Here are the other parts of the Scorpion cipher communications released Science Blogs.
Beginning in 1991, John Walsh from the popular television show America's Most Wanted, started receiving a sequence of sinister letters and cryptograms that many have considered may have been authored by the infamous Zodiac Killer. The title of the fifth Scorpion cipher stated "Hi!, Remember me?", and was accompanied by a 180 character cryptogram. The implication being, we were supposed to infer it may have been the Zodiac Killer. But was it? The cryptogram had 155 unique characters, meaning any conventional technique of breaking this mystery was nigh on impossible. So I decided to take a look at previous Zodiac Killer encipherments and examine if any correlation exists between the Scorpion cipher and his solved cryptograms. In previous articles (visit links provided) a case has been presented to show that the 148 character cryptogram mailed in 1971 and the Albany letter mailed in 1973 are likely connected, as well as the 340 character cipher and 148 character cipher.  . But let's take a look at the 148 character cipher and fifth Scorpion cipher. Below is the solved 148 character cipher, followed by the accompanying text that came with this communication.
This communication was signed with a "sun cross" rather than the usual Zodiac crosshairs, leading some to believe it was an obvious hoaxer. However, somebody prepared to mail a Zodiac communication complete with a 148 character cipher, is hardly likely to be ignorant of the Zodiac Killer crosshairs that adorned virtually every single communication mailed by the Bay Area murderer. This "sun cross" signature on the letter was also present in the cryptogram, in which it was determined to represent the letter "Z". Therefore, the author of this letter likely signed off with the letter "Z" to represent the "Zodiac", as he had done in the Halloween card on October 27th 1970. It was probably a clue to begin the decoding of the 148 character cipher. When the letter "Z" was used for the "sun cross" in the cipher, the inevitable phrase of "Zodiac Speaking" is revealed (see above). The "sun cross" is also twice present in the 180 character Scorpion cipher. If you take a look at the bottom of the 180 character cipher, the letter "Z" applied to the "sun cross" allows "Zodiac Speaking" to conveniently end the cryptogram. There is even room to place "The Zodiac Speaking" before the repeated letter "N" prevents further progress.
The 148 character cipher had not been released into the public domain by the time the Scorpion ciphers arrived, but I have highlighted with a blue square the five symbols used in the Scorpion cipher that look eerily similar (and the same) as the 148 character cipher. The number "7" in both the 148 character cipher and Albany communications represented the letter "A". It is present in the Scorpion cipher also. Could the Zodiac Killer have teased us with the introduction of "Hi, Remember Me" and finished the message with "This is again the Zodiac speaking"?
Here are the other parts of the Scorpion cipher communications released Science Blogs.
On December 3rd 2020 David Oranchak, Sam Blake and Jarl Van Eycke unlocked the mystery to the 51-year-old 340 cipher, mailed by the Zodiac Killer on November 8th 1969. The decoded message was a response to the Jim Dunbar Show in which an imposter/fraud called in to the TV show pretending to be the infamous Zodiac Killer.on October 22rd 1969. It may have also been a response to the San Francisco Chronicle article on October 23rd 1969 entitled A TV Runaround With Zodiac Calls in which "Belli told Sam he'd attempt to get a promise from District Attorney John J. Ferdon that Zodiac would be spared the gas chamber if convicted of murder". The Zodiac Killer responded in code that he was "not afraid of the gas chamber".
The following day, the San Francisco Chronicle published another article which featured the opinions of Nancy Slover, David Slaight and Bryan Hartnell, who were the only three people credited with hearing the Zodiac's voice to date. The headline of that column read That Wasn't Zodiac, Say 3 Who Know, to which the Zodiac Killer would reply in his message in the 340 cipher by confirming "That wasn't me on the TV show". He took the newspaper headline and incorporated it into his hidden message. The Zodiac Killer was effectively rejecting the notion that the person who appeared on the Jim Dunbar Show claiming to be him was the genuine article - the caller was a fraud or imposter.
The decoded 340 ciphertext read: I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING LOTS OF FUN IN TRYING TO CATCH ME - THAT WASN’T ME ON THE TV SHOW - WHICH BRINGS UP A POINT ABOUT ME - I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE GAS CHAMBER BECAUSE IT WILL SEND ME TO PARADICE ALL THE SOONER BECAUSE I NOW HAVE ENOUGH SLAVES TO WORK FOR ME WHERE EVERYONE ELSE HAS NOTHING WHEN THEY REACH PARADICE - SO THEY ARE AFRAID OF DEATH - I AM NOT AFRAID BECAUSE I KNOW THAT MY NEW LIFE IS LIFE WILL BE AN EASY ONE IN PARADICE DEATH.
However, it didn't stop there. On February 5th 1970, the Desert Sun newspaper reported that "a man claiming to be the Zodiac killer of five persons held another on-the-air conversation today with television personality Jim Dunbar. Two police inspectors closeted themselves with Dunbar at station KGOTV immediately after the one-sided conversation, which consisted mainly of Dunbar asking questions and repealing fragments of answers". This second call was also reported in the San Francisco Chronicle on February 6th 1970, again highlighting the belief of investigators that this person was another fraud impersonating the Zodiac Killer. Just over a year later the Zodiac Killer mailed a 148 character cryptogram and letter, again encoding a contemporary message, but this time calling out Karl Francis Werner as a phony. Karl Francis Werner had just been arrested in connection with the murders of Kathie Reyne Snoozy, Debra Gaye Furlong and Kathy Bilek, two of which he had long claimed he murdered since the mailing of his November 8th 1969 Dripping Pen card and 340 cryptogram. He would also soon claim Kathy Bilek as a murder victim in the July 13th 1971 Monticello card. The Zodiac Killer was clearly upset somebody else had been arrested for the two San Jose murders on August 3rd 1969 and was responding to a San Francisco Chronicle article on April 30th 1971 entitled San Jose Student Held in Slaying of Three Girls. The newspaper article read "He was immediately advised of his rights concerning any statements he may make and legal representation to which he is entitled, the detectives said. Werner was then taken to the scenes of the crimes. Late yesterday he was undergoing questioning. The detectives would not reveal what statements, if any, he had made concerning the killings of the three girls". His response was immediate, likely firing off the following communication in early May.
The Zodiac Killer was responding to the Paul Avery newspaper article on April 30th 1971 describing the arrest and interview of Karl Francis Werner by law enforcement, imploring investigators to "stop listening to phonys". Just like the 340 cipher, in which the Zodiac Killer used the newspaper headline banner of That Wasn't Zodiac, Say 3 Who Know to create "That wasn't me on the TV show", he would again use a newspaper headline banner in his rebuttal of Karl Francis Werner as the killer of the three girls (in particular, Snoozy & Furlong).
An imposter/fraud had called into the Jim Dunbar TV Show on October 22nd 1969, followed by a second call to the show on February 5th 1970. The San Francisco Chronicle article on the left was entitled Talk Show's Zodiac Caller Called a Phony. The article read "Homicide detectives later listened to a tape recording of the conversation and concluded that Sam was a phony. It most certainly was not Zodiac, said Inspector David Toschi". Fast forward to May of 1971, in which Karl Francis Werner is being interviewed by investigators for three murders, including the brutal stabbings of Kathie Reyne Snoozy and Debra Gaye Furlong, to which Zodiac had previously claimed by the addition of "Aug" on his November 8th 1969 Dripping Pen card. Perceived by him, the Zodiac Killer has now had the indignity of two phone calls to the Jim Dunbar Show, where a phony has effectively claimed his crimes, followed by the arrest and interview of Karl Francis Werner in 1971, possibly being credited with crimes he had previously claimed. His response to law enforcement was "stop listening to phonys", again using a newspaper headline incorporated into the ciphertext message of his cryptogram.
