In a previous article we examined the murderer's claim in the October 13th 1969 Paul Stine letter, where he stated "I am the murderer of the taxi driver over by Washington St + Maple St last night, to prove this here is a blood stained piece of his shirt". It considered a possibility that the murder took place at the Washington and Maple Street intersection, and examined the reasoning behind the murderer wiping down the external driver side door of the taxicab, why he was wiping down the driver side compartment area and more importantly how the murderer possibly received the injury, described by Donald Fouke as a "semi-limp", albeit many years later.
The only reason to have touched the driver side door of the taxicab or its adjoining panel, was that he either leaned on it after he summoned the taxicab at the Mason and Geary intersection and spoke to Paul Stine, or he actually opened the driver side door to gain access to the vehicle. The first option seems unlikely, knowing that in a matter of minutes he is about to put a gun to the head of the taxicab driver and brutally execute him, thereby leaving fingerprints in advance on a door, to which he later has to waste time removing after the murder. Therefore, one could conclude that touching the driver side door handle was most likely forced upon him by circumstance.
The premise was that the Zodiac Killer committed the murder at Washington and Maple Street, but his initial plans were abandoned when the taxicab, not placed in park by Paul Stine because he was on a 'run through', motioned forward out of control. The Zodiac Killer's plan of removing items from the victim, particularly the portion of Paul Stine's shirt, to mail to the San Francisco Chronicle, was now in jeopardy. Literally thinking on his feet, the murderer quickly exited the moving vehicle by the left rear door and entered the driver side door, stepped over the lifeless body of Paul Stine, possibly bracing himself against the front compartment for support, he then pushed against the left side of Paul Stine, to access the vehicle pedals and coasted the taxicab to the intersection of Washington and Cherry. This covers all the bases; the claim by the Zodiac Killer that the murder took place at Washington and Maple, along with his necessity to wipe both the external driver side door and internal driver side compartment area. This would also explain the blood pattern on Paul Stine's shirt, that suggests the victim was upright for a measurable period of time and did not slump over immediately to a horizontal position.
Two weeks prior to this murder, on September 27th 1969, Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard were savagely attacked along the shoreline of Lake Berryessa. Prior to the attack, three girls sunbathing noticed a man approximately 50 feet away observing them sunbathing. Their perception was that each time they looked at him he evaded eye contact, thus drawing suspicion. He was described as being between 28 and 40 years, 200 to 225 pounds, 6 feet tall, styled black hair, with rounded eyes and thin lips, was good looking, with a muscular or stocky build, wearing dark pants and a dark pullover shirt. He remained observing them, by their accounts, for between 30 to 45 minutes.
But in a curious observation, one of the girls thought he was wearing a white belt around his back, or that it could possibly have been a tee shirt hanging out. Another stated he was wearing a black short-sleeved sweater shirt bunched up at the front and a white tee shirt hanging out the back. In the article 'The Hanging Tee Shirt', it became a vague possibility that what they actually saw was neither a belt or a shirt, but the clothesline ready and primed for an impending attack. On page 396 of Robert Graysmith's 'Zodiac Unmasked', one of the girls recalled the suspicious character, stating "I wouldn't say he had a limp, but he favored one leg when he walked".
Later it was discovered that the assailant at Lake Berryessa had deposited ten-and-one-half Wing-Walker shoe impressions to and from the crime scene. Wing-Walkers and Jump boots are designed for ankle support, favored by the military. Was this indicative of Zodiac having a military connection, or nothing more than a man who chose this style of footwear to protect and support a long standing foot or ankle complaint, that came under close examination as he exited the moving vehicle at Washington and Maple, in pursuit of the trophies he was so determined to secure.