Richard Marshall interview below.
Although no hard facts tie Rick Marshall to any of the crimes, there is again food for thought with various coincidences.
Richard R. Marshall was born in Texas (04.07.1928 - 09.08.2008), which makes him the correct age range (25-45 years) given by the surviving victims Bryan Hartnell and Michael Mageau, along with the three teenagers and Officer Donald Fouke at Presidio Heights.
He lived in the key areas during the majority of the attacks, residing in Riverside in close proximity to the murder scene of Cheri Jo Bates in 1966 and in a basement residence in Scott Street,San Francisco, just a few miles from the Washington and Cherry Street intersection where taxicab driver Paul Stine was murdered in Presidio Heights with a single shot to the head. The killer requisitioned the taxicab at the corner of Mason and Geary Street, also in close proximity to the Scott Street residence.
Rick Marshall lived in San Francisco for 20 years, between 1969 and 1989.
Formed in 1961, the Lyric Photoplay Film Society were dedicated individuals on a mission to preserve the great silent movies of yesteryear, which often degraded with the passage of time, having been filmed on cellulose nitrate and were therefore extremely combustible. Inspired by a big Wurlitzer pipe organ, its first members included Edward Millington Stout III, Vernon Gregory and Richard Marshall, but it was Gregory who found the Wurlitzer in Chicago. The Wurlitzer was originally manufactured for performances at the Chicago State Lake Theatre. It was then transported back to the Bay Area of San Francisco, destined for Gregory's Piedmont residence, however, because of its size it was reconsidered for the Portrero Hill Theater. This plan was again scuppered due to building code restrictions, with the Wurlitzer finally ending up at the San Francisco Avenue Theatre with the assistance of Rick Marshall. It is here it would delight the audiences of the day, accompanying many of the classic silent films before the Avenue Theatre, hampered by neighborhood conditions, closed for the final time on December 22nd 1984. Rick Marshall would give an insight on his thoughts: "The people who made these movies were people out to hustle and make a buck. They had no idea they were creating the only truly modern art form. It all came about quite accidentally. But it is no less meaningful and valuable because of it".
At the time Rick Marshall was employed as an engineer for Bay Area radio station KTIM, in addition to running the Avenue Movie Theatre, including projectionist work which specialized in silent movies. One of his favorite films was 'The Red Phantom', highlighted as a potential Zodiac correspondence when the Red Phantom Letter was mailed from Marin County to the San Francisco Chronicle on July 8th 1974. The Zodiac Killer had a penchant for the theatrical, appearing in costume at Lake Berryessa on September 27th 1969 and citing Gilbert & Sullivan's 'The Mikado' twice in his July 26th 1970 letter. The 1974 Exorcist letter would feature film and theater, the Citizen card expressed consternation at the 1973 Badlands movie and the Red Phantom letter, likewise, may have been referencing a theatrical release of the film El Espectro Rojo or The Red Phantom, as detailed by Tom Voigt on his website Zodiackiller.com. This provides another avenue of inspiration behind the Red Phantom pseudonym chosen by the July 8th 1974 author. It is certainly in keeping with the film and theater angle, heavily laden in the 1974 communications. El Espectro Rojo or The Red Phantom played at the Port Theater in Mill Valley, Marin County on the 27th and 28th April 1974, just three months prior to the arrival of the Red Phantom letter.
The upkeep and viability of the Avenue Theatre was a constant battle, with Marshall having to recruit volunteer juvenile offenders to assist in its daily running. The theater funded the running of old movies on Tuesday and Wednesday by showing more contemporary productions for the rest of the week. The Avenue Theater at 2650 San Bruno Avenue, San Francisco opened its doors to the paying public on July 27th 1927, and was situated approximately 4.5 miles from the Mason and Geary Street intersection in the theater district, where Paul Stine fatefully picked up the Zodiac Killer on October 11th 1969. See on Google Maps.
View the movie poster handwritten by Rick Marshall for two upcoming Charlie Chaplin shows at the Avenue Theatre, entitled Caught in a Cabaret (1914) and The Property Man (1914).
On the Zodiac Killer Site forum, Rick Marshall's handwriting is analyzed alongside the October 13th 1969 'Paul Stine' letter, the November 9th 1969 'Bus Bomb' letter and the S.L.A. letter on February 3rd 1974, all mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle. To view this interesting thread visit here.
graphically describes the repeated stabbing and murder of Cheri Jo Bates on October 30th 1966 outside the Riverside City College library.
The Exorcist Letter, widely believed to be the last authenticated correspondence from the Zodiac Killer, was mailed on January 29th 1974 after a three year hiatus by the killer. The communication would yet again finish with a veiled threat, that included strange oriental style characters at the foot of the correspondence, said to marry up closely to ones used on KTIM call letters.