At the time the Zodiac Killer mailed the 148 character cipher in 1971, the 340 cryptogram was unsolved. Yet here we have two lengthy cryptograms, both of which are incorporating in contemporary form the rejection of an imposter or phony by using the phrases "That wasn't me on the TV show" and "stop listening to phonys" - and both cryptograms incorporated the language used in two newspaper headlines.
The 340 and 148 character cryptograms are inextricably linked through a message that is contemporary in nature, both are the rejection of two people connected to his crimes (and claimed crime), and both the Dripping Pen card and 148 character cipher are indelibly linked to the murders of Kathy Reyne Snoozy and Debra Gaye Furlong who were horribly killed and mutilated on August 3rd 1969 in San Jose. The Zodiac Killer would finish his written message in May 1971 with the wording of "I will send a patch of human skin if their is some left over". This was a threat to kill another three kids, just like Snoozy, Furlong and Bilek. The nature of these three brutal stabbings (in excess of 300 knife wounds) should leave you in no doubt the meaning behind the sinister message of "I will send a patch of human skin if their is some left over".
On December 3rd 2020, Dave Oranchak (USA), Sam Blake (Australia) and Jarl Van Eycke (Belgium) finally unearthed the solution to the 340 cipher after 51 years. The message read:
I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING LOTS OF FUN IN TRYING TO CATCH ME - THAT WASN’T ME ON THE TV SHOW - WHICH BRINGS UP A POINT ABOUT ME - I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE GAS CHAMBER BECAUSE IT WILL SEND ME TO PARADICE ALL THE SOONER BECAUSE I NOW HAVE ENOUGH SLAVES TO WORK FOR ME WHERE EVERYONE ELSE HAS NOTHING WHEN THEY REACH PARADICE - SO THEY ARE AFRAID OF DEATH - I AM NOT AFRAID BECAUSE I KNOW THAT MY NEW LIFE IS LIFE WILL BE AN EASY ONE IN PARADICE DEATH.
Here is what the Zodiac Killer could have written regarding the phone call to the Jim Dunbar Show:
I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING LOTS OF FUN IN TRYING TO CATCH ME - STOP LISTENING TO PHONYS - WHICH BRINGS UP A POINT ABOUT ME - I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE GAS CHAMBER BECAUSE IT WILL SEND ME TO PARADICE ALL THE SOONER BECAUSE I NOW HAVE ENOUGH SLAVES TO WORK FOR ME WHERE EVERYONE ELSE HAS NOTHING WHEN THEY REACH PARADICE - SO THEY ARE AFRAID OF DEATH - I AM NOT AFRAID BECAUSE I KNOW THAT MY NEW LIFE IS LIFE WILL BE AN EASY ONE IN PARADICE DEATH.
The breaking of the 340 cipher by David Oranchak, Sam Blake and Jarl Van Eycke on December 3rd 2020 was a fantastic achievement after 51 years, only slightly tarnished by the banality of the message encoded by the Zodiac Killer, in which he denied it was him on the Jim Dunbar Show, along with the usual paradice and slaves nonsense. However, it may have gone a long way to verifying two previous communications once considered inauthentic Zodiac letters.
The 340 message stated "That wasn't me on the TV show", thereby suggesting by inference that the person who called into the Jim Dunbar TV show on October 22nd 1969 was an imposter and fraud. Shortly after the April 29th 1971 arrest of Karl Francis Werner for the murders of Kathie Reyne Snoozy, Debra Gaye Furlong and Kathy Bilek in San Jose and Saratoga, another cryptogram was mailed from Fairfield to the San Francisco Chronicle containing 148 characters. It too was effectively delivering a contemporary message, again claiming that the person (Karl Francis Werner) being 'interviewed' was an imposter and fraud, stating "Tis the Zodiac Speacking. Why can't you stop me. I can't stop killing. Stop listening t(o) phonys". The 340 cipher was unbroken in 1971, yet the author of another contemporary enciphered message was again claiming that the person in the spotlight was a "phony". The only difference this time was the Zodiac Killer was the "phony", falsely attempting to wrestle back the murder victims of Snoozy & Furlong on August 3rd 1969, that he had claimed in the Dripping Pen card mailed on November 8th 1969, with his addition of "Aug" in his chronological victim count of seven. He would further compound matters by adding the April 11th 1971 murder of Kathy Bilek to this list, when on July 13th 1971 he claimed her murder in the Monticello card by stating "In The Woods Dies April".
This should allay any doubts as to the authenticity of this communication, especially when you consider that the Monticello card "shought victims 21" just like the written message accompanying the 148 character cipher - and both were withheld from the newspapers.
The 340 cipher also went a long way to verifying the 38 character code, mailed from Fairfield on December 7th 1969, because both cryptograms isolated the word "death" at the end of each message. The person who created the Z38 deliberately separated the prominent ZO∆AIKꞮ+ characters on the bottom line of the 340 cipher, into AIKꞮ+ on the bottom line of the 38 character code. thereby manufacturing the word "death". Druzer, a valued contributor to both main Zodiac forums, pointed out the same thing, stating "The most curious/compelling feats are that the author isolated actual words, most notably death, and that he refrained from copying Zodaik, which would certainly be expected of a hoaxer".
The 340 cipher did indeed harbor a banal and relatively uninteresting message after a long 51 year wait, but it can be argued that the solving of the message contained within it, may have handed us two more confirmed Zodiac communications to examine, offering fresh insights into an investigation often blighted by stagnation. The Z38 can be connected to the 340 cipher through two notable portions of each code, The words IRON and DEATH can be found in both, before any period 19 shift is applied. If these two enciphered cryptograms are connected by beginning and end, then why should the middle section of the Z38 be any different. The Z38 and Z340 could very well be have a much bigger relationship, yet to be unearthed.
It is with little doubt that the 148 character cipher and letter mailed in May 1971 and the Albany letter and cipher mailed on August 1st 1973 were both created by the Zodiac Killer. Neither of the communications were published in the newspapers, yet both have overlapping features in not only the way they were written, but in the style and choice of ciphertext characters in each code. The Zodiac Killer ended his murder count on March 13th 1971 with 17+ victims, apparently updating this total to 37 victims on January 29th 1974 with the arrival of the Exorcist letter. The author of the 148 character cipher letter (which I will now refer to as the Skin letter) claimed he would murder again, stating "I done it 21 times", with the author of the Monticello card mailed on July 13th 1971 claiming he had "shought victim 21". The only communications between March 13th 1971 and January 29th 1974 referring to a progressing victim total, and both carried the same count of 21 despite both being unpublished. We know the Monticello card to be a genuine Zodiac correspondence because of the running theme of the Snoozy & Furlong murders in San Jose, that featured in the Zodiac communications over a two-year period, including the choice of Monticello and the Oak Hill Memorial Park in the neighborhood of San Jose. The Story of San Jose.
For the handwriting aficianados, the capital letter G present in both the 408 and 340 ciphers is noticeable in both the Albany letter and Skin letter, as is the threat of a "next time" and a "next victim". The Albany letter threatens to "start killing again", with the Skin letter threatening "I must kill more". However, all this is incidental when we consider the boxy style of both ciphers and the ciphertext characters the Zodiac Killer chose. Never before had the Zodiac Killer chosen the sun cross symbol, yet it featured in both the Albany letter cipher and the Skin letter cipher. I won't list all the correlations, because it's far easier to show the overlapping features contained in both unpublished ciphers.
