep Real Estate Ad
1978 March 13th- The "I Am Back" Phone Call
1978 April 24th-The 1978 Letter
1978 May 2nd- The Channel Nine Letter
1978 July 19th- The Scotch Tape Letter
1981 March 8th- The Atlanta Letter
1982 January (?) - The Santa Claus Card
1986 May 6th- The Freeway Letter
1987 October 28th- The 1987 Letter
1988 February 1st- The McDonald's Letter
1988 February 8th- The McDonald's Letter 
1990 September 25th- The Celebrity Cypher
1990 December-American Greetings Card
1991-The Scorpion Ciphers to John Walsh
2001 January 10th- Happy New Year Card
Unknown DMV Letter (possibly November 1971)