Robert Graysmith, who spent ten years researching for his book Zodiac, has ultimately confirmed he visited the home of a man who knew Rick Marshall and ended up in the homeowner's basement, where he described hearing footsteps in the above room which unsettled him - as the owner had reassured him they were alone. This man was Bob Vaughn (see below), a professional organist who played in silent movie theaters, turning up at the San Bruno Avenue Theatre in 1968, as well as playing at the Port Theater where Rick Marshall worked in 1974, along with the Roxie Theater in San Francisco. This was depicted in the 2007 David Fincher Zodiac film to be the person responsible for the handwriting on the movie theater posters, however, Bob Vaughn would have been too old to be the Zodiac Killer based on eyewitness testimony, and was never regarded as a credible suspect by law enforcement.
Speculation circulated in certain quarters that Rick Marshall may have had an accomplice in the Zodiac crimes, which included Richard Gaikowski because of his love of classic films also - and his running of the Roxie Theatre in the Bay area.
Rick Marshall was an engineer, had a knowledge of electrics and was an avid ham radio enthusiast. It has been suggested that his familiarity with electrical diagrams would have enabled him to construct such material as depicted in the Bus Bomb diagram, mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle on April 20th 1970. As a ham radio operator, or amateur radio enthusiast, he would have took to the airwaves for private recreation on a non-commercial basis. See here.
Ken Narlow, one of the lead Zodiac investigators, studied Rick Marshall on account of the apparent fascination the Zodiac Killer had with The Mikado and the silent movie connection, but ultimately concluded that Rick Marshall was not a viable suspect. If we believe the many fingerprints held on file are the actual prints of the killer, then we have to exclude Rick Marshall as the Zodiac Killer, as his fingerprints provided no match.
Rick Marshall was 61 years old when interviewed for a television documentary in 1989, (seen here on the right), in which he said "I must have a double floating around, I hope the poor guy doesn't look like me, but the fact is, the characteristics you just mentioned fit me almost to a tee, I really am startled at the mass and accuracy of the detail, and obviously if they had been that forthcoming about that at the time I would have understood why they were investigating me, my innocence not withstanding, the details do fit". This Crimes of the Century video showing the Richard Marshall interview, begins at 1 minute and 14 seconds.
See also the Rick Marshall extracts from the film Zodiac here.
Rick Marshall was investigated by the Napa County Police Department, however, nothing tangible emerged and Marshall was in later years cleared from ongoing investigations shortly before his death in Marin County in 2008. He was also subject to an FBI investigation, but his records were expunged in 1993 and no files remain.
Robert Graysmith was a political cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle when the Zodiac Killer story broke, becoming obsessed with the unfolding mystery - an obsession that would eventually cost him his marriage. His fascination with the case, along with detailed information he had collected down the years led him to write his first Zodiac book, released in 1986, following this up with Zodiac Unmasked in 2002. In the 1986 book, Robert Graysmith would refer to Richard Marshall as Donald Jeff Andrews.
Charles Fleischer (Bob Vaughn) "This tip is how you got it in your head that Rick is the Zodiac".
Jake Gyllenhaal (Robert Graysmith) "That and the poster"
CF; "The poster"
JG; "The poster that Rick drew, the handwriting is the closest that we have ever come to a match".
CF; "Rick didn't draw any posters".
JG; "No, he drew this one"
CF; "Mr Graysmith, I do the posters myself".
This was the unnerving moment in the 2007 film Zodiac that Robert Graysmith, played by actor Jake Gyllenhaal, realized the uncomfortable possibility that he may actually be sitting in the home of the Zodiac Killer - but what is the truth? Robert Graysmith claims this encounter with Bob Vaughn took place.
Bob Vaughn, born in 1911, was a theater organist from an early age, having played at many venues including the Avenue Theatre at 2650 San Bruno Avenue, San Francisco - situated just off US Route 101, approximately 4 miles south of the Mason and Geary Street intersection, and a 7 mile drive to the Washington and Cherry Street intersection. He was the accompaniment to many movies in the silent film era, dating back as early as 1927, before the work eventually dried up, accentuated by the inevitable arrival of the 'talking film'. He was subsequently forced into a career change, working for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which dealt with checking and evaluating people at an official port of entry, as well as assessing applications for permanent residency. By the early years of 1960 he had moved back to San Francisco, working alongside Rick Marshall, a projectionist at the Avenue Theatre. Opening on July 20th 1927, it funded the running of old movies on Tuesday and Wednesday by showing more contemporary productions for the rest of the week, and where Bob Vaughn excelled as a pipe organist.
Bob Vaughn (90) died in 2002, however, his legacy remains - that of an exemplary musician, thrilling the captive audiences of a bygone era - but certainly not the Zodiac Killer as the sequence in the 2007 David Fincher film would want us to believe.
When the first murders on December 20th 1968 at Lake Herman Road occurred, Bob Vaughn was 57 years old, and although his name has cropped up in many Zodiac discussion boards by association with Rick Marshall, that is about as far as it can be taken. As for the Avenue Theatre, which closed its doors on December 22nd 1984, the nearest it came to the Zodiac case, other than Rick Marshall, is quite possibly when Paul Stine passed nearby on US Route 101 at approximately 9.30 pm on October 11th 1969 - his likely route from San Francisco International Airport to the theater district, after dropping off his final paying fare that fateful night.