There are the same errors in coding in the 148 character cipher as displayed in the 340 cipher, with the 148 character cipher spelling simple words incorrectly such as "this" to "tis", "speaking" to "speacking" and "to" to "t". He also misses the word "is" out of the introduction entirely. There is also a scrubbed out letter in the 18th position on the top row. However, this time the cipher is created in such a way that no word runs from one row into another, making it 21, 21, 24, 23, 25, 23 and 11 = 148 characters. The revised message, with corrected sections, is:
"T(h)is (is) the Zodiac Speacking. Why can't you stop me. I can't stop killing. Stop listening t(o) phonys. If this is not on the front page in a week I will skin 3 little kids and make a suit from the skin".
The use of numbers in both sequences of ciphertext is evident, as is the use of a sun cross on both occasions. The number 7 in both ciphers is used to represent the letter A. The Skin letter and Albany letter are the only two letters mailed by a potential Zodiac Killer from May 1971 to August 1st 1973. We know of no other certain Zodiac communications during this period of time (other than the Monticello card), yet here we have two consecutive ciphers, both of which use the ciphertext number 7 as the letter A. If these two letters were mailed by two independent authors, then that is one hell of a coincidence. Because we can confidently link the Skin letter to the Monticello card through "21" and the Snoozy/Furlong murders, it is a fair statement to say that the Albany letter is a genuine Zodiac communication.
The best way of confirming the authenticity of potential Zodiac letters, cards and ciphers is to make comparisons between multiple communications, particularly through unpublished mailings which have no way of being copied by hoaxers. The alternative approach, is to just look at the handwriting and make a judgment based on nothing more than letter strokes which can easily be changed by the author. The third option, is to rely on the determination of others and remove independent thinking from the equation altogether.
On October 22nd 1969, somebody rang the Oakland Police Department to request that either Francis Lee Bailey or Melvin Belli appear on the Jim Dunbar chat show at KGO Radio in San Francisco. Melvin Belli would co-host the morning show at approximately 6:30 am, to which, after a period of inactivity, an unknown male would call and hang up numerous times. The dysfunctional sounding caller claimed he was the infamous Zodiac Killer, a man responsible for at least five murders in the Bay Area of California.
Three people who had heard the Zodiac Killer's voice, Nancy Slover, David Slaight and Bryan Hartnell, were confident that the caller was not the man they had heard during their respective encounters with the killer. A fourth person was absolutely certain, because he was about to compose a 340 cipher denouncing the caller to the Jim Dunbar Show as a fraud, by stating "That wasn't me on the TV show". Many have found it strange that the Zodiac Killer decided to encode this denial, when he could have simply written it into the Dripping Pen card that accompanied the cipher. He clearly expected this cryptogram to be decoded fairly quickly as the message was contemporary, and of diminishing value as the years ticked by.
However, his method of encoding such contemporary information to highlight that it wasn't him on the TV show, thereby confirming that the Jim Dunbar Show caller was an imposter, was to be repeated eighteen months later. Another cryptogram would be mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle in about May of 1971, harboring a hidden message that was again contemporary in nature, while calling out an imposter. This time though, the tables would be turned. On this occasion, the Zodiac Killer would be calling out a "phony", when in realty he was the imposter and the person he was addressing was the real killer. This stemmed from his false claim that he was the murderer of Kathy Snoozy (15) and Deborah Furlong (14) in San Jose. These two young girls were brutally stabbed on August 3rd 1969 and claimed as Zodiac victims when he mailed the Dripping Pen card on November 8th 1969. He would write "Des, July, Aug, Sept, Oct = 7", thereby falsely inflating his victim count to engender more terror over a wider area.
On April 29th 1971, Karl Francis Werner was arrested for the murders of Kathy Snoozy, Deborah Furlong and Kathy Bilek, and his story was covered by Paul Avery on April 30th 1971 under the title of San Jose Student Held in Slaying of Three Girls.
The newspaper article stated "He was immediately advised of his rights concerning any statements he may make and legal representation to which he is entitled, the detectives said. Werner was then taken to the scenes of the crimes. Late yesterday he was undergoing questioning. The detectives would not reveal what statements, if any, he had made concerning the killings of the three girls". The Zodiac Killer was understandably horrified, because the two murders he had falsely adopted into his victim total for a year-and-a-half, were about to be handed over to someone else. Karl Francis Werner was ultimately charged (and later convicted) of all three murders, but the Zodiac Killer was having none of it, firing off a 148 character cipher and letter sometime in May (see below).
Just like his encoded message in the 340 cipher stating "That wasn't me on the TV show", he would again encode the following message "Tis the Zodiac Speacking. Why can't you stop me. I can't stop killing. Stop listening t(o) phonys. If this is not on your front page in a week I will skin 3 little kids and make a suit from the skin". The Zodiac Killer was responding to the Paul Avery newspaper article, informing everybody that they should pay no attention to Karl Francis Werner and insisted they should "Stop listening to phonys". One can't help seeing the irony of the situation. The Zodiac Killer effectively declared that the caller to the Jim Dunbar Show was a phony because it wasn't him on the TV show, but has now become the phony calling out the real killer - and both of these declarations hidden within cryptograms separated by eighteen months. The Zodiac Killer felt angered enough to dissuade law enforcement in listening to Karl Francis Werner, yet disguised this pertinent message behind a wall of coding, just as he had done on November 8th 1969 with another contemporary message. However, there was one big difference. This latest cryptogram had returned back to the standard left-to-right homophonic technique employed by the 408 cipher. Bearing in mind his 340 cipher was yet to be deciphered - and knowing he wanted to declare Karl Francis Werner a fraud while it still mattered - the Zodiac Killer probably thought it wise to return back to the simplest form of encryption.
When the Zodiac Killer discovered that Karl Francis Werner was arrested on April 29th 1971 for the slaying of Kathie Snoozy, Debra Furlong and Kathy Bilek, he was understandably horrified that two of the victims he had falsely claimed in the Dripping Pen card on November 8th 1969 were now being stripped from his running victim count. He was now faced with a choice of being seen as a brazen liar with his previous claims totally discredited, or continue the facade of clinging onto victims he was never responsible for. He would choose the latter. His response was almost immediate, likely mailing a letter (and 148 character cipher) sometime in early May of 1971, responding to two newspaper articles (one by Paul Avery) published on April 30th 1971 and May 1st 1971. His response was effectively an admission that the "Aug" on the Dripping Pen card was referring to the two murdered San Jose teenagers on August 3rd 1969 (Snoozy & Furlong). Here is the communication:
The 148 character code was deciphered to read: "Tis the Zodiac Speacking. Why can't you stop me. I can't stop killing. Stop listening t(o) phonys. If this is not on your front page in a week I will skin 3 little kids and make a suit from the skin".
The two newspaper articles on April 30th 1971 and May 1st 1971 covered the arrest, arraignment and questioning of Karl Francis Werner, stating "He was immediately advised of his rights concerning any statements he may make and legal representation to which he is entitled, the detectives said. Werner was then taken to the scenes of the crimes. Late yesterday he was undergoing questioning. The detectives would not reveal what statements, if any, he had made concerning the killings of the three girls". The Zodiac Killer would respond with "Stop listening to phonys", desperately attempting to appeal to the San Francisco Chronicle and law enforcement that Karl Francis Werner was not the killer of the three girls. He was effectively telling investigators to not accept any admissions by Werner because he was the real killer. Up to this point, the Zodiac Killer had only claimed the murders of Snoozy & Furlong on August 3rd 1969, not the murder of Kathy Bilek, which occurred one month earlier on April 11th 1971 in the woods of Villa Montalvo in Saratoga. He now had to face the stark choice of abandoning the two victims he had claimed for nearly two years, or add Kathy Bilek to his ever burgeoning list. He had to either abandon two or embrace all three. It isn't surprising he chose the latter.
