The Zodiac Killer used every opportunity to ridicule the police and authorities in many of his letters, and much of what he claimed is difficult to corroborate. One of the responding officers that night was Donald Fouke, who gave a pretty detailed description of a lone male lumbering on the north side of Jackson Street, right down to the jacket with elastic at the waist and cuffs, rusk colored pleated trousers, low cut tan engineering boots, along with seeing right into his eyes (although was unable to make out their color). According to the 2007 documentary 'This is the Zodiac Speaking' he also recalled the mystery man entering the stairwell of a house, thought to be 3712 Jackson Street.
Armond Pelissetti, another responding officer that night, having been interviewed in the documentary This is the Zodiac Speaking, remembered that the area in question was well lit and did not believe that Officer Donald Fouke saw the Zodiac that night. There are also discrepancies in the two officers accounts on whether the possible suspect was actually stopped.
According to Armond Pelissetti it seemed highly implausible that Officer Donald Fouke and his partner Eric Zelms - had they stopped the killer - would have failed to notice the shine of blood on the man's clothing. It was concluded that even if the mystery man was not stopped, Donald Fouke's extensive descriptive recall in good lighting, for upwards of 20 seconds, should have revealed blood spatter to some degree on the man's attire. Armond Pelissetti came to this conclusion after viewing the extensive blood loss in the front of Paul Stine's taxicab at the intersection of Washington and Cherry.
This being the case, would the Zodiac really have risked entering the pitch black darkness of Presidio Park, observing the unfolding drama, where he risked his scent being picked up by the sniffer dogs, or even more inexplicably entering a nearby residence where any trail could have led the police and tracker dogs straight to his doorstep? Are we to take the Zodiac's letter claims at face value - after all his lies and manipulation were clear to see in much of his correspondence. His claims of the unfolding events that night may suggest that he is an avid observer of the subsequent news reports and little more.
So, which direction did the killer travel that night after the cold blooded execution of Paul Stine? If we rule out the killer being the white male observed by Officer Donald Fouke - who the Zodiac implied was him - then we have several options.
If the killer had walked up Cherry Street and crossed to the north sidewalk of Jackson Street, it could suggest an intention to enter the West Pacific Avenue region by the Julius Khan playground via Maple Street or Spruce Street - to either enter the park and beyond, or be reunited with his vehicle in the backstreets of Pacific Avenue, farther away from the madding crowd. Or he may have kept on straight along the north side of Jackson Street past several intersections to his waiting vehicle. However, the longer he would have spent on Jackson Street, the greater the risk to his capture could be argued.
It makes complete sense that this murder was a chance encounter and the victim was random, however, the decision to remove a piece of any victim's clothing and mail it to a leading newspaper, was likely preordained. Therefore, a route away from the scene of the crime, being the primary concern, would have been well thought out in advance also. It would have been logical to park his waiting vehicle directly away from his intended destination of Washington and Maple, ideally somewhere at the north end of Maple Street, before Jackson Street - not too close to the crime scene and not too far. If this was the case, the white male observed by Officer Donald Fouke would almost certainly not be the Zodiac Killer, because if his vehicle was parked at this location, the need for the killer to cross to the north sidewalk of Jackson Street after exiting Cherry Street would have been superfluous.
However, if we believe the mystery man spotted by Officer Donald Fouke was the killer of Paul Stine, we again have to question the apparent absence of any blood spatter according to the supposition of Armond Pelissetti, and why a killer having either being questioned and let on his way by the police, or simply observed and passed, would then simply not seek out his waiting vehicle - that an organized preordained murder would suggest. But instead, chose to skulk around in the dark with the scent of blood and gunpowder residue seeping from his attire, along with the possession of the incriminating weapon and the swatch of Paul Stine's shirt. Having, by his admission, been stopped and questioned by police, any venture into the Julius Khan playground could suggest that this was his direct escape route (using the cover of the wooded park) through to a parked vehicle at an alternative location. However, this would seem unnecessary, bearing in mind his intended initial Washington and Maple destination, to have parked at a greater distance than was required for a quick exit. He may have been a resident from the northern region of San Francisco - but again - any great walking distance would have created higher risk while in possession of the gun, shirt piece and trace evidence from the taxicab. A residency too close carries equal perils. The final scenario, is that he simply didn't care - because he always claimed he was 'crackproof' - and sadly so far, this appears to be one of the few truths that has ran from the pen of this merciless killer.