The Robbins children observed the murderer wipe down the taxicab that night, as detailed in the police report: "The suspect appeared to be searching the victim's pockets. (Witnesses never heard a gun shot). The suspect then appeared to be wiping (fingerprints) on the interior of the cab, leaning over the victim to the driver's compartment. The suspect then exited the cab by the passenger side front door, also wiping with a white rag, possibly a handkerchief. The suspect then walked around the cab to the driver's side and proceeded to wipe the exterior of the left door area."
This being the case, it would be very unusual for a killer to be wiping away fingerprints from the taxicab, had he used guards on his fingertips as claimed in the 'Bus Bomb' letter mailed on November 9th 1969: "As of yet I have left no fingerprints behind me contrary to what the police say in my killings I wear transparent fingertip guards. All it is is 2 coats of airplane cement coated on my fingertips -- quite unnoticible + very efective."
In a follow up statement the Robbins children went into more detail: "They both watched and observed in silence as Zodiac pushed the driver to an upright position behind the steering wheel, exited the car and walked around the rear of the car and opened the driver's door. Stine had fallen over onto the seat and Zodiac pulled him back up into the seated position and had some difficulty keeping him upright. Once upright, he was seen to have a rag, or something like a handkerchief and began to wipe down the door area and leaning over the driver, part of the dashboard. When he was finished, Zodiac calmly walked to Cherry St. and walked north."
When the Zodiac Killer left the crime scene Paul Stine's body must have slumped back across the passenger seat, because when Officer Armond Pelissetti arrived shortly thereafter, he stated "When I went over to the cab I could see Mr Paul Stine, who was slumped over the front seat with his head into the well on the passenger side in the front."
There was extensive blood pooling in the footwell (shown in photograph 1 below).
When the ambulance crew arrived shortly before 10.10 pm, they pulled Paul Stine from the passenger footwell into the position shown on the left.
They pronounced him dead at 10:10 pm.
It can be seen that there is a complete absence of blood on the tarmac below Paul Stine's head. This indicates that once they pulled him into this position to check for signs of life (causing the splashing of blood from his hands - shown by the white arrow), the photograph must have been taken almost immediately after they vacated the passenger side door. Otherwise there would have been blood present on the roadside beneath Paul Stine's head, as was evident in photograph 2 below.
This indicated that once the medical personnel had arrived at the taxicab and pulled Paul Stine into the position shown, their evaluation must have been brief. It was immediately determined that Paul Stine showed no signs of life and certainly negated any need to circle the taxicab depositing bloody fingerprints on the dividing panel by the driver side door.
This is the reason why photograph 1 must have been taken almost immediately after the ambulance crew retreated.
One unusual feature is the door position. Did the ambulance crew pull Paul Stine into this position without fully opening the door? Were they mindful of preserving the crime scene by their own volition, or under instruction?
Their priority was clearly the welfare of Paul Stine and determining signs of life - but if they had opened the passenger door fully, then it must have either fell back to the position shown on the right or been manually placed back in this position.
The reasoning for this is shown in photograph 3.
When the medical personnel extricated Paul Stine from the taxicab, a street guide was dragged out onto the roadside. This indicated that it was probably located under the body of Paul Stine on the passenger seat of the vehicle. This sheds doubt on the premise of a front seat passenger, although it cannot rule it out entirely.
The relationship between the inner door handle (in brown on photograph 4) and the blood on the roadside can be seen as markedly different from photograph 2 (and therefore photograph 1).
The similar wider door positions in photograph 3 and photograph 4, indicate that the door was pulled open to acquire better pictures of the inside of the taxicab, before they eventually removed the body of Paul Stine.
This brief timeline takes us from the moment the Zodiac Killer left the front passenger seat of the taxicab, to the time the street guide was photographed on the roadside.
The poignant reminder of a journey that has now lasted 49 years - but a murder that should never be forgotten.