The headlines and text in the newspapers usually governed the majority of what he wrote in the communications he mailed. In this instance it was no different, utilizing the three headlines in the two newspapers. The headlines stated San Jose Student Held in Slaying of Three Girls, San Jose Student Held in Slaying of 3 Girls and Youth Arraigned in Knife Slayings of Three Girls. The Zodiac therefore promised to skin three kids if his latest letter was not published. He was effectively saying, give me front page coverage or you'll have another three young deaths on your hands.
The newspapers covered the severity of the injuries sustained by Snoozy, Furlong and Bilek, graphically describing the fact "Miss Bilek was stabbed 49 times with a short-bladed knife", while "Furlong and Snoozy were both stabbed more than 100 times with a similar weapon". The Zodiac callously responded, by not only threatening a further three kids, but by stating that he would "send a patch of human skin if their is some left over". This was obviously meant to suggest that after so many wounds on his victims, he would be lucky to find any undamaged skin left to mail.
The wording in the letter may also pinpoint the exact day this communication was postmarked. The two articles were published on April 30th 1971 and May 1st 1971, the latter of which was a Saturday. Therefore, his wording of "If this is not on your front page in a week" could suggest it was mailed over the weekend and postmarked Monday, May 3rd 1971.
The Zodiac Killer now had one thing left to do - retrospectively claim the April 11th 1971 murder of Kathy Bilek in the woods of Villa Montalvo in Saratoga. He would do this on July 13th 1971, when he mailed the pasted Monticello card to the San Francisco Chronicle with the wording "Near Monticello Shought Victims 21 ...... In The Woods Dies April". The only unanswered question about this card was the reference to "Near Monticello". If we travel a few miles east of where Kathy Bilek was murdered, we arrive at the neighborhood of Monticello in San Jose. The neighborhood of Monticello holds one crucial secret as to why the Zodiac Killer wrote this on the July 13th 1971 card. It is the burial site of Kathie Snoozy, laid to rest in the Oak Hill Memorial Park, and forever the phonetic namesake of Kathy Bilek (although Zodiac would have read the spelling of Kathie as Kathy in the majority of newspapers). The Monticello card was not only designed to suggest the Zodiac Killer was the murderer of Kathy Bilek, but it pinpointed the burial site of Kathie Snoozy and his connection to the San Jose murders on August 3rd 1969. The Monticello card effectively bound the murders of all three girls together. It was a sinister communication, but extremely well designed. This should give you pause for thought when considering the Pines card mailed on March 22nd 1971. When the Sierra Club section of this card is placed over Clair Tappaan Lodge on the north western edge of Lake Tahoe, the punched circle falls over the Donner Memorial State Park. Two names, Donna and Kathy, embedded in two pasted cards under the banner of "Memorial" - and designed as an epitaph to victims he wanted us to believe were his.
On April 29th 1971, Karl Francis Werner was arrested for the stabbing deaths of Kathy Bilek, Kathie Snoozy and Debra Furlong, murdered on April 11th 1971 and August 3rd 1969 respectively. Under the title San Jose Student Held In Slayings Of Three Girls, authored by Paul Avery of the San Francisco Chronicle, it detailed the arrest and questioning of Werner by detectives. The newspaper article stated "He was immediately advised of his rights concerning any statements he may make and legal representation to which he is entitled, the detectives said. Werner was then taken to the scenes of the crimes. Late yesterday he was undergoing questioning. The detectives would not reveal what statements, if any, he had made concerning the killings of the three girls". The Zodiac Killer was evidently dismayed and furious that somebody else was being charged for two murders he had claimed in his November 8th 1969 communication, attributing Snoozy and Furlong with the tag of "Aug" on his Dripping Pen card. His response wasn't to relinquish and accept he had been caught in a lie - instead he fired off another communication (with cipher), likely just after Karl Werner's arrest in the May of 1971, postmarked Fairfield, California.
The wording on the 148 character cipher communication strongly indicated it was a direct response to the above article. The coded section read "Tis the Zodiac Speacking. Why can't you stop me. I can't stop killing. Stop listening t(o) phonys. If this is not on your front page in a week I will skin 3 little kids and make a suit from the skin". His demand to stop listening to phonys was aimed at the detectives questioning Karl Francis Werner. His response to Werner being interviewed over the "killings of the three girls" was to threaten another "3 little kids", who he would kill and make a suit from the skin. Rather than take his medicine of being unearthed as a phony himself, he effectively doubled down, transferring the label of phony onto the real killer. However, he wasn't going to leave it there, continuing to triple down on July 13th 1971 when he mailed the unreleased Monticello card.
I have yet to discover if the above 148 character cipher was published in the San Francisco Chronicle, but it may be significant with respect to both this communication and the following Monticello card (which wasn't published). The (possible) May 1971 communication stated "I done it 21 times", with the July 13th 1971 Monticello card stating "Near Monticello Shought Victims 21 ...... In The Woods Dies April". If both communications were unreleased to the public, it goes a long way to inextricably binding these communications under one author. I have no such doubts.
The Zodiac Killer was claiming he had murdered 21 victims in May, yet stated he "sought victim 21" in his July offering. He was referring to "sought victim 21" retrospectively, exactly as he had done so in the March 22nd 1971 Pines card (that mirrored the Monticello card). The Monticello card referred to the murder of Kathy Bilek on April 11th 1971, who he had claimed he sought as victim 21. The Pines card was referencing the murder of Donna Lass, who disappeared on September 6th 1970. He was also suggesting he had sought her as victim 12 when she lived in San Francisco just prior to her move to South Lake Tahoe. The Zodiac Killer had employed a similar tactic in both cards, likely too clever for the casual hoaxer.
Additonally, the Monticello card was directing us to the neighborhood of Monticello in San Jose where Kathie Snoozy was buried. The Zodiac Killer was attempting to link the murder of Kathie Snoozy (and hence Debra Furlong) into the fabric of the Monticello card detailing the murder of Kathy Bilek. Not only by the use of location, but by the common link of their phonetic sounding forename. The Monticello card was an extremely well designed communication, harking back to its roots of "Aug" in the November 8th 1969 Dripping Pen card. This story had effectively stretched for the best part of two years. A casual copycat is an extremely unlikely candidate for such intricacy.
However, this isn't the main thrust of the article. The Zodiac Killer mailed three communications from Fairfield, California from December 7th 1969 to (probably May) 1971. The first claimed "I will kill again", the December 16th 1969 communication stated "I will kill more people", with the communications from 1971 continuing with the unoriginal "I can't stop killing". There must have been something in the air at Fairfield. All three communications from Fairfield contained codes, graduating from 5 to 38 to 148.
Another code would arrive with the Albany letter on August 1st 1973, two years later. The question I have to people, is how many hoaxers were writing Zodiac letters from the middle of 1971 to August 1973, which included ciphers? How many hoaxers were creating very geometrical and blocky looking ciphers during this period? And how many hoaxers fortuitously used a ciphertext number 7 to represent the plaintext letter A in their codes? The 148 character cipher from about May of 1971 and the Albany letter from August 1st 1973 were bound by several similar characters, notably, the number 7 which represented the letter A on both occasions, as well as the squares with lines bisecting them vertically, horizontally and diagonally, the stunted Zodiac crosshairs (sun cross), the use of other numbers in the ciphertext (3, 4, 5, 7) and the reversed N (either angled or not). If the communication from May of 1971 was not published in the newspapers (and is very likely the Zodiac Killer), how many hoaxers were still around two years later to produce the Albany letter and cipher with so many crossover points?
