Agent Fred Shirasago observed that the first three sentences of the new letter, postmarked Tuesday from San Francisco are almost verbatim the April 24, 1978, letter that led to Toschi’s demotion. In Sacramento, spokeswoman Melinda Stehr of the attorney general's office said handwriting experts confirmed the letter was a simulation of a letter sent to the San Francisco Chronicle a decade ago, which was also considered to be a hoax. "Someone saw the letter and was using it as a copy". Stehr said. "It's a fake. It's a hoax". Vallejo Police Captain Roy Conway said the letter ″was not authored by the authentic Zodiac, but that it is a simulation of a hoax letter written in 1978". The letter, in which the writer threatened to kill trick or treaters on Halloween, was similar to several mailed to area newspapers in the late 1960s and early 70s. It was received by the Vallejo Times-Herald Wednesday, but a handwriting analysis found it to be a phony, reported.Conway
Melinda Stehr and Roy Conway are effectively claiming that somebody pretending to be the Zodiac Killer was imitating the letter mailed on April 24th 1978, which had previously been determined to be a copycat. Not only would it be immensely stupid judgement for a copycat to mimic a "copycat letter" to pretend to be Zodiac, but how did this 1987 copycat manage to imitate the July 31st 1969 Vallejo Times-Herald envelope, when not only had this envelope been "misplaced" at the time, but it had never been made public by October 28th 1987? Melinda Stehr stated "Someone saw the (1978) letter and was using it as a copy". If that was the case, then how did this person in 1987 "see" the 1969 envelope in order to copy it so perfectly? This latest envelope had the same exact 13 words as the 1969 envelope, the same lack of punctuation, and both envelopes addressed the Vallejo Times-Herald in full, whereas the 1969 publicly available Zodiac letters to the Chronicle and Examiner didn't (they only stated Vallejo Times). There is also a strong likelihood that both envelopes were addressed "Herold" instead of "Herald", as was the Celebrity Cypher postcard that arrived three years later. Although I'm not a staunch handwriting advocate when comparing Zodiac communications, we have similarity between both envelopes, plus excellent corroborating material in the wording used in each instance.
The envelope on July 31st 1969 was addressed S.F. Chronicle San Fran, Calif Please Rush to Editor! with Please Rush to Editor on the reverse. If the 1987 envelope to the Chronicle was addressed in identical fashion to the 1969 envelope, with corresponding wording and punctuation marks (including the exclamation mark), we could almost certainly declare both the 1987 letters genuine Zodiac material. The notion of a lazy copycat just mimicking old letters is possible, but mimicking two envelopes identically to which he had no access to, is virtually impossible (barring the usual claim of an inside job).
This 1987 letter and envelope to the San Francisco Chronicle could finally tell us whether the Zodiac Killer was still alive and driving around on Halloween once and for all. An everyday person just committing a casual hoax eighteen years after the Zodiac Killer's first letters, would find it extremely difficult to accidentally compose the exact wording and punctuation from the Vallejo Times-Herald envelope in 1969, let alone recreate the identical text and punctuation from the San Francisco Chronicle in 1969 also. One man who may be able to validate whether the 1987 Chronicle letter still exists, is Kevin Fagan, a longtime reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle. It would also beg the question of, how would the real Zodiac Killer have remembered the exact wording he placed on either envelope from eighteen years previously? Had he kept a record of everything he did during his campaign of terror in the Bay Area and memorialised it for posterity? This communication to the San Francisco Chronicle in 1987 could tell us so much.