Samuel Joseph Melville was the principal conspirator and bomb setter in the 1969 bombings of eight government and commercial office buildings in New York City. He was born Samuel Joseph Grossman, but changed his name with respect to novelist and poet Herman Melville.
He had already committed four bombings prior to the November 9th 1969 Zodiac 'Bus Bomb' letter. It began with Grace Pier on July 27th, followed by August 20: Marine Midland Building, September 19: Federal Plaza and then an Army Induction Center on October 7th. These crimes received statewide coverage throughout America, but were they an inspiration to the Zodiac Killer in the power of large scale destruction as a tool for terror. The answer may have come five and a half months later.
But first we shall take a look at the April 20th 1970 letter, which stated
"I am mildly cerous as to how much money you have on my head now. I hope you do not think that I was the one who wiped out that blue meannie with a bomb at the cop station. Even though I talked about killing school children with one. It just wouldn't doo to move in on someone else's teritory. But there is more glory in killing a cop than a cid because a cop can shoot back. I have killed ten people to date. It would have been a lot more except that my bus bomb was a dud. I was swamped out by the rain we had a while back."
We know that the Zodiac Killer often referenced newspaper headlines - and this communication would be no different - denying his involvement in the murder of San Francisco police officer Brian McDonnell (44) on February 16th 1970. Person or persons unknown had placed a pipe bomb packed with fence staples on the window ledge of Park Police Station in Upper Haight (1899 Waller Street). Another eight police officers were injured. The Zodiac Killer was unlikely to have had any involvement in the bombing, however, he was keen to suggest that he was capable of such an act, but for "the rain we had a while back."
Two weeks prior to the April 20th 1970 Zodiac letter, on April 6th 1970, the deadliest day in the history of California law enforcement occurred, when two armed criminals managed to kill four California Highway Patrol officers in just under 5 minutes. Known as the Newhall Massacre, it hit the newspaper stands around the country.
One can't help thinking the Zodiac Killer was fully aware of this tragedy, when he cynically penned the words "there is more glory in killing a cop than a cid because a cop can shoot back." Or maybe, we give the Zodiac too much credit.
The Zodiac Killer may not have killed Sgt. Brian McDonnell on February 16th 1970, but his following correspondence on April 28th 1970, just eight days later, would certainly coalesce both Sam Melville and Park Police Station under one banner, when he wrote "If you dont want me to have this blast you must do two things. Tell everyone about the bus bomb with all the details. I would like to see some nice Zodiac buttons wandering about town. Everyone else has these buttons like, black power, melvin eats bluber, etc. Well it would cheer me up considerably if I saw a lot of people wearing my buton. Please no nasty ones like melvin's. Thank you."
Bearing in mind the introduction and tone of this card: "I hope you enjoy yourselves when I have my blast," and his choice of counterculture button, the following connection cannot be ignored.
The Zodiac borrowed the Melville Eats Blubber button and changed it for purpose, as did Sam Melville, when altering his name from Grossman to Melville before his bombing campaign. The crucial question, however, is where did Zodiac intend to have this "blast". The clue may be staring us square in the face (see image on right).
The Zodiac Killer wrote "I hope you enjoy yourselves when I have my blast" around the picture of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, the characters in a novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.
These characters are situated only 3,650 feet (0.68 miles) from the murder site of Sgt. Brian McDonnell, both of which are situated in Golden Gate Park.
The Zodiac Killer, almost certainly, never had any intention of placing a bomb near the Don Quixote and Sancho Panza statue in Golden Gate Park, but the fact that this statue was in such close proximity to the bombing of Park Police Station on February 16th 1970, could be interpreted as a mischievous and insensitive offering to police. He was effectively rubbing their "noze in their booboos."
Then came the possible threat on Ingleside Police Station, two months later, on June 26th 1970, contained within the 'Button' letter and map code, and featured in the article 'The 32 Symbol Code-Hidden In Plain Sight'. The Zodiac Killer would again reference the slaying of another police officer - on this occasion Sgt Richard P. Radetich (25), who on June 19th at 5.25 am was gunned down by three shots from a .38 caliber revolver at point blank range through the driver side window of his vehicle, while in the process of serving a parking ticket. He was sat in his police car near 643 Waller Street, The same Waller Street as Park Police Station.
The proximity of these three consecutive communications to the area of San Francisco shown below, certainly shows us where the Zodiac Killer's focus was between April 20th and June 26th 1970. However, he wasn't finished just yet. The 'Little List' letter mailed on July 26th 1970 was the fourth and final piece of the jigsaw.