The standard writing on the 148 character cipher and letter, along with the Albany letter, were both a mixture of upper and lower case letters. The author on both occasions broke from writing in capital letters to ordinary handwriting, before returning back to upper case style at random points. The Albany letter also mimicked the December 7th 1969 Fairfield letter, turning "I will kill again" into "I'm going to start killing again". Not unusual phraseology for a murderer, but the interwoven pattern between the November 8th 1969, December 7th 1969, December 16th 1969, March 22nd 1971, May 1971, July 13th 1971 and August 1st 1973 communications are food for thought, when deciding to apply the label of hoaxer to later communications as the easy option. Many of these later communications are routinely dismissed on nothing more than their mailing date. The temptation is to look at post 1970 letters with a more cynical eye, that otherwise you wouldn't when looking at earlier correspondence.
Acquired by Tom Voigt from zodiackiller.com, the Albany letter was mailed on August 1st 1973 to the Albany Times Union newspaper in New York. As with all Zodiac outlier communications, the letter and envelope have been analyzed to death regarding the handwriting, with many determining that the letter was not authored by the Bay Area murder.
As with the recent analyses of the 1978, 1986 and 1987 communications, we have to go beyond just the handwriting and look at the composition of the envelope, taking into consideration the stamps he applied, the format of the address and the words the author chose. In this instance, we cannot compare the address format to previously unpublished Zodiac envelopes because the communication was addressed to the Albany Times Union in New York. However, as Michael Morford correctly pointed out on the Zodiac Killer message board thread, the author of the Albany Times Union letter placed the Zodiac crosshairs in the return address section of the envelope, just like the Zodiac Killer added on his October 13th 1969, Paul Stine envelope. This was the only other time the Zodiac Killer added crosshairs on the front side of his envelope by the close of 1973. On March 8th 1981, the author would do the same on the Atlanta letter.
There is also doubt surrounding the stamps affixed to this letter - but with a fair degree of certainty we can conclude that the far left stamp was a 6c Franklin D. Roosevelt. I have superimposed it next to the black outline visible on the envelope, and it matches perfectly when sized as shown. Using the remainder of horizontal black lines, it can be reasonably argued that this envelope contained three stamps amounting to postage of 18c. The postal rate for letters (for first ounce) on August 1st 1973 was 8c, so the author had used just 2c excess over double postage. The Zodiac Killer had mailed 12 confirmed letters with Franklin D. Roosevelt stamps prior to August 1st 1973. Only three of his confirmed letters (using Tom Voigt's list of letters) contained something other than a Franklin D. Roosevelt stamp by January 29th 1974. Both the Paul Stine envelope and this communication used excessive Franklin D. Roosevelt postage.
The Zodiac Killer 148 character cipher was likely mailed in the May of 1971, before the July 13th 1971 Monticello postcard. The cipher was broken to reveal the rambling message of "Tis the Zodiac Speacking. Why can't you stop me. I can't stop killing. Stop listening t(o) phonys. If this is not on your front page in a week I will skin 3 little kids and make a suit from the skin". This was telling investigators not to listen to Karl Francis Werner, recently arrested for the murders of Kathy Bilek, Kathy Snoozy and Deborah Furlong - and describing him as a phony or impostor. The Zodiac Killer had previously insinuated his involvement in the murder of all three young girls. Hence the further threat to "skin 3 little kids".
The Albany letter, purported to have been mailed by the Zodiac Killer, also carried a cipher fashioned with striking geometric shapes. Below I have highlighted four characters in both the 148 character cipher and Albany letter code (not used by the Zodiac Killer previously) that match closely to one another. In fact, three are virtually identical. In effect, we have two consecutive suspected Zodiac communications mailed two years apart, each contained a geometric style cipher with four congruent characters, and both used the number 7 in the ciphertext to correspond with the letter A in the plaintext. The decoded 148 cipher stated "Why can't you stop me. I can't stop killing", whereas the Albany letter threatened that he was "going to start killing again". This theme continued in the May 2nd 1978 KHJ-TV Channel 9 letter, pointed out by Tom Voigt on the Albany forum thread. The author added in this latest letter that he had "decided to begin killing again", creating a fragile link between all three communications.
If we consider the crosshairs on the address side of the Albany and Stine envelope, the eccessive Franklin D. Roosevelt postage used on August 1st 1973 letter and the similarity between the two geometric ciphers shown (albeit limited), can we make a case for the May 1971 and August 1973 letters both being authored by the Zodiac Killer?
The Albany key courtesy of Dave Oranchak, author of the website Zodiac Killer Ciphers.
Bringing together several articles to paint the entire picture, I would like to tell you a little story about San Jose and the major impact it had on the actions of the Zodiac Killer spanning just over two years. The attack on Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard at Lake Berryessa on September 27th 1969, inextricably linked to Debra Gaye Furlong (14) and Kathy Ann Snoozy (15), two young girls who were found murdered on August 3rd 1969 in the Bay Area of San Jose. The man ultimately convicted for these two murders in 1971, Karl Francis Werner, was the trigger behind the attack at Lake Berryessa.
The Zodiac Killer had successfully murdered three and seriously injured one person by the time he mailed his trinity of July 31st 1969 letters to the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner and Vallejo Times-Herald. He then presented codebreakers with the extremely unusual challenge of deciphering three parts of one cipher from the hand of a serial killer, demanding that he receive front page coverage for his efforts. The three communications and three murders, in his mind, warranted the full attention of the American public when he wrote "Here is part of a cipher the other 2 parts of this cipher are being mailed to the editors of the Vallejo Times and SF Examiner. I want you to print this cipher on the front page of your paper. In this cipher is my idenity. If you do not print this cipher by the afternoon of Fry.1st of Aug 69, I will go on a kill ram-Page Fry. night. I will cruse around all weekend killing lone people in the night then move on to kill again, until I end up with a dozen people over the weekend".
The two major news publications, the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner, dismissed his demands by only publishing his offerings on page four and nine respectively. The Zodiac Killer's disdain was immediate, when on August 4th 1969 he presented us with his sinister pseudonym "This is the Zodiac Speaking" in a follow-up letter, that concluded with "I was not happy to see that I did not get front page coverage". But imagine his horror, when two days later the San Francisco Chronicle (August 6th 1969) ran a comprehensive front page article about the murders of Debra Gaye Furlong and Kathy Ann Snoozy in San Jose. Here is an excerpt:
The two young girls, found dead Sunday on a sun-parched San Jose hillside, appear to have been victims of a sexual psychopath, whose blood frenzy led him to "overkill". Dr. John E. Hauser, Santa Clara county's chief medical examiner and coroner, said yesterday that the girls, Deborah Gay Furlong, 14, and Kathy Snoozy, 15, died in a "frenzied flurry of knife-wounds" inflicted so swiftly that neither gave any evidence of having struggled against the attack. Dr. Hauser, so shaken by the brutality of the crime he could scarcely find words, said the Snoozy youngster had 150 wounds on her back, 50 on the front and a "storm" of punctures on her neck. Deborah's body had about 100 wounds on her back and upper front and a dozen on her neck. Dr. Hauser said he was "puzzled" by many aspects of the brutal slaying. He said neither girl had been sexually molested; neither had suffered any wounds below her waist, neither gave evidence of having struggled to escape. Only the Snoozy girl, he said, had one small mark on her hand, suggesting she may have tried vainly to deflect the plunging knife. The coroner said both girls must have died very quickly and he is investigating the possibility they may have been drugged before the stabbing began. Blood and skin samples as well as stomach contents have been sent for further examination to area laboratories, he said. The results should be known in a few days. It is Dr. Hauser's opinion that the multiple puncture wounds were inflicted by one or two small knives, the largest wound the size of a pocket knife with a half-inch blade. "I've never seen a case with this many stab wounds," Dr. Hauser said. "You know, I've been in this profession a long time and sometimes I think I'm rather callous, but when I saw these girls, believe me it was terrifying. "The Nazi sex mutilations during World War II were nothing compared to what was done to these young girls.
The Zodiac Killer must have been incensed that despite his brutal murder of three people during the holiday season, followed by his cryptic correspondences, he failed to achieve front page coverage from the Chronicle or the Examiner, despite threatening another dozen victims over the weekend. The only difference, he must have surmised, was the method of attack and the horror that such an intimate attack with a bladed instrument on two young girls had engendered in the psyche of the newspapers and public at large. The Zodiac Killer knew at this moment he had to ratchet up his attacks and get up close and personal with the use of a knife. But this wouldn't be any ordinary attack - he would dress up in an executioner's costume and hunt for young girls armed with a 12-inch knife - not "a pocket knife with a half-inch blade". Although Karl Francis Werner's capture was two years in the making, he was the absent agent behind the attack on Bryan Hartnell and murder of Cecelia Shepard just seven weeks later. Without the murders of Debra Gaye Furlong and Kathy Ann Snoozy on August 3rd 1969, it can be argued the attack at Lake Berryessa would never have taken place.
No surprise then, that the Zodiac Killer wanted to outdo the August 3rd 1969 murders, by setting his sights on three young girls from Pacific Union College as they sunbathed on the shores of Lake Berryessa on September 27th 1969. Three murders with a 12-inch bladed knife would definitely have done the trick. But something clearly thwarted this attack and two hours later he focused in on Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard, determined not to be denied and secure his front page coverage. After the sixteen strikes into the young couple, he retreated and traveled back up the hill to lay claim to this attack as the Zodiac Killer. After writing the dates of his previous two attacks and this one on the car door of Bryan Hartnell, he emphasized the words "by knife" at the foot of the message. The Zodiac Killer was effectively saying "do I get front page coverage now". The brutal knife attack, he hoped, would get the recognition akin to the murders of Kathy Snoozy and Deborah Furlong. Not only did he get the recognition, but it had an added benefit of the newspapers considering the possibility of his involvement in the Kathy Snoozy and Deborah Furlong murders. This certainly didn't escape his attention.
Six weeks later he duly obliged by slipping in "Aug" into his confirmed murder count when mailing the 'Dripping Pen card on November 8th 1969, bumping up his total to seven victims. The Lake Berryessa attack "by knife" had effectively secured him two more victims by association. But to cement his perceived involvement in the San Jose murders, he had to strike while the iron was hot.
On November 21st 1969 he mailed a threatening letter to the San Jose Police Department beginning with the words "There's no doubt I will do my Thing!". The letter initiated this response: 'For the information of the Bureau and Sacramento, after a cursory analysis, officers of the San Jose, California PD, believe widow in message may be Mrs (redacted), San Jose, California. San Jose PD instituting 24 hour surveillance on Mrs (redacted).' It is clear that this woman had some connection to the Snoozy and Furlong murders, and by the Zodiac Killer interjecting himself into the San Jose investigation, he was attempting to solidify the notion of his involvement in them. Bearing in mind this letter was mailed to the San Jose Police Department and their response to secure the woman's safety, it isn't too surprising that the Zodiac Killer would threaten to murder a San Jose policeman in the Fairfield letter mailed a month later, on December 16th 1969. The Zodiac Killer thought he had now successfully cemented his claim to the Snoozy and Furlong murders. His choice of switching from gun to knife had paid dividends. My guess, is he was banking on these murders never being solved.
Imagine the Zodiac Killer's dismay in late April of 1971, when his plans lay in tatters, upon the arrest of Karl Francis Werner for the April 11th 1971 murder of Kathy Bilek at Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, as well as the murders of Kathy Snoozy and Deborah Furlong in San Jose two years earlier, on August 3rd 1969. The Zodiac Killer would eventually be exposed as a fraud - caught in the act of claiming somebody else's victims at last. He reacted forthwith, by mailing two communications to the San Francisco Chronicle in the middle of 1971.
In the first, he was trying vainly to convince us that he was in fact the murderer of all three girls (Snoozy, Furlong and Bilek) by claiming that Karl Francis Werner was the fraud or phony. Paul Avery, arch nemesis of Zodiac, wrote an article on April 30th 1971 detailing the capture of Werner. The newspaper article stated "He (Werner) was immediately advised of his rights concerning any statements he may make and legal representation to which he is entitled, the detectives said. Werner was then taken to the scenes of the crimes. Late yesterday he was undergoing questioning. The detectives would not reveal what statements, if any, he had made concerning the killings of the three girls".
The Zodiac Killer responded sometime after he read this article (around May, June or July of 1971), mailing a 148 character cipher stating "Tis the Zodiac Speacking. Why can't you stop me. I can't stop killing. Stop listening t(o) phonys. If this is not on your front page in a week I will skin 3 little kids and make a suit from the skin". In this correspondence he claimed his victim count was 21, by writing "I done it 21 times". This, in accordance with his claimed victim count of 17+ in the March 13th 1971 'Los Angeles' letter. We can ascertain that this communication was mailed around the middle of 1971, because he fired off a second correspondence at about the same time. The correspondence about to be discussed was withheld from newspaper publication (as was the 148 character cipher), so the fact that both contained a victim count of 21 and mailed in close proximity to one another, should be enough to consider both being mailed by the Zodiac Killer. The second communication we will show, is not only trying to claim the murder of Kathy Bilek - again attempting to show that Karl Francis Werner was a phony - but is also linking itself to the murders of Snoozy and Furlong.
On July 13th 1971 a pasted card was mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle with the words "Near Monticello Shought Victims 21 ...... In The Woods Dies April". Many have speculated on the location mentioned in the card as "Monticello" in Napa County, California, because of the Lake Berryessa attack on Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard on September 27th 1969. It has been further speculated on whether "April" was a woman's name or the month of the alleged murder. After a comprehensive review of all the information, I believe the woman's identity, labelled as victim number 21, can finally be revealed, along with the exact location of Monticello.
On Sunday, April 11th 1971, Kathy Bilek (18) visited Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, having planned to read a paperback book (The Gabriel Hounds) and engage in a spot of bird watching in the seclusion of a remote, wooded portion of the park, near a small stream. Her body was found the next day by her father, Charles, while Santa Clara County Sheriff's deputies searched nearby. She had been stabbed 17 times in the back and 32 times in her chest and stomach, although her killer had taken care to avoid stabbing her breasts. Her murder was also attributed to Karl Francis Werner. Wikipedia. The brutal murder of Kathy Bilek would again be claimed by 'Zodiac', not only in the Monticello card, but in another alleged Zodiac letter, also mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle at about the same time as the Monticello card. Kathy Bilek was murdered in "April", exactly as mentioned in the Monticello card, and "in the woods" at Villa Montalvo (a wooded section of the park). Saratoga is a city in Santa Clara County, California, United States. It is located on the west side of the Santa Clara Valley, directly west of San Jose, The appearance of San Jose once again.
It was easy to get sidelined into believing Monticello was referring to Napa County, because the town was completely covered by Lake Berryessa, the site of Zodiac's third attack. However, the "Monticello" the author is referring to in the pasted card, is again in San Jose. Monticello is a neighborhood in San Jose, California, just over 9 miles east of Villa Montalvo, the site of Kathy Bilek's murder. In other words, the author of the card was saying "I killed Kathy Bilek near Monticello, in the Villa Montalvo woods in April". To view the proximity of Monticello to Villa Montalvo click here.
The Monticello card stated "Shought victims 21", referring to the Kathy Bilek murder, whereas, in the 148 character cipher, the author was claiming he had already "done it 21 times." The Monticello card was never released to the newspapers or public, so bearing in mind these two communications were both likely mailed at approximately the same time, there is a high probability they were mailed by the Zodiac Killer.
"I killed Kathy Bilek near Monticello, in the Villa Montalvo woods in April".
"Near Monticello Shought Victims 21 ...... In The Woods Dies April".
The November 8th 1969 'Dripping Pen' card would not be the only communication insinuating his involvement in the murder of Deborah Gaye Furlong and Kathy Ann Snoozy, when the Monticello card arrived just over 20 months later, on July 13th 1971. The San Francisco Police Department had reason enough to place the Monticello card in 'suspected Zodiac correspondence' when searching for traces of DNA on potential Zodiac communications, indicating the high regard it was held in.
It is with little doubt that Karl Francis Werner was responsible for the murder of Deborah Furlong, Kathy Snoozy and Kathy Bilek in 1969 and 1971, but the overarching question is, why did the Zodiac Killer describe the location of Kathy Bilek's body as "near Monticello"? The neighborhood of Monticello is 9 miles east of Villa Montalvo. Why did the Zodiac Killer choose to pinpoint this particular location, rather than any other neighborhood in between Monticello and Villa Montalvo? He could have pasted "near Willow Glen", "near Oster", "near Carlton", or any other location closer than Monticello. It is arguable that he chose this particular location for a specific reason.
My first thought, was the Zodiac Killer was simply not going to make things easy, and had used Monticello to confuse people in the search for meaning behind the card. Having attacked Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard at Lake Berryessa (submerging the town of Monticello) on September 27th 1969, the possibility existed that the Zodiac Killer was attempting to divert the reader down this train of thought. However, something far more compelling came to light regarding the neighborhood of Monticello, not only that it was near the murder site of Kathy Bilek, but that it once again suggested his involvement in the murder of the two young girls on August 3rd 1969 in the Bay Area of San Jose.
The neighborhood of Monticello sits right next to the Oak Hill Funeral Home and Memorial Park, shown here. Here is an extract from the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper on August 6th 1969: "The other Furlong children are Glen, 16; Floyd, 12, and Pamela, 11. Furlong said he did not know and had not yet talked to Kathy's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wilfred Snoozy. Both Snoozy, a carpet layer, and Mrs. Snoozy reportedly are in a state of collapse. Her funeral has been scheduled Friday at 11 a.m. at the Place Funeral Home in Los Gatos. Burial will be at Oak Wood Cemetery in Santa Cruz. Funeral services for Kathy will be held tomorrow (Thursday) at 2 p.m. at the Oak Hill Memorial Park Mortuary in San Jose. Burial will be at Oak Hill Memorial Park."
The funeral services and burial of Kathy Snoozy were held at Oak Hill Memorial Park at 300 Curtner Avenue, right next to the neighborhood of Monticello. This, in all probability, is why the Zodiac Killer chose "near Monticello" rather than any other location closer to Villa Montalvo. He was not only pinpointing this location to suggest he had a hand in the murder of the San Jose teenagers, but specifically chose the area by the gravesite of Kathy Snoozy because her forename was identical to that of Kathy Bilek. Not only was Kathy Bilek murdered in April, in the woods, near Monticello - but her name could be inferred in the Monticello card from the Oak Hill Memorial Park burial site of her namesake. The Pines card and '13 Hole' postcard were published in the newspapers, yet this card has always been withheld. What are the chances that the picture on the Monticello card contains sensitive material, deemed inappropriate for release by law enforcement, and may have something to do with Oak Hill Memorial Park.
The Pines card and Monticello card both contained similar wording, such as "pass lake Tahoe areas" and "near Monticello", as well as "around in the snow" and "in the woods". Harvey Hines, a retired detective from Groveland, believed that Donna Lass was likely buried on the Donner Ski Ranch. This area is extremely close to Donner Memorial State Park, as is Monticello to Oak Hill Memorial Park. Another uncanny connection in the murder of two innocent lives.
Bearing in mind Kathy Snoozy, Deborah Furlong and Kathy Bilek were all stabbed innumerable times, disfiguring their bodies, it is rather telling that the author of the 148 character cipher and letter should threaten 3 more young people like so: "Tis the Zodiac Speacking. Why can't you stop me. I can't stop killing. Stop listening t(o) phonys. If this is not on your front page in a week I will skin 3 little kids and make a suit from the skin" and "next time I will send a patch of human skin if there is some left over".
This shows how San Jose was integral to the Zodiac Killer throughout his campaign of terror, beginning on August 3rd 1969 and possibly ending on July 13th 1971, with the mailing of the Monticello card. I say possibly, because another communication dubbed the DMV letter may have been the final correspondence of 1971, again inferring his involvement in the Snoozy, Furlong and Bilek slayings.
Tom Voigt, creator of the hugely successful Zodiackiller.com website has sought a potential Zodiac letter, described as the DMV letter. On his message board he stated "While I don't yet have as many details as I would like, at some point the Zodiac wrote a letter to the chairman of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in California. The letter was authenticated, apparently via handwriting, and was kept quiet for reasons unknown". None of the following can be definitively proven, but I will attempt to expand on this elusive correspondence based on the limited information we have, and use the propensity of the Zodiac Killer to respond to newspaper and magazine articles against him. We know he closely followed anything that was written about him and often replied in kind. With that said, it is possible the DMV letter was mailed to the chairman of the Department of Motor Vehicles because he read an article referencing this department. If the letter was addressed to the chairman, it is very likely the letter was addressed to the headquarters of the DMV in Sacramento. What we now have to do, is tie the Sacramento DMV to a Zodiac crime, or a crime claimed by Zodiac, written in a publication that the Zodiac Killer had reason to read - who subsequently got upset because it portrayed him as a liar and a fraud. It therefore follows, that it is highly unlikely to be a polite correspondence from the Bay Area killer. Based on the above, I believe the DMV letter was mailed in the October or November of 1971.
As early as November 8th 1969 the Zodiac Killer was claiming the murders Deborah Gaye Furlong (14) and Kathy Ann Snoozy (15), who were found murdered on August 3rd 1969 in the Bay Area of San Jose. This was his "Aug" on the 'Dripping Pen' card. He would later insinuate his involvement in the murder of Kathy Bilek (18), murdered in the woods of Villa Montalvo in Saratoga, due west of San Jose. On July 13th 1971, a potential Zodiac communication arrived in the form of a pasted card. It read "Near Monticello Shought Victims 21 ...... In The Woods Dies April". The author of the card was detailing the murder of Kathy Bilek in the woods of Villa Montalvo on April 11th 1971, just 9 miles from the neighborhood of Monticello in San Jose. He chose this neighborhood because it sat adjacent to Oak Hill Memorial Park at 300 Curtner Avenue. The cemetery where the body of Kathy Ann Snoozy lay - and chosen to hint at the forename "Kathy", pertaining to Kathy Bilek.
Assuming these communications were mailed by the Bay Area murderer, it would be fairly obvious that the Zodiac Killer was following the San Jose murders closely from August 3rd 1969, through his 'Dripping Pen' card of November 8th, to the eventual murder of Kathy Bilek, and up to his correspondences in the middle of 1971. Therefore, it would be no great surprise if he continued to monitor any newspaper or magazine articles regarding the murders of the three young females.
In October 1971, a magazine publication entitled 'True Detective' comprehensively featured the murders of Kathy Snoozy, Deborah Furlong and Kathy Bilek, and the subsequent arrest of Karl Francis Werner. There is every chance the Zodiac Killer read this magazine article, compelling him to continue his contact with authorities regarding these murders.
One particular section about Kathy Bilek caught my eye - that may have been the reason why the Zodiac Killer wrote a letter to the chairman of the DMV in Sacramento. It stated "At about the same moment, Park Ranger Ken Williamson was informing a member of the investigative team that he, too, had noticed a tall, bespectacled young man who had been a frequent visitor at Villa Montalvo. He was a loner and had impressed the Villa's ranger staff with his almost furtive conduct, said Williamson. The ranger had jotted down the license number of the strange youth's auto.
The license number was forwarded to the California Department of Motor Vehicles headquarters in Sacramento, the state's capital 150 miles to the north of San Jose. The information teletyped back from the registration bureau was that the auto was the property of a Karl Francis Werner, living at an address on Shawnee Lane in San Jose."
The Zodiac Killer, having previously mailed two communications (Monticello card and 148 character cipher) referencing the murder of Kathy Bilek and the victim total of 21, it wouldn't be at all surprising if he fired off a third communication, this time to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Sacramento, after reading these two paragraphs. As this magazine article was published in October of 1971, the DMV letter may have been postmarked with the latter months of that year - possibly October, November or December. The compunction of the Zodiac Killer in claiming, or interjecting himself into the middle of these murders, may have been the driver behind his contact with the chairman of the DMV. The content of this communication is unknown, but I guess he is continuing the menacing theme of his previous two correspondences, suggesting the identification of the vehicle belonging to Karl Francis Werner is somehow another red herring and threatening more murder and mayhem.
On July 13th 1971, the Zodiac Killer claimed his involvement in the April 11th 1971 murder of Kathy Bilek, brutality stabbed at Villa Montalvo in Saratoga. The Monticello card also inferred his involvement in the murders of Kathy Snoozy and Deborah Furlong on August 3rd 1969 in San Jose. This wasn't the first time he implicated himself in the murder of these girls, and it wouldn't be the last. On April 29th 1971, Karl Francis Werner (18) was arrested for the knife slayings of all three girls, much to the surprise of many who knew him. Karl Werner, a lanky 6'2" freshman at San .lose City College, who worked six nights a week at a hamburger stand, was described by his boss as “very sincere, hard-working, quiet, of good character.” Eve Schulman, 19, a classmate who rode to the campus with Werner each day, called him “the typical boy next door.” She said Werner, a high ranking student in mathematics and physics, who has been constructing a computer as a class project, is “really smart, really neat.”
I believe the Zodiac Killer constantly followed the newspapers with respect to the murders he was claiming. He knew that if the police believed he was the likely murderer his reign of terror would be continue, and the newspaper coverage he so badly craved would extend his perceived legacy. The newspaper cutting on the left was authored by Paul Avery (a journalist from the San Francisco Chronicle), and somebody the Zodiac Killer followed closely at the height of his 'reign of terror'. Karl Francis Werner had just been arrested for the murders of the three young girls, and his story was covered by Paul Avery on April 30th 1971 under the title of 'San Jose Student Held in Slaying of Three Girls'. In a revised timeline, I believe the Zodiac Killer responded to this particular newspaper article, when he mailed the '148 Character' cipher to the San Francisco Chronicle, most likely in the May of 1971.
The newspaper article stated "He was immediately advised of his rights concerning any statements he may make and legal representation to which he is entitled, the detectives said. Werner was then taken to the scenes of the crimes. Late yesterday he was undergoing questioning. The detectives would not reveal what statements, if any, he had made concerning the killings of the three girls". The Zodiac Killer would respond in his decoded letter to the San Francisco Chronicle, warning the police "Tis the Zodiac Speacking. Why can't you stop me. I can't stop killing. Stop listening t(o) phonys. If this is not on your front page in a week I will skin 3 little kids and make a suit from the skin" (coded section).
He was effectively saying to police who were questioning Karl Werner "stop listening to this phony (impostor, fraud). I am the real killer". In view of the title of this article 'San Jose Student Held in Slaying of Three Girls', it probably isn't too surprising he threatened a further "three little kids" if they didn't print this letter and cipher on their front page.
He also wrote on the '148 Character' cipher letter "Next time I will send a patch of skin if their is some left over". Bearing in mind the 200+ stab wounds these young girls suffered, this statement doesn't require much explanation.
Both the Monticello card and '148 Character' cipher inferred a total of 21 victims, suggesting they were authored by the same individual.
Sometime in 1971 a questionable Zodiac correspondence and cipher was received by the San Francisco Chronicle, postmarked Fairfield, California. This was now the third Zodiac related communication mailed from Fairfield, following the December 7th and December 16th letters. There is limited information on the internet regarding this letter, other than the Zodiologists.com website, who have analyzed this correspondence in great detail. The letter and cipher can be found using the Wayback Machine on Ed Neil's old website TheZodiacFiles.com. I have cleaned up the letter without altering any of the text by the author:
I'll DO IT TO BECAUSE I DONE IT 21 TIMES. I CAN'T STOP BECAUSE EACH ThAT I KILL MAKES IT WORSE AND I MUST KILL MORE. MAN IS ThE MOST PRIZED GAME. ILL NERVER GIVE MY NAME BECAUSE YOU dONT UNDERSTAND. NEXT TIME I WILL SEND A PATCH OF HUMAN SKIN if their is SOME Left OVER.
The 148 character cipher decodes to:
"Tis the Zodiac Speacking. Why can't you stop me. I can't stop killing. Stop listening t(o) phonys. If this is not on your front page in a week I will skin 3 little kids and make a suit from the skin".
The wording in the letter "I'll do it to because I done it 21 times" is consistent with a mailing date sometime after the March 13th 1971 Los Angeles correspondence from Zodiac, claiming 17+ victims. Using a simple calculation we can estimate how often the Zodiac claimed a victim. From December 20th 1968 to July 26th 1970, the Zodiac Killer claimed 13 victims over 584 days. That is one victim every 44.9 days. Therefore, from victim 13 to 21, another 8 victims were claimed (8 X 44.9 = 359 days). Add 359 days to July 26th 1970 and we arrive at July 20th 1971, approximately four months after the Los Angeles letter.
This letter and cipher appears at first glance a dubious Zodiac communication, but as Zodiologists.com point out, how difficult would it be for a hoaxer to mimic the ciphers or crosshairs of Zodiac. The fact the author failed to do this, should be pause for thought. There is also something about this letter that indicates the author had written another 'Zodiac' communication (or the author was the actual Bay Area murderer). The other communication, also mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle on July 13th 1971, mirrored the 148 character cipher and letter in one crucial way - the victim total. The last two widely accepted Zodiac communications were the March 13th 1971 Los Angeles letter claiming 17+ victims, and the January 29th 1974 Exorcist letter claiming 37 victims. The author of the above correspondence had 19 victim totals to choose from (18 to 36), yet he chose the total of 21, exactly the same as the total mentioned in the July 13th 1971 Monticello card, which featured in the San Francisco Police Department DNA report under "suspected Zodiac correspondence". Did the author of the above correspondence just get lucky by randomly choosing 21 victims and thereby mirroring the Monticello card, or was he the author of both?
The Monticello card was mailed on July 13th 1971 stating:
"Near Monticello Shought Victims 21 ...... In The Woods Dies April".
By my rudimentary calculations, the 148 character cipher and letter should have been mailed on July 20th 1971, only one week after the Monticello card. If somebody can find the exact date of mailing regarding the 148 cipher and letter, or when this correspondence was published in the San Francisco Chronicle, it would be of immense value. The Monticello card was not published in the newspapers, therefore the notion of a victim total of 21 having been chosen by two independent authors looks extremely unlikely. If the Monticello card was designated as "suspected Zodiac correspondence" by the San Francisco Police Department, then by extension, the above correspondence should be afforded the same value.
For black and white issue..